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I’ll be Home Soon

Sep 4

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9/4/2010 2:26 PM  RssIcon

I’ll be Home Soon by Tiffany Kostan

I sprouted gills and lived in the Atlantic ocean for a day. The sand pulled out from under my heels creates my favorite sense of vertigo. The waves broke on my shoulders and tossed me through their embraces, rocking me back and forth, to and from the shore. The beach offered a book club and camels, which our bus driver’s little daughter rode with glee. Later, some of the boys bought kites and immediately became kids again. Our lodge offered up a swimming pool and a ten-minute walk from the ocean’s shore. I took full advantage of this every moment I could get. We ate at great little sea side restaurants offering fresh fish. If we ate late enough, they also offered clouds of bats that sung chaotic melodies that danced inside the ear.
 Asilah: salty air, sandy streets and a plethora of tourists. Liberation in short skirts, modesty almost uncomfortable to shrugged off. Pink bruises of the setting sun on the right and silvery blue stares of the rising moon on the left. The four-hour bus ride, baking in the heat, was worth every drop of sweat to be set out into serenity.
We were reluctantly herded on the bus Sunday and drove north toward Tangier. We stopped at the most Northwestern point of Africa and marveled at the pristine blues and greens of the ocean. I saw the hills and mountains of Spain on the horizon. We descended underground in a cool damp cave, which led to a water carved doorway to the expansive ocean. The beaten rocks twisted into stunning rosy sculptures and the pool beneath our ledge offered a crystal view of the inlet floor. The water’s breath was amplified comfortably in my ears and I know from which where my aversion to quiet nights came; a longing for the ocean’s voice to fill my head and heart.
Tangier’s sea breeze lifted spirits and moods. We were within sight of the coast wherever we strolled.  The foodies of our group scouted out a Thai restaurant that was on par with the Japanese restaurant in Rabat.  St. Pierre fish in a red curry and coconut milk sauce with stir-fried vegetables and fried noodles on the side. I’ve never been so confused and euphoric. The owner brought me out some starter spring rolls, free of charge, to try because I was the only one in the group who decided to get the more expensive meal and thus opted out of appetizers. He said there is a proverb in Arabic that loosely translates as, “Those who are separate from the group, is the Devil.” He did not want me to be the odd one out, and so I enjoyed fresh spring rolls with tangy ginger sauce that made my taste buds stand at attention. We had tea made to perfection in fine china pots with matching cups and later, we split desserts that made me swoon.
We learned that Meknes is a hot, messy city that no one should live in, by the more judgmental vendors. I can’t blame them for the criticism because I’m a coastal kind of gal, but I have cultivated a certain hometown pride for my loud, scorching city, which lacks in ocean breezes, but makes up for it in character and the best tajine dishes and mint tea. I’m finding out a lot about the environments I can feel cradled by. A few weeks prior I slipped my dusty fingers into cool powdered sand as the breeze caressed my face in the Sahara dessert. The immense sky winked and laughing falling stars stole breath away, gasping and quick. The expansive darkness pressed itself into yielding bodies and tucked us, sweetly, into sand dunes. Our bed was soft, our air gentle and the ceiling cloudy with stars. I thought, “I could live my life on a sand dune.”
The ride home was hot and then cool and all the while mystical Berber music wailed as we clapped, danced and watched the sun set purple mountains on fire, singeing the sky with pink and orange afterglow. The sun and moon share the twilight sky, unlike in Ohio, where their personalities are less easy going. The sun’s countenance reflected in my window, superimposed with the silvery face of the moon cradled in icy blue sky.
Five weeks has drawn my heart strings taut. Most days I hardly notice, then the night settles in my bones and reminds me of the loss of familiarity. I want to share all this; Each moment handpicked and wrapped carefully to be doled out to open palms that are smooth from disuse. My own hands feel over-used somehow, though they look just the same. I never liked countdowns. They’re contrived and manipulative. I have one week left.

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