Before I Go to Sleep
It’s been raining all day and night today. It’s 6am and I still can’t go to sleep. It’s been months since I’ve had a normal night of sleep. Insomnia, at its best and worst, has become a life style.
Dates pass by without the slightest effort. The most remarkable thing of my last week in Syria is that I am back here in Japan. I finished two lousy books in two days, and translated a lousier document.
She called the day I came back, and we went out for a few drinks at the little bar down the road. She didn’t have that smell on her hair, that smell that I love so much. But I was still content to sit there and look in her eyes as she tried to explain her Japanese with her favorite language, hand gestures. She said I smoke too much, and I said she drinks too much. She said she has ghosts at her apartment and she can’t sleep until she’s too drunk, and I said I smoke my ghosts away with cigarettes. She laughed and told me that that’s nonsense, and I said I agree. The last time I had to deal with ghosts, things didn’t turn out well.
At the bar they call me the Spy, and she calls me the erorist. It always makes me laugh.
I’m so self-centered sometimes that I can’t finish a book if I can’t see myself in it. And I’m such a hypocrite sometimes that I say I’m an atheist when sometimes I feel that a deity lives in my heart. I’m neither. Love, in any sense, brings me closer to reverence and blasphemy till the point where my fingertips start burning before my eyes.
I want to be a pilot. I never feel safer than when I am flying. I never feel more energetic than when I am at an airport. And I never feel more articulate than when I am talking to a stranger. I never feel closer to God than when I am cursing him.
When I was a little kid I learnt how to talk to myself. I learnt how to make interesting conversations with my alter ego. I learnt how to lie about my father, and how to smile in the face of an insult. I learnt how to love from Jubran and my mother and how to hate from my extended family, and my Watan. When I told my father that I wanted to start a company in 1992, he helped me start a journal. When I told my father that Kinda, my cousin, said that liars burn in hell, he said that liars burn with the air they breathe, with the words they hear and by the eyes fixed on them, but not in hell.
I want to survive a tsunami and to wrap my self around a bomb that’s about to explode. I want to stop a speeding train and to fly over the top of Tokyo tower. I want to dance until I lose breath then smoke a cigarette over a cliff in Koh Tao. I want to make love on a little distant beach in Latakia and then swim naked until the morning lights. I want to cut all these threads that connect me to this place called Watan, then run to it because I want to.
My Astarte said, as she put off her cigarette and headed off to bed, that she was going to be my Watan. I kissed her shivering shoulders and lulled her to sleep. I laughed, at her presumptuous offer and my inner content with it, and then cried myself to sleep. That was in October 2007.
No one can give you a Watan, not even 18,000,000 people; no one can give you a Watan if you can’t find it inside. No one can lead you to God, not even 124,000 prophets; no one can lead you to God unless you make your own.
I say, make it out of love, tears and laughter. And then rest on the seventh day, content with the fact that you have a God.