Short Stories

Where the Heart is

The night was still young as she tossed and turned in her bed. Turmoil was eating her up inside and a million thoughts rushed through her head like images from a movie, keeping her awake and unsettled. Sleep was an enemy with which she shared a love-hate relationship. Turning to her right to a sight she had gotten accustomed to for the past years – dark hair, olive skin and his masculine figure, lying there besides her peacefully, his rhythmic breathing carrying a hypnotizing effect. The sound of the heavy raindrops on the window sill fell on her ears like shells; she struggled to detach herself from both the surreal images in her head and the frustrating noise creeping in on her caused by Mother Nature. But it seemed like a painstaking effort which, at that moment, she was too weary to go through with. So she decided to get out of both states and try to find a peaceful haven she could run away to. Slowly, she slipped from under the heavy cover, making an effort to be as smooth as possible; she knew that the bed was old and would squeak at the smallest move.

The room was spacious but felt like it was closing in on her; and the colors all seemed to fade to a shade of gray as she walked towards the door. She paused for a moment, her hand on the door knob, looked back at the tranquility she left behind in bed and wished she could share it, once more. But she knew that it was rather too late for her. She turned the door knob, carefully opened the door, and walked out.

She placed her chair facing the balcony door, from where she could see the darkness of night torn by the raging lightening. A small light flickered and the tobacco started burning. She had made a decision to quit smoking, and she had been successful at it until that day when her world seemed to shatter all around her. And the rising smoke of the cigarette outlined just that. She sat there afraid of the darkness; the light of her cigarette spread a hope so tiny she knew she could not cling on to. Her thoughts swept through like the waves of the sea on a quiet day, and she did not fight them; she stopped wanting to fight. She was well aware that it would be a lost cause; her emotions are deeply engraved within her very soul, her very being, that losing was the most wonderful achievement yet to experience.

It was close to three in the morning; the darkness of the night was in no way ceasing. For her, it was getting even darker. She felt suffocated in front of the balcony door, although the scenery was enchanting: a vast space covered with pine trees and the picturesque image of Beirut at night, her lights gleaming passionately like a star in her most glorious moments. The lights created a glamorous reflection on the sea, illuminating it with a million tiny gleams of rainbow-y colors. Yet, she could not see but the dim, starless sky and the shadows within. She had to get away and she was well aware of that fact; her torment grew stronger and the monsters became fiercer. She was unable to bear the anguish; so she got out of her chair, walked steadily back to the bedroom, carefully grabbed her clothes from upon the davenport and hurried into the bathroom to change.

At almost four in the morning, the car came to a halt. She had been driving aimlessly for nearly an hour; the streets were still wet from the recent rain, and almost empty. A few handful cars rushed by, leaving a zest of muddy particles on the windshield of her car. It was nothing she cared about at that moment, as she was entangled in the emotions that overtook her existence. There were so many unanswered questions going through her mind, ones she desperately needed answers for. She longed for the peace she had once possessed, and yet she somehow enjoyed the torture within: the war between her id and her super-ego; between the “should” and the “want”.

She sat there in her car, the cool breeze gently gushing in on her form the half-open window. She knew she had to let go either of the longing inside of her, or of the boundaries that kept her in chains. In both cases, a loss was to be incurred. The decision was difficult, but her world was a frozen one of pictures and memories, and she had to put an end to the turmoil.

The waves were gently brushing against the shore and the sun was shyly beginning to rise from behind the mountains. Another sleepless solitary night had gone by with a faint hope of a new day. She started the engine and drove back home, to where her heart must always be.

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