Um-Camille listened to my aunt's song (see previous post, "Ma Tante") and told me she also had a song for me.
The first verse means roughly "Because of Leila I learned to love the night." (Leila means night...) She chats with me a bit, then sings a second verse which I don't really get, except that it's an ode to refugees who return (mhejireen), expatriates, and Lebanon. It also includes some wordplay on "zeleftoona" which I don't understand at all, but I *think* was intended as a nod to her daughter Zelfa who was sitting with us. Would any Arabic speakers reading and listening please enlighten us?
The chat includes her lament that her voice has gone. She used to have a beautiful voice, she says, and I try to assure her in my clumsy Arabic that it is still beautiful.
In looking at the pictures of her, I remember that she said to me: "You are one of us, Leila, you have our eyes, eyes just like ours." During this whole trip strangers kept telling me I looked foreign, Russian or Swedish or German. They said my friend Laura looks more Lebanese than I do. Chemo has taken away my eyelashes, my wild Arab hair, my black bushy eyebrows, even my cheekbones. But looking into Um-Camille's eyes, which look like my father's eyes, I saw that she is right, I have the eyes of our clan, and I am grateful that she told me so.
The sunset from Um-Camille's balcony.