Miasma of relief

From the moment this afternoon when Rasheed and his miasma of relief fell into the other chair at my table in the café where I finally found WiFi to call him and make up our missed connection, I could feel how he doesn’t need me in the way I’ve been thinking he did. He’s back with Caleb, writing lots, looking fabulous. Now I’m not his symbiotic rescue friend, merely a White woman who disembarks from the ferry from Spain and wanders the wrong way and needs his help getting acclimated to Africa.

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a micro culture of tissue sales

Earlier today Tarifa was the most beautiful, most photographable place I’d been so far, but tonight already the Tangier medina has surpassed it. I know it’s wrong to not take one zillion pictures of spices in sacks, but what will I do with them?

I observe a micro culture of tissue sales here, the evidently comparatively impoverished peddling little pocket packs in the flowing urban foot traffic.

My Visa isn’t working at either of the automated teller machines I tried, neither the one recommended by our hotelier, around the corner, nor at a sketchier exchange bureau that was going to charge me a ten percent commission.

On our walk back from dinner in the kasbah I saw a tourist ask one of the tissue-sellers, cross-legged on the street, for directions and wished a little too late I’d given the latter a five dirham coin for her troubles and to model better visitor eco-behavior for the former, but I had neither the thought nor the currency.

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my last twenty euro notes

This morning I surrendered my last twenty euro note to the Western Union employee in exchange for 214 dirham so I could buy breakfast. For only 28 dirham I have gotten, holy moly, two eggs sunny side-up, bread, olives, some kind of spreadable white cheese, a boisson chaud of choice, which the waiter turned from an espresso to a café au lait tableside, here on the sidewalk, and this fabulous Moroccan orange juice. This augurs well for how well — how much better — I’ll eat while here, and also I have to be very careful until I sort out the apparent unusability of my debit card. And even when I find some way to retrieve tangible tender from my electronic accounts again, I must remember that I don’t have as much money as I think I have, because there are still my illegal subletters back in Brooklyn’s deposits to protect.

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with a man is different

I feel an uptick in anxiety over pretty much all the pararomantic connections I’m cultivating with various “men” “in” my “life” right now.

Certainly it’s because my chronic loneliness is now compounded by an understanding that to be in Morocco without a man is a different — at the least, more reputedly sinister, and perhaps empirically worse — proposition that to be here with one.

Walking around the Medina with Rasheed last night was so easy — even as the truth is he has no particular use for my body, we present as a man who belongs here and a woman who belongs to him — but what will it be like when I am alone and straying farther from the established path? Is my operating belief that I am enough to withstand whatever this will be?

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pathogens left by a stranger’s mouth on the lip of the mug

The man in a suit breakfasting a few tables down from me on the sidewalk just got up to get something from his car, and a man in a dirty shirt stopped to take a big swig of the café au lait left unattended.

This is someone for whom the 28 dirham prix fixe on a petit déjeuner – such a glorious steal to me – is prohibitively steep, for whom the antimicrobial fetishist horror of pathogens left by a stranger’s mouth on the lip of the cup that I am steeped in and rely on as an anti-half-drunk coffee theft device in the overdeveloped world is a non-consideration in exchange for its rarefied, steaming, bracing contents.

The first man started to yell at the second one, and the second one looked back at the first and picked up the glass to take another big, slow swallow, just about emptying it, and then set it down and sauntered away.

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