The Bittersweet

On the morning I woke to the two awful messages from last summer’s situation, Jesús (my landlord for my first week in this city), had made me freshly squeezed orange juice with a squeeze of fresh lemon, as is tradition here. He was unaware of what I had found on my phone.

Because of my distress, I misplaced and couldn’t find my glasses. For near two hours, I couldn’t find them in an extremely tidy and minimally decorated space that is approximately 600 square feet. When he came up with the juice, he asked if he could help me find them and he did. In under 5 minutes. I started crying because I don’t like being blind. Also, maybe because of the emotional distress of that morning; as the saying goes in Arabic, 2albi kaan ma3mi. Directly translated, it means my heart was blind. Quite certain that had you hung the glasses in front of my eyes, by my own hair, I wouldn’t have been able to see them.

When I needed a friendly face, a kind and gentle face, while missing my mom’s, I would go to Pepita’s shop and hang out pretending I needed to buy something. I never needed anything, but always purchased random things as excuse to see her gentle face. Maria, her best friend who also hung out there on the daily, was all smiles all the time. I think she knew why I lurked.

When I went back to Paris-Plage after a few days’ absence, Isabelle greeted me with a tight hug and asked how I was doing and if anything new had transpired since we last spoke, which was the same day that I couldn’t find my glasses.

Amuleta, the server at La Machina (my breakfast place), practiced her French with me and told me all about Francois, her friend in Canada (whom she wondered if I knew). When she saw me yesterday walking down the street, she waved an excited hello as though we were old friends.

Familiarity. Though for some it can breed ennui, for me it is a peaceful place for rest after so much upheaval.

Málaga, because it was my first alone-home since last summer. Because it gave me legs again, I will forever link it to my healing heart. Leaving here tomorrow is already bittersweet; though I am excited to meet a new city, I am sad to say goodbye to this one, which so quickly became such a safe space for your girl.

I do hope that when I return, which I absolutely will, it will be on new ground and with a full heart no longer in need of soft hands to help it from moment to the next.

Today, I am grateful for:
1. The past four months. Today is exactly the four month anniversary of my leaving Ottawa. I was so terrified of people, that I could barely let go of momma to board the airplane.
2. The next eight months. Time really does fly, doesn’t it? A year it will be in another two blinks of these eyes.
3. Every day that my mother remains safe while in Gaza. She was supposed to leave on Tuesday but they revoked her exit permit because of the Hamas rocket. Tomorrow, March 30, we anticipate a lot of violence in the Occupied Territories. Please hold her (and every single one) in your prayers. Thank you.

Málaga | March 29, 2019

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