Saturday, February 2, 2008


I keep calling it “Imam Rue Laiti” by accident.

The man on the corner confronted me today. I was standing with Safia, chatting about the weather and drinking the juice she made for me. He came in like a wave of bad fever, jittery and missing pieces. Disjointed like his extremities were dangling from little strings. I felt sorry for him and then he started talking and I felt sorry for the situation we were in. Safia buried her head in her face and they muttered awkwardly placed niceties to each other, to allay the hostility, or to place it more directly where it belonged. I caught some phrases- “talk to the woman,” “across the street,” and some more- the bits but not the guts.

Yesterday he warned me that if I continue to dine at H&M&M&M, I am dead to him. So I’m dead to him. But he has since proved that though I may be dead, he will continue to poke and prod with interest and disgust and resentment and anger and mild obsession.
Safia reluctantly advised me to start taking the alternate route home. I looked back and forth between my usual route and the Socco with a pout. “Not today, not today,” she insisted. “But later.”

There are two alleyways and one set of steps leading from "ex-fish street" to Rue Imam Laiti. Of course I could start taking the alternate route, but it would mean missing Safia, the perfectly hardboiled egg shop, H&M&M&M, the shady glue sniffer and his daily wranglings, and the cat gang, when I stop home, every couple of hours. But I am an American girl at heart, whatever that means, and I won’t be stepped on. Whatever that means.

It is horrible to know that someone hates you. It is worse to know that the person that hates you has stopped taking his medication.
He has so many stories to tell and I still want to hear them.

No comments: