Eid, for all the people who weren’t there

Sometimes I wish I could record some memories in my head in a way that lets me relive them in absolute totality; including the sounds and touches, and definitely the smells.

How wonderful would it feel to be able to relive a loved one’s touch after you’ve parted.

Today we finished a long and very loud and crowded lunch with parts of my family I’ve been familiar with for years, and others I’ve met again as grown ups. As the day came to an end I stood outside, still hopeful that more members of the family will walk past and decide to pay us a visit; and then I see my grandmother’s neighbor, whom I used to know when I was knee-high; with a child around his arm and the other in his brother’s arms, both content they smile up at me looking down at them from the balcony. It’s absolutely crazy because I remember them being very young, but always older than I was, and now they have little ones of their own who will see me waving from the balcony but will never really remember me from that point on. But their sight just warmed my heart; the whole evening did.

If you’ve never been to Lebanon in Eid time, let me tell you what you can expect.

A lot of food.

yeah.

Food.

But mainly, conversation between every bite, and very raw laughter. Between every spoonful, heartfelt concern, and newer conversation with details and wishes and mutual understandings. Click clacks of forks and knives and political opinions spread on a plate of overfilled rice, and between every grain is something I couldn’t find anywhere I went. My grandmother’s place turns into a hub of voices; from warm and concerned ones to tired or excited ones. Voices I’ve heard around me ever since I could start telling them apart, and voices I’ve recently met. When it’s not voices it’s footsteps, cautious and slow from the people I hold dear to my heart, to rapid and jumpy from little ones that can’t seem to get ahold of themselves. and when it’s not footsteps it’s chews, loud, and unrefined laughter, absolutely unfiltered.  And it’s at that moment that I wish I could press record, when I’m just focused on this moment right now, not worried about anything else to come later, that moment when life could be summed up into one evening in a house so very used to people, you hear their echo years after they’ve gone.

 

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