My plan this week was to take a photo of the iconic LOVE sculpture in Manhattan. Maybe in my mission to do so I would have stumbled upon other signs of love in the city in time for Valentine’s Day. But I never made it and thus there are no clichés this year. Except for the home made play dough which by happen turned out to be pink there was no red, no hearts and no roses. A friend of mine who has lived many years in New York told me that Valentine’s Day is really special here, but if it was, I didn’t feel it.
Instead my thoughts keep going back to a most memorable Valentine’s Day four years ago, in Damascus. It was the last day of our trip, one that I have actually written more about here. That night we ate a rather late dinner at the famous Naranj restaurant because it was the only time we could get a table. The magic happened afterwards as we were walking back to our hostel. The roads were all congested with cars decorated with red bears, hearts, lights and flowers. The traffic was so bad that they were almost standing still and every car we passed greeted us Happy Valentine!
Never had I seen Valentine’s Day celebrated with such fervor, out in the streets and embracing everyone. Four years later, Naranj has closed and moved to Iraq. Syria lies in ruins. I wonder if the Damascene youths are still driving their cars out, honking and celebrating the day of love.
I really wish they still do.