“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation”
I was reading “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran and stumbled upon that passage, in the plane coming back from Syria, in 2011. And, I could already feel it in my bones, the depth of the love I had for this place, those people, my people but it was true the depth of it wasn’t as deeply felt, until the hour of separation.
I remember that night, before taking the plane, I had said goodbye to the most precious friends, to my dear family. And, I had left. But deep inside, something was tormenting me. I hated goodbyes, that wasn’t new. But, this time, I hated them with anger. As If I knew, as if I felt there would be a long time before meeting again. Was it because we had for most, just graduated? Or, was it my guts telling me?
The pain I was feeling at the time was heavy and full of guilt. Guilt of not having cherished the moments with my loved ones enough. I remember the last day, when saying goodbye, I started realizing that our goodbyes were pretty heavy on my heart, heavier than the usual. A close friend drove me back to my grandparents house, along with 3 other friends, sitting in the back of the car. And I, in the front, was staring blankly at the road with music in the back and my eyes watering. I did not want to leave the car. I wanted us to drive, drive and drive just in order to spend more time together in Syria because, that’s where I felt at Home, that’s where I felt alive.
Months started passing, and I could not make it on Christmas but people started saying that Syria was feeling different. And indeed, nothing got better. Four years of separation, and I have never missed anything or anyone the way I miss Syria and my people. And, constantly even a virtual communication has become hard to catch. Sometimes, you sit and talk to the people through the keyboard of your phone, hoping that today out of the month, they have Internet, hoping that the number you have is still available because despite all the Social Media we are using, today is the time we lose touch with people the most because we forget that liking their picture doesn’t mean being aware of their well-being. Moreover, a message service doesn’t help you to physically hold a friend in tears, can’t let you reassure anyone with more than words with typos because of the phone corrector. It doesn’t let you fully be you, and be there for the ones who need you. But God knows how in times of war, you need that tap on the shoulder, that hand on your cheek, telling you that it’ll be okay, it’ll be alright. A simple gesture of reassurance that isn’t there to fool you, but rather help you handle the situation instead of the distance tearing apart the memories, the laughter and the tears. But, distance, when the love is real, does make the heart grow fonder.
No matter the circumstances, the depth of love will always triumph over the length of distance.