Papa

Papa, not much has changed since you were gone. This old chap’s still sitting on the porch every afternoon with a whisky in his hand, drinking each glass in two gulps until his stomach starts hurting and he collapses on the tiled floor.

Papa, the city’s still warm and the buildings are still yellow. I still walk or drive around at night hoping to find something. But what exactly? I don’t really know. I tried looking for truths, I tried looking for distorted truths, but the city’s all mysterious and quiet and it reveals little about its streets.

We hold out for much but receive so little in return. I got into music because of a girl. I may have gotten into writing because of another. I guess it’s shameful for a man to get hooked to things, to be addicted to certain substances. But being led into life by a trail of lovely women who want you to fall for them is acceptable.

Papa, the words are still flowing out of me. Day in and day out they roar out of me unfiltered.

They’ve attracted hate, they’ve attracted mutiny and they’ve attracted unrest. I’m still learning not to get too attached to them in fear of losing them one day. And that day, I won’t really know who I am anymore. It’s true the words haven’t been with me for long but they’ve quickly grown on me.

And then there’s the merchants, there’s the college enthusiasts, there’s the criminals and bums and poor men. There’s the single moms still shopping for fruits and vegetables at local supermarkets. There’s the army men scattered at the borders fighting terrorism and what the government refers to as ‘The Big Evil’.

There’s cars and planes and the same airport and dock. There are still no trains but there are a lot of tourists. A lot of people who come here from all the hype believing they want to learn our methods and history and get invested in it. They want to get involved when all we want is run away to their countries and live like them.

The walls are still up but not for long. You can sense them slowly collapsing from the weight of the roaches and the rats living inside them, from the lies and the memories of wars and humiliation and debt and corruption that infiltrated them.

Heartbreak is still very much real. Death is very real but it got much easier and much less costly. Everything human has gotten cheap and that only makes us want to hold on to the rope a little longer before letting go for good.

Papa, your picture’s still up on my wall and I wonder if there’s a plan for all this. I wonder if there’s a plan for everything rotten to just pile up in a single place on this planet. I wonder if there’s a plan to our madness of standing on the sides and watching it all happen and go to waste.

How do we know we’ve done right? How do we know we’ve given enough life and love? How do we know we’ve invested enough of ourselves before we go?

Well, I still can’t tell. And it might be a while before I can. I wonder if you knew in those dark final moments you had lying on the white bed.

The only thing that’s clear for me now is this drink. It goes straight through me without asking questions. Even the sun at times appears mocking or deceiving. But the drink is always present for solace and forgetfulness. And truly, in these difficult times, what better thing is there than to simply forget?

***

Be sure to check out my debut novel, A Road Away From Home, now available on Amazon and in paperback.

A Road Away From Home – Hanna Abi Akl

 

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