I was in the process of writing this long & sad post about my very dear friend leaving the country. Forever.
And then, while I was writing, another very dear friend of mine here in Lebanon, a fellow Dutchie, called.
“I have some bad news,” she said. “J. has been shot in the head.” Her husband, J., had been shot three times that morning, at close range, on the sea road near Dbayeh, on his way to work in Beirut. One of the shots was in the head. He died that same afternoon, not regaining consciousness.
It was exactly 30 years ago this month, that they met each other. In Hamana, if I am correct. She was a nurse at the local hospital, on loan from Holland, and he was vacationing with his parents in the village. Pretty much love at first sight. They stuck it out all these years, through explosions and invasions, unlike many other Dutch/Lebanese couples, who tried their luck in Holland during the war. He loved his land.
Some of his characteristics got all of us ´Dutch ladies married to Lebanese men´ decisively jealous. His habit of buying his wife flowers on Valentines. And on her birthday. And on their anniversary. And on any occasion that might be celebratory. Heck, even when there was no reason at all.
Whenever I´d show up, he’d prepare me chips with a special ‘dip sauce’, because once, somewhere in 1991, I had commented on the fact that I liked that kind of thing. If we were on the beach, he´d go to the restaurant, and prepare it there. Once, one Valentine´s Day, his wife and I were lounging on an empty beach, when he prepared a lovely surprise for us. He did that kind of stuff all the time.
And now, for reasons that elude us all, he was shot, and died. He leaves behind a daughter and a son, and his wife. The sad post about a friend leaving will have to wait for a while.
P.S. If anyone saw anything on that stretch of sea road near the Dbayeh Marina on June 27, sometime between 6:45 and 7:30, please be so kind as to notify the police.