Name: Romeo Y Julieta Short Churchill
Size: Robusto (4 7/8 inches x 50)
It was a hot Wednesday night, and we were having dinner outdoors at Cinco in Broummana. In a bubble of loud and bassy music, I lit the Romeo Y Julieta Short Churchill, my first Cuban cigar ever.
After the first few puffs, I took a deep breath, and it felt like I inhaled the night. It was wonderful.
Medium flavored and perfectly balanced, I smoked this cigar until my fingers burned. I paired it with Famous Grouse Smoky Black at first, and then I switched to pilsner. Both went pretty well with it.
I said I inhaled the night.
I inhaled the night like I used to in Hamra
but this time in Broummana.
Bars and restaurants were swarming with hungry, horny, thirsty people
as if Covid-19 was history,
the Lebanese pound was strong and stable,
the Beirut port explosion never happened,
and all the brouhaha.
Cars honked at high heels and tight dresses.
The valets then took those cars and parked them in a parallel universe.
I inhaled the night.
I could smell the perfumes of rivals in a love triangle.
I could smell the sweat of hard workers.
I could smell sulfur in the near future.
The ghosts of the dreams and desires of my generation filled my lungs,
and I almost coughed.
I tasted what we could have been,
and I tasted my first Cuban cigar.
“For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”
As the vibrations massaged my glutes, I observed the night.
I saw Beauty in a long-term relationship with Sadness.
I saw Past and Present sitting on high stools, facing one another,
smoking cigarettes and sharing memories.
There was a third stool at their table, but it was empty.
Yes, well, it seemed everyone was outdoors
living in a bubble of loud and bassy music
as if they weren’t suffering, or mourning, or dying.
Where the music did not reach, however, life did not either.
They were hedonists, and I was a hedonist
après moi, le déluge.
Every now and then, one must party like
après moi, le déluge.
But though we were partying like free spirits,
we weren’t free at all.
We were, in fact, afraid of freedom.
We were, in fact, only acting like we were free.
Paulo Freire says it right in Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
“Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift.
It must be pursued constantly and responsibly.”
And “It is solely by risking life that freedom is obtained,” Hegel says.
But we are not ready to risk anything.
We lost everything.
What we have is nothing.
But enough sadness!
The air was so humid all foreheads shined like stars.