By Karima Wakrim
Morocco World News
Agadir, Morocco, April 13, 2013
“So I’ll finally do this the hard way” I said to my best friend Amina on the porch of her house.
“You cannot be serious Laila! Come on!” she replayed back.
“I’m doing it, it is my last choice.” I firmly said.
“Why being so pessimistic? Do you even realize the danger you’re putting yourself into” Amina said, with a sad, pathetic look in her face that made my decision even stronger.
“Yes I do realize the danger” I said, and I went thinking of how many choices we make in life, and how challenging those choices can be. For instances, I have chosen willingly to measure in French literature after getting my baccalaureate degree five years ago. I have strived with all the money I have saved working in the summer. I have spent every tiny penny of my poor mother’s savings on books and Xeroxed papers.
I bore the burden of it all by myself because that was my own choice. I could have just chosen to get married and start a life like my fellow classmates did the exact same summer the graduated, or I could have settled for a sloppy job on a book shop or stay at home suing some pieces of cloths or say, the very common thing; sit at home and do all the shores till my mother comes from her exhausting day cleaning other people’s homes. No, I was much more like my father, he used to say “sweetheart never settle for less as long as you can breathe “. He passed away when I was seven but his words still strike a shore every time I think about myself in this country, with a university degree, unemployed.
“I am going Amina,” I said looking straight into her eyes. I knew she wouldn’t understand my motives, my desires and my own situation. Of course she’s got the life everybody wants. She’s the mayor’s daughter and will soon enough take off to Canada to peruse her master studies. She’s got everything; perfect family, a grand house, money and name. I, on the contrary, have nothing. I live with my mother in a tiny little room with other people in the same house. Our room is for sleeping, eating, and sitting and has actually multiple functions. We share the bathroom with the rest of the people renting the rooms next door. My mother’s lousy job can barley pay rent so we basically are subsisting for the rest of the days. So how can Amina really understand my decision?
“What about Ahmed? Have you thought about him? You know he’s in love with you” Amina attempts one more time to find a possible thing that can attach me to this place.
“Love isn’t always enough, Amina!”
“But he’s gonna marry you” she said in denial.
I have already pictured Ahmed after marriage, what he’s going to turn into. I cannot marry him for I would spend the rest of my life with him in guilt that I haven’t attempted to set myself free, to challenge myself. I would blame him for my failure. I would make his life a living hell because I would be living with the idea that I haven’t finished what I strove to fulfil. I would have deprived him from happiness because I knew I wouldn’t be happy.
“I don’t wanna die in a kitchen Amina, wiping a cup of glass or folding a piece of cloths. That is not the life I pictured for myself.” I said as a bitter tear escaped from my eyes. I immediately wiped it away with my palm and looked sideway at Amina.
“Anyways, I just want to say goodbye.” I uttered.
Amina was crying and hugging me, but I didn’t feel the urge to weep or shout or even make it feel like it matters that I’ll leave this land.
“Morocco hasn’t given its best to us I guess. I’m glad we’re both leaving, except that you’ll do it legally whereas I’ve chosen the other way.” I said trying to laugh. Amina smiled back, but her smile was pale and broken. She looked at me as if we’re strangers from different world; as if all our years spent together from elementary school to the present day meant nothing that moment.
“Shill out Amina! Everything’s gonna be alright” i said as her tears fell down her face.
“I hope so Laila, I really hope so” she murmured as I walked away from her porch. I turned back towards her one more time and waved goodbye.
It was half past five, and I was already dressed up in my father’s leather jacket and my own black pants. My mother was still at work so I left her a note that I’ll be back soon. I took a last look at the room and closed the door shut. I hated that room; I have always resent the sight of it. It reminds me of the stinking poverty and lost dreams; my own dreams of having a real job with a steady income and a life in peace with my mother.
I walked away, thinking of all the memories I’ll have to let go of, mainly the love of my life Ahmed. I haven’t told him I was going, but I told him how much I loved him and how much I would love to spend my life with him if it wasn’t for some dreams of mine I have to chase. He said I sounded different but I haven’t said anything about emigrating. I only told him how much I loved him.
As I got closer to Tangier’s large shore I can see a boat that looked minuscule from a distance. I’ve seen the man with whom I made the deal with two weeks ago. He said we must all meet at 7pm when darkness consumes the lights of the city far away. I gave him half the money that day and promised I would bring him the other half when I sell my mother’s necklace. He agreed and said “I don’t always do that with my clients but you’re a nice lady and you seem to really want this” and he rested his hand on my shoulder and looked straight into my eyes, his were dark and bloody and telling the story of years of despair of dangerous wishes and unfinished lives. I wasn’t scared. “I want it, and I want it badly” I said staring right back at his eyes.
I have heard a whistle from afar, and I run towards him with the purse and the money in it. “Here’s your money” I said. But he was very busy counting the men on the boast. “Get in, just get in” he shouted at me. “Police might be here any minutes! Get the hell in”.
Terrified by the noises of the other men, I got in the boat and squeezed my legs together. I had nothing but a bag that contains nothing significant inside, so I throw it down, placed it next to my feet. There were twenty of us, all men and I was the only girl. They were all eying me with disguise. I returned the look. I really didn’t think that they will scare me. I’m in a much scarier situation. I am in the middle of the sea, in complete evading darkness, sitting noiseless and almost breathless.
I was about to think about the land I just set myself free from, the land I rooted my feet off. I was about to think of the danger Amina talked about and the life Ahmed pictured for us. I was really about to think of my mother’s coming from work and the note…all of a sudden I heard nothing of the noises inside my head, I was thrown by some force, away from the boast and down somewhere in that darkness.
Deeper darkness than that night, I felt salty water pouring into my mouth and I felt a force pulling me up and down, up and down. Just like my dreams about drowning, I could feel the dimness and the harshness of the water. I could count down the possibilities of going deeper than what that sea really is.
I strove back for life, and many times did I try to reach for something to grab on to, not a magical piece of wood or anything but actually the note I wrote to my mother, the words I have said to Amina or the promises I made to Ahmed…nothing saved me from the force grabbing me down. I remembered I let go of all those people, I let go of the promises. Then why strive for a save? Why not bearing the burden of the latest choice I have made?
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