Over the years, this garden located in Geitawi, Achrafieh, became a shortcut for me not to go around the block in order to reach my house. When I was younger, my grandparents used to take me to play there with my brothers and friends.
As I grew up, I outgrew it I guess.
Now, with my time in Achrafieh becoming less and less abundant, I look at the Jesuite garden and can’t help but smile. The place today is full of old men and women, going about the rest of their days, succumbing to the reality that they’re not what they used to be.
The maids now bring the kids to play. When I used to be a kid who came to this garden, parents were the chaperons of their kids. Times have changed.
There’s also a new public library. The garden now has wifi as well. Times have changed. Yes they have.
But once I pass next to the Jesuite garden, when I eventually find a place to park in Achrafieh, I can’t help but smile as I remember how it used to be to hold my grandfather’s hand and walk into its doors, my heart racing in order to run to that swing.
My memories of the garden today are different. They are ones of gratitude, filled with happiness that I really had a great childhood, some of which was spent in its midst – even though it was the place where I broke my arm during the Easter vacation of 1996.
As I pass the Jesuite garden, I see familiar old faces. And then some time later, I don’t see them anymore and I know that their time must have come. Other faces replace them. Those faces become familiar and the cycle repeats itself.
This is the heart of Beirut – the one we should never forget.