The city is unusually quiet for a sunny Sunday morning. His almond tree has blossomed. The fact that almond trees do grow in the city in this part of the world has always bewildered her. “Only in Lebanon”, he’d always say, and she’d always laugh.
The last time she saw him was in Berlin, over a year ago. He tried winning her back then, to no avail. They haven’t spoken since. What if he’s changed houses? Fallen in love?? Eloped? But his almond tree is here, has blossomed and is fruitful. There must be life here. There’s no turning back.
It’s all behind her now; the manuscripts, the debates. All she sees is this door, not the ripples in the walls, or the dry plants. All she sees is the almond tree.
Her stubborn heart that’s been set on him for over twelve years is no longer petrified by the constant medley of unspoken words racing through her every thought. Her few wrinkles and grey hairs have crossed paths with people of all courses of life, forgotten names and faces (but never his). She’s here, in the now, and what matters is for her to take this one step forward.
She glances around quickly: an 80-something couple are slowly walking their dog outside (or is it the other way around?!), a woman is jogging with an apparent residue of last night’s smoky eyes, and the Ka’ak vendor is here, always up so early, ever so enthusiastic. He recognizes her and waves; she smiles. “He’s always looked so content”, she thinks to herself. Has he ever endured the same social or religious barriers she’s been struggling with all of her life or does knowing less make him happier? Is that the sight of victory? Is that why they say ignorance is bliss? Either way, she’s not settling for the unknown this time. Not this morning. All she hears is her heartbeat. With all the will and the hope and the fear and the faith and the love in her heart, she walks forward and knocks on his door.