As in, the one I’ve been traveling on has been: good hearted, naïve, scary, needy, all consuming, stressful, unique, powerful, bumpy, lonely, beautiful, barren, intoxicating, infuriating, brilliant and breathtaking. I am not at the end of this road, not even half way through it…however, tonight I am celebrating the particular destination I have decided to take a rest in, no, landed in. It reminds me of my trip to Morocco. Mother Africa through a glorious port in the north. I irrationally, inexplicably burst out in tears and dropped to my knees on the deck of the “fast ferry” boat I was on. I remember the feeling of raindrops on my face and my overwhelming reaction to the fact that I was about to be in Africa. I believe I was also in the middle of healing a bruised heart. Bruised from the blast back of having to break someone else’s (albeit totally unrealistic) dreams of a life with me. I also had unrealistic, unrequited feelings for another. I cried that day on the helm of that fast ferry for all of us, including mother Africa. Then I asked the customs agent not to stamp my passport (he did anyways – which is fine because I didn’t really have a good reason for asking in the first place, just wanted to feel mysterious I think). So yes, the road to Africa, for me, consisted of a walk (I was running), a wait (I was talking), a bus ride (I was sleeping) and a boat ride (I was crying). When I actually arrived in Africa I was CALM. I was HOME. I haven’t ever really questioned why I felt so at home, so in love, so alive. All I know is that once in Africa, on the bus ride to the big white city, we made a stop at a rest area. This rest stop was different than any I had ever been in. There were beautiful old trees that canopied the entire area. There was a light music playing on speakers and special washbasins to rinse off your face. There was an old man and a shared sandwich and an apple to keep me company and satiated. There was an emphasis on my personal comfort like none other I have felt before that moment or since then. It was just a roadside rest stop – but it reminds me of where my life is right now, minus Africa, the old man and the neat washbasins.
How I Feel About Paris Today
I feel closer than ever to Paris. One of my dear friends will be in Paris in two weeks time and I am so excited for him. I have helped and planned and been way too involved in someone else’s trip to Paris than what is normal, but I feel good about it. I am back to my old ways of apartment surfing Paris apartments – but this time with a vacation in mind. A vacation during which I will be able to evaluate what my dreams are – and how much I am willing to sacrifice for that city. It is good and natural and exactly what I should be doing. I miss Paris today, but Atlanta’s not feeling so bad either. There are big sweeping pink, white and purple trees adorning the green hue of the lake that reflects the city’s beautiful skyscrapers. Yea, I feel good about everywhere today.
May 25th 2004
Now on the bus on my way to casa I know for sure that I wasn’t ready before. Now I am ready, readier than ever. The bus just stopped at an “aire de repos” – rest stop. I ate a great sandwich and split an apple with this older man who has been guiding me since the bus stop in Fuengirola. We were the first ones waiting for the bus. We walked and he showed me the medina in Tangier and we had mint tea at a café where the bathroom was obviously never meant for a woman to use, but I did. It was utterly disgusting, but I guess I am a stronger person for doing it. He is an angel, this man. I feel that his presence was sent to me to help me along my way. I am happy and relaxed here. I am exactly where I need to be in this moment. Africa- Morocco, wide one spaces, fields of sunflowers and wild yellow, red and purple flowers growing on the side of the road. Vast expanses of blue Atlantic Ocean. Finally I am ready for you Morocco. I know I wasn’t before; it would have been too much. I had to have that Moroccan woman in Lille call me the devil first and I had to be prodded at by those women in the Paris suburbs. I had to make peace with my relationship with B, Youssef had to break my heart. Haq had to be deported and Natalia had to be considering marrying her Moroccan boyfriend and moving here – just like I was so many years ago. All of this had to happen first. And now I am ready for the intrusive stares from the older women and the men hissing. Every conversation I hear in Arabic sounds like it’s about to break into a fight and then I realize they are not on the verge of violence but laughter – maybe violence too – who knows – maybe it’s the same kind of emotion that drives it all. I can’t remember a time in my life when I’ve felt more where I’m supposed to be is where I’m at. My precious words have returned to me.