I have read some extraordinary accounts, both real and fiction, of one piece of bad luck after another and just when you think it can’t get worse, it does. Dave Eggers What Is the What comes to mind. Compared to stories like that, I can’t hold a candle.
But the surprise of “What next?” means I’m on the same kind of roll, even if the stakes are much lower and (for now), survivable. Now if I have too much self-pity, you are not interested, if I can manage a dash of humor, it’s better, but best of all is your sense of “Sure glad it’s you and not me.” And I’m happy to give you that pleasure.
So yesterday afternoon, a sense of normality teased me into thinking that restoration to good health was just around the corner. I was able to walk through this most beautiful city of Chefchaouen, to the Casbah in the morning and out to the waterfalls close to sunset. Ramadan gives a special meaning to sunset and as the rays descended over the mountain, the streets were alive with the happiness of a summer night. We walked to the waterfall, kids splashing in the little pools, groups gathering to gossip, wandered up a path looking over the city and the whole joy and romance of travel began to surface, being nobody in particular just witnessing the world at work and play.
From there to the same lovely restaurant as the night before and all the notes of dischord from the past 7 days began to line up in a harmonious music with their message, “For this you came.”
And that’s right about when I took a bite of a chicken pastry and lost my tooth. A crown, to be exact, right next my two upper front teeth so the gap will be in full view of the students I’ll be teaching in the next two weeks. Really? I mean, really?
Home to a hard night of coughing and hacking, waking myself and sometimes gasping for breath (scary) to get the necessary cough out. The next day dawned regardless of my ability to appreciate it, had a driver take us 3 hours down to a final train to Casablanca. I mostly slept and blessedly so. But arriving at the train station, the man motioned us to hurry, as the train was about to leave. We ran as directed to Track 2—and the train left. Without us. Following some advice, we returned to Track 1 to wait for the next. But a train came on Track 2 and sure enough, everyone was off and running again to the other side.
Karen led the way, I tried to follow, but tripped and hit the cement running. Came up with two skinned knees, a bloody face, concerned arms helping me up and Karen nowhere in sight. Ran down the length of the train yelling her name (thought she had boarded) and then she came from the far end of the train. Just as she noticed I was bleeding, her face looked alarmed and she said, “Where’s my backpack?”
So she ran back to the first track, me imagining a lost passport and such while the blood dripped down my face and my toothless grimace looked alarming and of course, coughing all the time. Is this fun yet?
She returned with her backpack (sigh of relief!) which they had already brought into the lost and found (Hooray for the honesty and concern of the Moroccans!) and we boarded the train that we thought was the right one. And surprise of all surprises, it was!
Made it to the airport hotel, got our key, entered the room only to find an open suitcase and a closet full of clothes. Whoops! That's never happened before. So went back down and got the room next door. Now just time for dinner and wake-up at 3 am. Aren't you glad you stayed home?