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SHADOWS & LIGHTS

ANOTHER VALENTINE!

In a few days we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day.

9 February 2014 Sunday 00:44
by ÖZNUR ÇEVİK

In a few days we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day.

This is … uhmmm let me think. Oh never mind! I can’t even remember the last Valentine I had someone special in my life other than my Daddy.

Before he passed away I loved having him around to celebrate Valentines. Actually as I haven’t had anybody special around for a long time he would always buy a small present or call me real early and celebrate my day.

Unfortunately the last four years he wasn’t around to do it but yet again I had great friends to celebrate the day. 
And here goes my Valentine present to you all:

“Give me your hands,

I’ll hold them tight.

Give me your heart,

I’ll feed it with love.

Give me your body,

I’ll caress it with care.

But keep your soul,

So that I can live in it.”

And I would like to share the true story of Soha Hage.

Hage’s striking story, excerpted below, was related in the New York Times Magazine. Being the incurable romantic I loved it and want to share it with you.

Here it goes:

“I was 18 in December 1988, during the height of the Lebanese Civil War, and I was to be married on Christmas Day. But it didn’t happen that way.

I met my fiancé, Emile, at my cousin’s house, but we never spoke. I was only 15 and too shy. And at first, when my cousin told my father that Emile wanted to ask for my hand, my father said I was too young. But my parents invited Emile home, and he started to spend time with us, and I found that I loved Emile from the bottom of my heart. My parents said we had to wait until after I finished high school to marry, but graduation day finally came. And that fall, we started to get ready for the wedding.

A week before the ceremony, Emile disappeared. We called the company where he worked, and they said he’d left for the day, and  his mother said he hadn’t returned home. After a few days we could only assume that he’d been shot or kidnapped by one of the Christian militias that were fighting one another then. Emile was only 23, and he had never been politically active, but during those days many people became the victims of misdirected acts of retribution and violence.
I can’t describe the devastation I felt. During the next three months, the fighting in Beirut got much worse, and my family had to move to a safer area. Even if Emile’s family had news of him, they would not have been able to inform us. The battles were terrible, Beirut’s neighborhoods were isolated from one another and there was no telephone and no electricity. People were simply stuck where they were. My family was convinced that Emile was dead Still, he would come to me in my dreams, saying, ‘Wait for me.’ When you are very scared and you feel you have nothing to live for, you start to search your dreams for hope.

When the war ended and reconstruction began, I continued my studies and worked very hard, and I tried not to show my parents how much I was suffering. Over the years, from time to time, I heard rumors about Emile. Some said he died. Others said he was in Syria. Some said that he’d been liberated and had married someone else. There was no way to find out for sure.

I didn’t want to meet any other men, but in our world it’s difficult for a girl to marry after 25. As I grew older, my whole family began turning against me. ‘You’re crazy,’ they said.

‘You’re burning up your life.’ For a while, I dated a dentist, and even though I didn’t love him, we became engaged. But as the wedding date neared, I realized I couldn’t go through it.

On day in 1997, nine years after Emile was kidnapped, my brother bumped into Emile’s uncle in the street. He said that Emile was in Lebanon. My brother told him I was unmarried and working as a teacher.

I was in class a few days later when the phone rang. I usually turn the phone off while I’m teaching, and at first I wasn’t going to answer it. But I did.

‘Hello, Soha?’ a voice said. And I knew it was Emile. For 30 seconds I couldn’t move.

‘Soha, I’m back,’ he said, ’and I have only one question: Do you still love me?’

Seconds passed, I don’t know how many, before I managed to say, ‘Yes.’

I trembled on the way to see him, and when I did, my heart jumped. But then it was as if I’d seen him only the day before. It felt like when you take a cassette and you press Pause and then you continue. We couldn’t believe we found each other.

Emile had suffered much more than I. He was held captive for two years, and he still has torture scars on his body. Finally he was put on a boat and forced to leave the country. The Red Cross helped him find his family, who had moved to Canada, and some relatives helped him get work in West Africa. He assumed I would be married; we had moved, and eventually he gave up on finding me. But then he back to Lebanon to help start a company, and two days later my brother met his uncle. Five weeks after Emile’s phone call, we married.”

Well this is what I call love.

Happy Valentines!

Until next week keep cool and healthy!


Tags: ANOTHER VALENTINE!, ANOTHER, VALENTINE!
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