By Mohamed Zefzaf
By Mohamed Zefzaf
Tangier – Northern Morocco – of years long gone, of places now completely unrecognizable; across all that time-imaginary and real – there’s still one constant: friendship.
Having experienced the inevitable vagaries of a seemingly changing world, of immigration, of life, of family commitments and jobs, my two old friends and I are still held together by the mysterious bond of friendship.
This afternoon, I have a reunion of sort with Hamid and Mustafa-a rare and special occasion these days. We meet at Hamid’s picturesque home, with its magnificent views of the Strait of Gibraltar and the distant mountains of southern Spain.
The gathering is exceedingly pleasant, appreciated the more deeply when, from time to time, silence falls upon us. As is common between old friends, there’s no sense of awkwardness here; instead, only the present-time to be savored, and for long intervals, there’s no talk. In that quietude, we could hear the eternal sounds of nature as we heard them many years ago. Although, almost everything has changed, the sounds remain miraculously the same.
It is a sunny July day, under the bluest sky at the very edge of Morocco’s northern coast. We circle around an expertly prepared meal of chicken and olives, cut potatoes, Moroccan salad, peasant bread, and for dessert-melons and Barbary figs. All of this washed down by a wondrous sweet absinth-flavored tea.
There is a gentle eastern breeze, which carries with it the fragrance of the delicious food before us.
We while away the afternoon talking of religion, of politics, of current events, and gastronomy. We even have a very animated conversation about the obscure merits of the Barbary fig as a proper dessert. As our conversation meanders here and there, suddenly, we wonder how many times we shall meet like this. There’s a long pause…
This late in the day, the vast expanse of the Sea is golden, mirror-like, radiating under the enormous doom of an orange sky. It is a feast for the eyes-a perfect display of nature.
Since the past is gone and the future unknown, this little sketch is far from a lament about times lost, or even nostalgia. It is simply a celebration of the present.
The sun is sitting. In the nearby Anjera Mountains, a melodious evening call to prayer travels through the warm evening air. As native modesty obliges, the word friendship is never mentioned. More stemming absinth tea is poured. Another conversation begins…into the night.
Photos by Mohamed Zefzaf