ON OUR WAY TO THE HIGHEST ROOFTOP WHERE THE TEA TASTES SALTY
It takes having a lot of bad sex with Tangier before it will give you a gentle kiss: friendly requests for evenings out are brusquely turned down, she refuses to French, and she doesn’t hold hands. The first contact is gruff, rude, fierce, over in a flash. Then she asks for money, rejects you, fearing closer contact. A normal relationship is out of the question, there is no such thing here. Academics in European capitals tend to come up with a philosophical concept for this kind of thing. Playing with her feet leads to eczema, seeking the beloved’s residence in the old medina only to furtive glances. People shroud themselves in anonymity. The beloved looks at you as if she has no idea who you are. She demands money for what she offers, but withholds her love. What you feared would happen, happens: incomprehension and confusion transform the rendezvous into an embarrassing encounter that can hardly be called an encounter. She quickly moves on, ashamed of having been seen. Suddenly, you feel that this brief, intense meeting has been contaminated with fear of the many, of all those who might know about it. The lovemaking is insignificant; it never happened. You’re at the mercy of your anonymous face.
Then, one day, when you’ve long given up hope, she walks right past you, surprising you by bestowing a meaningful glance upon you. Nothing needs to be explained as she takes you to the highest rooftop in the city, where the tea tastes salty and the view evokes the sublime in you. Your feelings of guilt melt away. You look at her; she likes being looked at by you. The view of the city merges with the landscape of her eyebrows.