arm candy

November 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

Maybe when I get back to the states, I’ll denounce utensils. Maybe I’ll protest all modesty and wear nothing but a bikini. Maybe I’ll have abounding patience, or maybe I’ll be a brat about couscous. Whoever I become, I hope it’s becoming. However, I know that just like Mariners games without Dave Niehaus, it’ll never be the same.

On yesterday’s train to Kenitra I  salamaleykum‘ed into the last seat of a compartment. Across from me sat a young mother with her sleeping child strewn across her lap like a book. The baby stirred itself awake, decisively blinking like a photographer snapping shots. After a few minutes, the man on her right offered to take the baby while the mother relaxed and ate a little. She handed off her child to this complete stranger, who lovingly amused the baby by feeding it it’s bottle, uplifting it like Simba, and even kissing it on the cheeks. The man on his right did likewise. I looked towards the mother but saw no signs of alarm. It was a tender moment, once I accepted the idea of stranger men kissing a stranger’s baby. I guess it takes a village to raise a child. I got off the train and B-lined to the pedestrian underpass, walking briskly past a man who had dirty trousers and a jacket but no shirt. The tunnel ends with a few dirt fields dappled with leaning trees and dust-caked children. As I work my way to the road that will lead me to the university, I see no fewer than three men urinating in plain view, though they have half-heartedly attempted to conceal themselves behind trees, brush, and trash bins. I see them, and they know I do, but we all move on, feigning ignorance.

Since I had missed my morning class, I head straight for the courtyard to meet Soukaina. As we stroll through the campus she lassoes me and says she loves me like a sister. She also says, “I want to put Islamic to your heart.” She also tells me that I must wear long sweaters that hang down to my knees over loose-fitting jeans (NOT leggings) when I meet her family for Aid. She also changes our departure date to this Saturday. We linked arms and she walked me to class.

In “l’histoire litteraire”, a double guilt-trip lay waiting to pounce like the peddlers in the souks. First, I apologize to my professor for missing her class that morning. Then I approach my friend Leila like a husband who has spent a night on the couch. I had stood her up this weekend to go to the funeral party. Though I had called and texted her to cancel our meeting, she (and her “trays full of traditional moroccan pastries! Trays full!”) had not received my messages. Wanting to ameliorate our friendship, I offered to see her dorm after class. Again, I was arm candy a we walked into the residence halls of Ibn Tofail. Her all-girls dorm is simple, bearing an eerie resemblance to my first dormitory at Humboldt. Living on “the Hill” is a memory I both treasure and revile, so I found myself both wanting to leave immediately and linger a bit in “Pavilion D.” HI met her roommate, who was sitting quietly in front of a magazine portrait of Zac Efron. When I used the train as an excuse to leave, Leila walked me to the street and for the second time that day, a girl told me she loved me.

I have just bought a ticket to Spain to celebrate Thanksgiving with some other ex-pat  Umayams. I should be leaving 2 days after I return from the countryside, if I survive of course.


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