The not-so-soft screech of horns blared through the open windows carrying sunshine on its sound waves. I rolled over to find myself facing the bejeweled wall of an otherwise unassuming room. Then I remembered I had flown into Marrakesh last night.
I got up and stepped into the blinding sunshine.
In typical American fashion all 5’6” (168cm) of me ducked under the billowing fabric of the bazaar to avoid the swirling springtime sand and the wails of street life. The colors consumed me, leading through a maze of sight, sound, and smell. Each sense tickling mine with its unfamiliarity. As I strolled, my lazy footsteps contrasted with the spice drifting through the air. To everyone else though, this seemed to cue an acceleration of pace before the sun ascended fully to its omniscient position. All that needed to be done behind drawn curtains needed to be done now.
To me, this all meant nothing. I continued along.
As I rounded a corner onto the hot, white stones of a wealthy street, I noticed heavy tendrils trailing down the back of a bench. To my surprise, they were attached to the nodding head of a man – A man whose eyes sparkled in defiance of the pulsing heat of the morning sun reflecting in his tea.
“How,” I wondered, “could one look so at ease under this punishing atmosphere?” I had to know.
“Bonjour,” he said politely without taking his eyes off the sun-bleached stones. I replied, “Bonjooor,” in my heavily accented French and sat down across from him.
It was quiet. It was almost as if I had stepped into a steamy bubble of silence; ready to burst yet unwilling to let go. I ordered a cup of tea and sat. Occasionally the man would mutter something in French to which I would listen, disappointment at my inability to comprehend.
Every once in awhile he would look up and smile.
I sat there for a long time waiting for something to happen. Then all at once, as if compelled by the rising sun, the man set his cup down lopsided, stood up, and set off with a nod of his head. I finished the dregs of my tea and stood up myself.
I felt cooler than when I had sat down and ordered my tea.
And I left knowing no more than when I had arrived on that bench, but feeling as if the sun lit my path rather than blinded my progress.