I was working with my colleague in a café in Beirut – an ancient city scared by war, but one that is vibrant, welcoming, and full of life. Around 5:40 pm, I ordered an Uber to bring me to meet my father for a sunset drink by the sea. Upon arrival, I tipped the driver (as one does in this city). He smiled, thanked me on behalf of his young ones, and off he went.
As I walked towards the sea, I spotted my father. All of a sudden, I heard the sound of an aircraft rushing towards us -VRRRRRRR - not like a passenger plane flying, but much closer, much faster. The ground beneath me started to shake and I screamed, “It’s an earthquake!” A woman next to me pulled her daughter out from the water and screamed “Its war!” I heard BOOM and fell to the floor as a mushroom pink cloud began spreading above me, eating the city alive. Memories of a double-bomb I barely survived in 2008 resurfaced. Around me, shattered glass was flying from neighbouring buildings, children were in tears and my father was panicking about my brother’s whereabouts, but all I could think about was my mom, and that this was the end. I could feel it in my gut. An overwhelming feeling of acceptance washed over me, and I said a little prayer.