To the city whose walls I am in love with,

I don’t know how many more times I will see that antique shop at the corner of Gemmayzeh Street in my dreams. Maybe there’s something wrong about this.

Would a person not dream about the city she was born in, as she ages? It was the year two thousand and nine when I first met you. Maybe it was a syndrome of a journey along with a terrible turbulence in the air that made me fall in love with you. And isn’t everything somewhat a syndrome in life anyway? I met you many times more thereafter, ignoring the turbulences that caught me in life or in the sky. I touched your walls and I kissed them. Why would I, as a woman who could invest five times of minimum wage in tightening her pores that open as she ages, adore a city’s wall that is full of holes?

Again and again I strolled through the Armenian Street that still lives in the 80s with the white underwear hanging on rooftop; humming songs. There is only one word that can explain why I was infatuated with your French, your Arabic and your history as a whole. The mysterious as well as the indispensable equation of centuries; love. Every now and then, these days, I glance at the black and white photos I had taken on your streets and I go through the notes I had written in my black notebook as I was sitting at the edges of your streets. Why on earth, and with what kind of a courage could I have attempted it, I have no idea; yet I am writing a book for you these days.

I can’t stop thinking about your people who so much own up to the traces of your internal war, your walls covered with holes or the ruined buildings in every one of your streets. I don’t know how mankind chooses a city for himself to live. But I know that he keeps missing a city that he once saw and chose. He goes around the World, just like the Sun does, yet finally ends up in that city he has been missing.

Each time I pack my suitcase with the excitement of not knowing how many days I will spend on your soil.

Yet as I arrive, I feel reborn each time I hear the sound of a church bell blending into the voice of a call to prayer from a mosque. I run into your streets just to accompany a chirpy Arabic song shaking my shoulders with the rhythm in a random restaurant when I would normally almost run away from the weddings of my closest friends, where similar songs are played, or even hide under a table when I hear such songs. Contrary to those times when I would want to postpone the mornings at nights, trying to hide in my bed when the day breaks in the borders of Beyoğlu, in Istanbul, where my house, my studio and my cat are; here in another city, in your arms, my veins are filled with an exuberant inspiration. And I have no answer to that, other than love.

This is not a confession, it is the sheer truth: Beirut, I am in love with you.