Saturday, 6 September 2008

MULTIPLY Creative Challenge #18: Cool Breeze

This story is based on a visit I once made with my husband to Marrakesh, Morocco. The photos are all from this visit. I just let my imagination run wild and this is the result.

Market Place Jemaa-El-Fna

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She sat in her room looking over the noisy market place and longing for a cool breeze to take the tension out of the air. Every nerve in her body was tingling with impatience. If it was only finished, if only the moment had passed and everything was settled. She did not choose to live in this place but she had no choice. Women in her country had no choice. “Sold to the highest bidder” she thought with resentment. Her choice was Ali, and she was his. They grew up together, played together. When they were younger she never felt the climate as being stifling, without air. She could breathe and with her Ali breathed. They were one heart and one soul until that fateful day when she became a woman.

Her father and mother were pleased to have another daughter off their hands. She was hoping that she would be promised to Ali, but no. Her parents found the son of a shop owner in the local bazaar was not good enough and they sold meat.

Market scene in the souks

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People that sold meat were not worthy of their daughter. She was promised to a carpet dealer. She begged, she cried, Ali asked for the hand of their daughter, but to no avail. The marriage promise had been made and she was to marry Ahmed. He was rich, had already a wife and three sons, but it was time to take a younger wife who might even bear him more sons. Her parents were happy to have made such a good match for her daughter and Ahmad did not ask for very much. Just two camels and some gold, which was the price she was worth. Ali would not have asked for so much. His parents were happy when their son was happy.

And here she was at the window counting the minutes. An hour had passed, she could go. She bundled her few possessions up in a cloth and walked carefully down the stairs until she reached the living quarters. Ahmad was silent on some carpets on the floor. She stepped over him being careful not to touch him and slipped out of the door. The noise from the market got louder and she thought “does this town never sleep”. A continuous music rhythm threaded through the walls of the tourist restaurants accompanied by the beat of the drum to which the dancing girls were moving.

Marrocan dancers.jpg

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The call of the market criers was to be heard on every corner. She walked past the water sellers, the dentists operating on the street, onwards through the narrow alleys paved with wood, the smell of sweat, meat and peppermint in the air from the leather workers. They needed the peppermint to neutralise the smell of tanning the leather. She thought that her own fate was mild in comparison to the children that were forced to work on the leather, tanning hides and laying them out to dry in the sun to keep the Europeans content to wear their cheap leather garments.

Menara Gardens

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Slowly the noise from the souks disappeared in the distance; she was now on the open road passing the water reservoir supplying the water for the town. Her steps hastened, she no longer had very far to go. Just another five minutes and she would be there. A cool breeze now cut through the still air, at last she could relax. As she turned the corner she saw him. Ali was waiting as promised with his bicycle. She sat behind him and they rode away into the distance to the village where Ali and his family lived, where they would stay for the night.

Photo taken early in the morning

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She had no fear that she was being followed. The drug she had slipped into her husband’s tea at the evening meal was something for ever. He would no longer awake and would only be discovered the next day when she and Ali were on a ship moving towards the European coast

Outside Marrakesh

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Creative Challenge #18

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