When I first arrived in Singapore, beside me sat my husband. He was way, very, too much excited for this. “This will be your new home from now on”, he exclaimed gleefully.
Three years back, Home was all red to me.
My Majestic Marrakech.
She donned red very well. It suited her.
This… this was not Home… this was not her… But, it was 100 percent all him.
In Singapore, trees queue neatly heading towards the MRT. Monkeys use man-made bridges to get to the other side of the forest. Mosques have elevators, slippers in each cubicle, and television sets in their lobby showcasing their own advertisements.
I was just fresh out of Marrakech. All of the above was alien to me. Is it my fault that I had gotten used to her? Her bright beautiful broad sky she braggingly boasts about. On some days, truth be told, I would breathe in red air during Maghrib as that same sky bounces of the vibrant colour off of her walls, surrounding me with red.
I had gotten used to Daoudiate, where I dwelled in for 3 years, witnessing my housemates dissipating in memory from 6 to 5 to 4 to 3 to me being gone myself leaving Ain alone to dwell with the Berbers.
I had gotten used to being careful before making a turn with my bike to avoid a stray deflated football and young boys taunting me with ‘Shinwa’ chants.
The mosques were aplenty. I had gotten used to Mahjubah, Zakiah, and Khadija who would ask me where I’d dissapeared to if I haven’t been there for a while.
I had gotten used to my bicycle guards who smile and bow at me in the streak of dawn, greeting me with Sobahul Kheir each time I scurry off to class. They who would stop me in my tracks only to bring out a stray plastic to cover my bike saddle with as it had rained yesterday and wouldn’t want me to get hit by the cold. They who would wrap the handles of my bike with a black wool cellophone tape so that I wouldn’t be grasping my hand on the naked freezing metal.
I could only reply all of that with ALLAH yajziikumul kheir. And they would ask me to join them for lunch.
I had gotten used to the many khouya of hanuut I’d purchase groceries from. Or the khouya of jazzaroh I’d purchase meat from. Or the khouya of the souq I’d purchase vegetables and kilo har sudani from.
I’d gotten used to Douar El Koudia. A secret getaway I’d cycle and hike up to whenever I feel everything closing in on me. Up there, I could cry my eyes out and the women still offer me bread and warmth and a story or two.
She likes to sit right across her house, she says, during the evening. She can catch up on who is still alive and who is getting sick and who is slowly dying and who is playing and running around with whom. She offers supervision over my bike so I could climb and overlook Marrakech which she herself claims as zwein from up there, the clifftop of Douar El Koudia.
In the 20 Moroccans I’d meet in one day, 18 have never failed to put a smile on my face. If more than 2 have made me frown or feel so low, I would walk longer distances, meet more Moroccans, fair out the ratio again.
3 years and I had gotten used to much much things in Marrakech. I guess this is when the line is drawn.
Before I knew it, all has come to an end.
I have now left the familiar Moroccan sound, Moroccan soil, Moroccan smiles.
The beginning of this new reality is getting closer and closer to greet me. I am terrified. All hope I hang upon HIM.
To face this new norm. This new…Home 🙂