The Fair’s Moving On

On day three the dawn sun shone through the stained glass window onto the bed beside me. It was empty. Full of apologies, Giles had flown. The curse of the mobile phone had struck, recalling him to duty in Paris and leaving me to the remaining two days in Marrakech alone. This in itself didn’t bother me. Giles was bored by ‘stuff’ and his departure meant that I could indulge my natural urge towards spending hours soaking up the free lectures in the many apothecary shops. I returned to the Herboristene Rida ben Abderralaam, where the charming Berber proprietor smothered my hand in white clay mixed with rosewater and when he removed it ten minutes later declared me worth six thousand camels, while the smells of pomegranate flowers, star anise and mimosa assaulted my already overactive senses. This was bliss to me.
Then later in the Jemaa el Fna I sat at one of the many trestle tables and tucked into Moroccan soup, contemplating the fact that Morocco is the happiest, most hospitable of countries and how my age cloaks me as effectively as a burqua. This no longer makes me sad, because I am growing into my natural place as an observer.
Out and about I bumped into Margery’s old friend Victor, thus setting off a mental riff on the subject of small world networks( more of this later no doubt). Victor has bought a Dar with his boyfriend and is in the process of doing it up. We went to the Hotel de Glace for three dollops each. Mine were vanilla, pistachio and chocolate. We arranged to meet the next day for a trip to the Jardin Marjorelle. I snuggled down to sleep that night contemplating how much easier it is to manage gay men than lovers.
The Marjorelle Gardens were a sore disappointment to me. Too much bamboo deters the birds and the garden was far too phallic, with a wide variety of huge cactus plants. But the blue paint on pots and walls was stunning as were the prices in the boutique. We walked back to the Jemaa el Fna and hung about in the dusk. But a beggar pinched me and a boy with a snake made me jump. That night I listened to Elvis on my I pod and cried because I was alone in that beautiful, noisy, exotic and soulful city and in my heart I knew I’d better get used to the feeling because alone is what it’s probably going to be now. Alone in that special place of yearning that is. And I need to remind myself that it is only in that aloneness that I can meet what really,really matters; the mystery beyond naming.

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