Both Banks of Life

This work reveals my passion for short stories—stories that are more autobiographical than fictional.  I have plucked these stories out of my memory because they pecked at me like a flock of caged birds, wanting release.  I have camouflaged them to protect certain characters, embellished them to make them interesting, and set them free into the world where they will have to fend for themselves in order to survive.

They span about sixty years of my life and tell tales about epochs that made indelible imprints on my inner being, and helped reshape my character.  They have occurred on both banks of my life’s river, the Eastern Bank, representing Lebanon, and the Western Bank, representing the United States.  Life forward flows, but the banks remain.  That is why I called this book, Both Bank Of Life.

Being bicultural is tantamount to having two souls in one body.  My Eastern and my Western souls have finally learned to cohabitate peacefully, but achieving that amicable balance took many soul-searching years.  In some stories, one can smell the East, in others, the West, but in most of them, both East and West vie by wafting their earthen aromas.

Telling all forty of stories gave me great peace, the unique peace that arises from catharsis of the soul at having finished its life’s work and liberated its imprisoned messengers of good will.

Because I wrote them intermittently, not chronologically, over a ten-year span between 2006 and 2016, reappearances of certain quotations and descriptions, though unavoidable, should not diminish the value of the imbedded messages.

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Table Of Contents

  1. Amiss
  2. The Letter
  3. The Red Spell
  4. Seven Years
  5. Amioun’s Colorful Thief
  6. Easter In Naxos
  7. Fatherland and Miss Fatima Hussein
  8. The Nun’s Tale
  9. Two Miracles
  10. Hasseen The Savior
  11. James Dean’s Blue Jeans
  12. The Municipal Elections
  13. Shooing Hallucinations
  14. Abdominal Fire
  15. Life From Under The Knife
  16. Professor Ley How
  17. The Wedding
  18. Crisis
  19. Frédéric Chopin’s Four Ballades
  20. The Eye Of The Needle
  21. Good Morning Professor Columbam
  22. Batman Kindness
  23. Pilot Error
  24. Arthur VanChef
  25. Chopin In Beirut
  26. Forbidden Fire
  27. Valediction
  28. Odysseus
  29. Sudaa
  30. Three Arabian Tales
  31. The Doctor Harrison
  32. A Dying Man Tells
  33. Search Behind The Disease
  34. An Evening With Beethoven
  35. The Clandestine Stone
  36. The Holy Quakes Of Malula
  37. The Curly Black Hair
  38. Murder In The OR
  39. The Quack Dr. Blackpill
  40. Love’s River

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