March 2021

Reads: 88  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 2

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

As the genre says, this is non-fiction. This essay is sadly an account of my and many Lebanese peoples' life.

We’re in Beirut. We drive by an ad for a window film that protects from blasts and explosions. I remember a similar billboard on a different street that read “I’m not a sinner, I’m hungry”*. We arrive home. We eat. We used to talk about various things over lunch. Now we talk about money; who (still) has it, how much something costs now compared to before. Our neighbor’s daughter got a lofty inheritance from her husband. He got all her old furniture, plus a new washing machine to match the counters. I look down at the holes in my pajama bottoms. We drink water instead of soda.

A dollar is now worth 13 000 Lebanese Pounds.

My father spent several paychecks on provisions. Sacks upon sacks of grains and beans. Jars and cans line every shelf. There’s food in the kitchen. Food in the attic. Food in the closets. It’s a race against inflation; you buy what you need while you still can. But eating has become less a pleasure and more a necessity, a means to stay alive and see another damned day in your damned country. You take a bite and think of the homeless tearing open trash bags to eat. You have half a mind to go down there and feed every single one, but there’s no guarantee that your family won’t be hungry in a few months. So you force the food down your throat.

My clothes at this point either look used or brand new. The rule is, you wear what’s old and worn until it’s in tatters and save the rest. Use everything until you can’t. You’ll be thankful you did on better days if those come again.

At the start of the crisis, anything I bought felt like a “goodbye thing”; a goodbye burger from my favorite place, a goodbye decent bottle of shampoo, a goodbye bar of chocolate. Currency is the biggest myth of all. Before, you could save money instead of buying a coffee, and you’d end up with enough to get that thing you want. Well, there’s no drinking coffee now. It’s a bit of powder with sugar and cream, you don’t need it. And so you don’t get it.

But food and clothing seem like minor concerns in front of what looms ahead. We’re running out of fuel for electricity and there’s no current plan to buy more. Life in the dark isn’t something I can stomach. Having no electricity means living in complete isolation. I don’t think I could endure that.

Beirut feels less like home and more of a corpse you dug out from the ground. You can try to hide the ugliness, comb whatever’s left of her hair, and smear makeup on her face, but she remains cold and empty. No pulse beats in her towns, her eyes are closed to the injustice of it all. Outside the walls of my home, people starve. Kids borrow textbooks for schools they can no longer afford. Men my father’s age burn tires and close off streets. Policemen circle protests like vultures and go home to empty plates. And yet something stirs, something large and dark as a pit. What will this night bring?

 

*In 2020, a Lebanese man committed suicide in public, holding a paper with this message.


Submitted: March 15, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Christy Writes. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Jeff Bezaire

I'm sorry I've been absent. I haven't stopped worrying about you and your family.
Has the government taken any tentative steps to resolving the decline?

Mon, March 15th, 2021 9:26pm

Author
Reply

None. Thank you, Jeff!

Tue, March 30th, 2021 9:34am

AdamCarlton

If there's a way to get out, this might be a good time.

Mon, March 15th, 2021 9:46pm

Author
Reply

Would that I could.

Mon, March 29th, 2021 5:51am

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