We have been in lockdown since mid-March 2020 due to corona. We were stuck in one place. Benghazi is a coastal region, and it’s supposed to inspire to the hard-wired desire in us to be in commune with nature. The coastal Mediterranean Sea, with its swirling waves and rustling winds and white, coarse, sand, is a nature-lover’s paradise – magnificent in view but terrible in its force.
Sadly, the pandemic has forced us to live an almost monastic life in the camp. We were unable to go out and look and frolic in the beach. Even our groceries and other personal needs are being bought by a local friend. And sometimes, he would bring us the wrong type of shampoo, or the wrong type of medicine, or the wrong milk, etc. I know, it sucks. Corona virus has left its scars on most of us and it scares us even today to the brink of panic.
Two weeks ago, after what seems like an eternity, I finally had the courage, (okay, more like an impudence) to disobey what my guts is telling me. I had to let go of my personally-imposed proximity rules for a few minutes and got my first haircut – after over four months.
As you can imagine, the uneven patches of hair that has grown with untamed abandon in some places has left the barber shaking in disbelief. I can’t say I can blame the man. Its just that four months’ worth of hair is like a mini-jungle of entangled follicles. No, I don’t look like a rock star. Far from it. And no, the barber did not use a chainsaw. Just a simple, cordless, hair clipper. But the jumbled mass of hair will not go down without a fight.
It was a mess. A big, hairy mess. But to my surprise, it was a joy to finally say goodbye to something that is a part of you. Looking down at the patches of dark and gray hair on the floor, I felt an eerie sense of relief. I can’t help but wonder why I did not do this earlier. I looked and I have been freed. That blissful, delicious, feeling of being emancipated from the shackles of fly-aways and uneven bangs and untrimmed sideburn. It’s good to have a haircut.
While we are waiting for the Libyan airports to open, we don’t know what’s in store for us. Libya is a beautiful country with amazing people. But the nation is divided and in turmoil since 2011. We have two problems here: COVID-19 and war. Each one has the power to decimate the populace and inflict untold horrors. The violence of war and ravages of COVID-19 cannot be quantified. As the COVID-19 cases are growing precipitously every single day, I can only hope for the best and continue to observe health protocols.
But just like a clean haircut, it gives me a better feel and a better visibility to see that the sun is shining behind the clouds, that there is a glimmer of hope behind the misery.