After 30 minutes of walking from the snug and air-conditioned compound I am at the sea, at the place where the expanse of the Atlantic is interrupted by Mediterranean blue. This place once meant the meeting of an old life with a new one, where my heart began to break.
There is something about the sea, a single entity which at the same time touches the shores of my own country and, impossibly, those of the tamazirt that gave me so much. Walking here I passed a royal residence, women in wheelchairs, political graffiti: all I could think of was how much I have been given.
Pale blue walls, sturdy green tables, plastic chairs. And old man with kind eyes offers to sell me peanuts and I quickly refuse, responding instinctually from a place of very American suspicion. I am swiftly ashamed of my abruptness and apologize, paying a few dirhams for a handful of freshly roasted peanuts. With great care the man folds them into a makeshift paper tray and places my camera on its edge, protecting it from the wind. My heart hurts.
A furtive cat, a barking dog, a call to prayer. The waiter asks what I want as the wind tips an empty chair back and forth on the uneven stone; the metal tables are unmoved. All around me are signs that bend but do not break: the wind is rubbing up against the trees and seagulls ferry across the currents of the sky, over a serpentine seaside highway where the waves crash endlessly against the rocks. One day the waves will overcome this place, but by then it cannot matter any longer.
The waiter carries tea in a cast-iron sort of brace. He praises my Arabic and I demur. Today was a good day. There is a forest of mint in my glass.