It wasn’t a usual summer night that year. Although the cool breeze eased the humidity, there was something surreal about the midnight sea at Ain el-Mreisseh, Beirut’s seafront. August always brings jellyfish, and they appear like plastic bags dumped by some indifferent god into the Mediterranean. But on this August night in 2004, the jellyfish glowed like grayish streetlamps in the navy blue sea. It was there he stood casting his fishing line into the dangerous depths.
The seafront is dotted with rocky footholds and baby islands on which the likes of him gather in search of solitude. But by the time I saw him, the other fishermen (if you can call them that) were already snoring. Or, as we say in Arabic, in their seventh sleep. In short, it was too late to say the man was night-fishing, and it was too early to say he was an early bird. It was the magical hour of 2:45am.