I walked into wilderness looking for myself, far away from those who would recognise me. I hoped to lose my history and to begin with all I sought for was a quality of cleansing. There was no one left to miss, and no connections to be maintained so here among the harsh Moroccan landscape, where only the heat of the sun offered difficulties, I felt the noise fall away and reached out to the stillness. Across the scrubland I saw goats grazing on what looked like rock and desert: there was no chatter here, no gossip or mindless curiosities, survival food and shelter were the sole worries of the day and I had left the town with enough supplies for a week, determined to live in solitude as best I could. Trouble had become my closest companion and I needed some time away from it.
Before I left the town I had gone into a café for one last coffee. Sitting alone at my table, looking around me, I saw a girl of European extraction sitting on her own, highly unusual in itself, and with her face leaning against the glass of the window by her seat. Her eyes were looking in an unfocussed way across the square. As she sat there, half slumped against the pane, I saw a tear leave her eye and move slowly down her cheek, followed by another. There was no sobbing, or any movement to articulate her misery but just the tears.
At last, becoming conscious of my gaze, she turned her head to look at me: her eyes were entirely non-committal. You know how it is when you are off balance: your approaches, your interactions, are clumsy at best but moved by a need to connect, by curiosity and compassion; I walked over to her and said. “Do you have a name?” and she said “No” in a tone which implied, “Not for you.” At least I had the sense to walk away: I realised I was in no fit state to offer a helping hand. Perhaps my journey would bring me composure.
When I return, if she were there, we might begin a conversation; an idea I already knew was based on fantasy. I realised all I should have done was offer her a tissue. No conversation was required. Out here, in this wilderness, with nothing but grazing animals around me, I touched an acceptance of myself and my life, and with it, the birth of an understanding for a lady who asked for nothing but her privacy. My mind is owned by ghosts, fragmented conversations and impersonal uncertainties. I have reached my impasse but still I hope she finds a pathway out of hers.