The fairytale year that wasn’t

2020 was meant to be my fairytale year: the year I celebrate my happy work anniversary, the year I would marry the love of my life, the year I pledged to be the healthiest and happiest I have ever been.

In a true foreshadowing manner, the dark clouds of February brought with them the first case of COVID-19 in Lebanon. Shortly after lockdown, my structured, organized plans began to derail. All was well; I taught myself to accept change, embrace working from home, appreciate the small things in life, and broaden my appreciation for quiet days – after all, if you live in Beirut, there are no quiet days! 

August 4 was meant to be yet another Tuesday night. Not the night I escaped death by 10 minutes. Not the night that the ceiling of my home carpeted the floor. And certainly not the night I ran for four hours in Beirut’s broken streets, trying to locate my loved ones. 

No Hollywood production nor any life experience could have prepared me for the blood, the screams, the agony, the helplessness, or the chaos I witnessed. The camera on my life zoomed out, and all I remember is seeing myself, from above, in a ball of white noise, running. Running until I physically held every person I love in my arms and could physically sense their presence on this Earth still. 

It has been a week. It feels like a day, and I am now battling the memories away with a recent COVID-19 diagnosis. A diagnosis I got five days after the explosion. 

I do not know where I should begin to heal. Thank you, first, to all my colleagues in Levant and around the world for your love support and solidarity during this time. Your emails, messages, and calls restore my faith in humanity. And to all those lost in the explosion, I offer my condolences and wishes for comfort and healing. May we all live in a world of peace, if ever.

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