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A feeling you can’t deny

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Love may be the prize or just the price.
Something you find at the end of the road,
or something you need to sacrifice to catch another ride.
So love may be the aim or just an escapade.
Yet, love is never that unperceived guest.
It comes and makes you forget how to live without it,
It walks in to flip everything upside down.
to make you unable to grasp what hit you for a while:
Your mind will get twisted as if you had just finished a whole bottle of wine
Everything will look like a disastrous scene after a hurricane,
Nothing in order, nothing in place…

When the hurricane shifts to make landfall
When the waves get high and the water gets rough
and it keeps raining incessantly while everything is falling apart,
You can either resist and hold on to stay on the shore
or let go and get driven away by the flow.
Then you will either die or be reborn,
get a new start or just meet your doom.
You can never know what’s waiting on the other side unless you jump.
But what will make someone so reckless to jump in such a pitfall?
Is it just curiosity, vanity or can life be so unbearable
that death can no longer make one fearful?

To my mind, what’s scarier than death itself,
is dying on your own.
No one wants to die alone, after all,
It’s just that not anyone can push that sickening feeling of loneliness away.
It takes someone that makes you feel special and loves you unconditionally.
Someone who will never let you down,
who will love you at all costs, at your best and your worst.
Someone who can make you laugh at your lowest
and pushes you till you reach your limits.
Someone you can’t help but think about them all the time
whose sight makes your eyes shine like a million burning stars.
Someone that will make you so happy like you’ve never been before,
even in the midst of a raging storm…

Love has always been the happy ending of every fairytale,
a beautiful far-off daydream that’s hard to reach in the everyday grind.
Yet it may simply be an illusion, a source of confusion,
a fantasy that’s being commercially capitalized and used to poison our minds.
Love, is it that sweet guest that comes and changes everything for the best?
We all want to be somebody to someone else
as the only happiness is to love and be loved.
But how far will one go for the sake of this quest for love?
Maybe will it cost more than one can ever afford
As you might lose yourself in the pursuit of it….

However, once you lose yourself, no one else will ever succeed at making you feel whole or found or home.
We all crave love at times, when this epic world wonders, which we all ponder.
How can something be so breath-taking and reviving at once!

Love makes you wish upon every falling star,
it makes you believe that flying is possible and that the sky can’t be the limit
Love is that indescribable muse you can never define,
However, when in its blissful abyss, you can tell.

Sometimes, you can love so fiercely that you lose yourself.
Try so hard to please someone that you can no longer recognize yourself.
Love isn’t meant to be painful,
it isn’t about doing your hardest
it isn’t about following someone else’s path…
True love is about putting someone above you only because you know they’d do the same too.
True love is an evasion from the world’s brutality,
it shouldn’t be ruth itself.
Instead, lose yourself in art, in the haze of new horizons,
in the stories, and the lessons, it has to teach you.
But never lose yourself in the pursuit of love.
Never lose yourself to gain someone else.

As long as the sun burns in the sky
And the moon casts its light in the dark of the night
Never lose hope…
Life may be cruel
But don’t close your heart
Miracles happen in the least expected times.
Beware but don’t keep your guards too high
As guards won’t keep you from getting hurt, but from living your life.

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À vos plumes

Rihet Lebled

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Close your eyes and allow me to take you on a stroll along a Tunisian street. There will be a mild wind, a golden sky, a narrow alleyway lined with vibrant green trees and garnished with exquisite, delicate white small stars. You can certainly smell the heady, seductive scent of the Jasmine bloom while reading. 

Jasmine, according to some, has a floral aroma that is musky and bitter. Others believe it is too sweet and passionate. Still others believe it is too wild and rich. But I take my grandfather at his word when he exhales deeply through his Mashmoum and adds, « Rihet Lebled ». And an old man who spent nearly his entire life away from his country will always be more accurate and genuine in describing the aroma of this flower than you will ever be.

Every morning, he uses his shaky hands to carefully tear-off the selected buds from our small garden jasmine tree, place each one on a stalk of Halfa grass, and then gathers a group of them together to form the bouquet.

Later on, he proudly places it behind his ear; occasionally, he graciously gives it to me. It is also made into a chic necklace by local artisans, which women wear tastefully before their daily evening strolls in the summer.

According to the legend, the God of Love, Kama, sent his arrows bearing jasmine flowers to his victims, Legend has it that Cleopatra traveled to see the Roman general Marcus Antonius in a ship with sails adorned with jasmine essence. And according to history, jasmine traveled across oceans and arrived in the pockets of Andalusians from Spain to bloom in Tunisia.

A title for a never-ending love story might be « Jasmine and Tunisia », because we respect this flower’s enduring powers, you can smell it during our celebrations and weddings. We greet strangers with their blossoms and bid farewell to summer with their flowers. We adorn our homes with their hues and sometimes brew tea with their petals. We start our summer days with their purity and end our evenings with their oxidized aroma.

We give it to our loved ones and it guides us home while also reminding us of happy memories, innocent childhood times, and adulthood regrets. It also evokes memories of « Rihet Lebled », and makes us wonder, should we put the jasmine seeds in our pockets when we leave this country, or plant it here, care for them and wait until they bloom…hopefully…

Written By : Nada Arfaoui.

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