Running late. I have been invited to my new friend’s house for the home cooked rice after a prayer. I can still make it if I can remember which way to go.
Streets look less busy. Everyone is coming back from Friday prayer here in Fez. I cannot remember which way to go. Some of the stalls are not open. Do I make a turn next to the bread lady or the gentleman selling carpets? Is he even here? Yes. I’ve found it.
‘Hello, my friend. My cousin was waiting, but he left. Where did you go?’
‘I am so sorry. Maybe next time. Please send him my apologies’ I feel so bad.
‘It’s OK. Meet my friend’ he points to a gentleman wearing a blue turban. I love that colour and texture of the fabric. I smile. We shake hands.
‘This is my shop. Would you like to drink mint tea with me? Sugar?’ he asks. I say ‘yes’ to everything, still feeling guilty for missing a home cooked meal.
He asks where I am from. We start with a small talk. He takes one of the jars and puts a tiny drop next to my nose.
‘You look like a musk lady’ he says standing close to my face.
‘This is so funny. I bought this last night from your cousin. Why musk? How did you know?’
‘You look too strong to be just a flower’.
I smile. He is clearly very good at his craft.
We sit next to each other. He tells about his studies in Germany and his ex-girlfriend he was casually in love with and how happy he is to be back in Morocco. You see, life in Germany is too much. People don’t know how to relax, they forget to enjoy life. He keeps staring at my mouth. I must be paranoid. We start talking about love.
‘Romeo and Juliet’s story is like Hitler. Too radical. Love is about freedom. Sex is like water for the flower’ he says and pushes his chair closer to me. I can feel myself leaning slightly backwards. I take a sip of mint tea.
He tells about the Berber massage he gives. He asks if I want to come back at 7 PM. A special appointment just for me.