(To Sara with love )
It’s been a while since I last had a proper walk; more exactly, since I got to spend some quality time in the Old Medina of Fez. I have always been fascinated by this part of the city, and living in it always seemed like a distant but, nevertheless, a cherished dream of mine. And as some dreams pave their way into existence one way or another. I –all of the sudden- had the chance to spend as much time as I wanted in one of the Old Medina’s houses, thus, both living the dream and reviving memories from my early-childhood and high school days.
While living the dream, I had the urge to walk amidst the alleys of the old medina, buy some sweets and just watch craftsmen as they immerse into their work in their small shops. Amazing!! My sister was the victim this time; she had no intention or will to go out, but I ‘bullied’ her into going out with me. As we were walking by ‘Alqarawiyyin mosque,’ my sister shouted: “Here are some friends of yours!” pointing out to a group of women speaking to each other in their northern accent.
And that was it! My heart sunk into a heavy flow of emotions. My mind flew to Tangiers, my beloved city. Three years ago, Tangier, for me, was but a hazy picture, the personification of dizziness and disgust, an unpleasant reminder of an awfully hot summer day. Now, it makes a little piece of me, a stretch of my identity and an inherent part of me.
It’s really amazing how something comes to take a little piece of you or become part of you, how a friendly chat or gesture dwells in the heart. I remember walking in the streets of Cairo with my Algerian friend, and finally deciding to have dinner at a pizza place. I remember well that awkward funny moment we held the waiter in wait for about 3 minutes just trying to figure out how to ask him about the time the pizza would take to be ready, and me finally saying: “Kam mina lwaqt?/ how long” as if I discovered which plug to pull for a bomb not to explode. I also remember the waiter, smiling and looking at us in a friendly manner: “Does it really take this long to figure out how to say this?” However, he was not upset at all. He was very pleased to have people from Morocco and Algeria around, “Ahsan nass/ The best of people,” as everyone else in Egypt kept saying once they knew where we were from.
Yeah! Amazing as it is! These memories keep living, dwelling in the heart, bringing a smile to the face, and a warm feeling to the heart… sweet dear memories!