Play it, Mabrouck. Play “As Time Goes By.”

by

Was it the excitement of the day or the memory of last time in Casablanca when I was partying with friends all nights long? I had my last official moonwalk in Casa, it was before the assassination of Mabrouck Rachedi by his coward ankle. Anyway, the result was I couldn’t sleep so I went to hang out at random. Casablanca by night is a strange mix of populations: beggars near businessmen, near bikers near young trendy people… That puzzle creates a weird atmosphere.

I  stopped at the first bar without knowing what I would do there. I didn’t realize that my clothes didn’t correspond to the standards of the place but I’m considered as a French tourist here, I could go everywhere with a short. I sat in the bar, asking for an orange juice.

The barman: You mean, orange vodka?

Me:  No, orange juice, the drink of real wild men.

He didn’t smile. The atmosphere was heavy, I couldn’t say why. Music too loud, nobody dancing, no sign of distraction. Was it a Halloween party where everybody was supposed to look absent? A woman came from my left, asking me in French if I would allow her to sit near me. I nodded.

–          Would you offer me a drink?

Smells like an escort girl spirit.

–          No but you can offer me another orange juice.

I was about to leave anyway, I just wanted to play my Humphrey Bogart. I was standing when the barman brought two drinks. I didn’t even see the woman ordering something!

–          What are you doing here? she said with a sad tone.

–          I’m walking around.

–          And for your living?

–          No need to earn money, women always offer me drinks.

Once again, my Bogey’s style.

–          I own several businesses…

The oral suspension points meant “you have to tell something guy”. A series of experiences of what we call socialization learn us these codes. Instead of speaking, I swallowed my drink.

–          I’m from Casablanca, she added as if I had asked her a question.

–          Really?

I guess it was the only possible sentence.

–          I know the city by heart, I’m becoming tired of all this stuff, you know. Too much stress, my life is a mess.

–          Uh?

I needed to  say something different that “really”.

–          I’m involved in trade business, you know, importation, exportation…

–          Great!

–          Not that great. I’m getting bored.

–          To change your daily life, you offer  drinks to foreigners?

–          A sort of.

Long silence.

–          I have to go now. I can offer you a drink, you know…

–          I don’t need a drink but don’t leave please.

–          A long day tomorrow.

–          Everyday lasts 24 hours. Unfortunately.

–          I may become old.

–          Or bored. You didn’t even ask my name.

–          What’s your name?

–          Naïma.

–          Nice to have met you Naïma but I really have to go now.

–          Ok, I let you my visiting card. In case you would like to tell me your name some day.

I took the card knowing I wouldn’t call her. In her eyes, I could see something between fatigue and sadness. Nothing to do with Casablanca but the disease of executives in these days of globalization. I didn’t feel smart when I left, I guessed I was rude. When I came back to the hotel, I took a photo looking like my mind at this exact moment:  fuzzy. A young beggar asked me for money and Earth kept on rotating.

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4 Responses to “Play it, Mabrouck. Play “As Time Goes By.””

  1. mabrouckrachedi Says:

    There should have a picture at the end but once again i have a problem. Sorry.

  2. kobi Says:

    I know very well how it feels to be surrounded by people and still be lonely. I hope Naïma is just a character of your imagination. But if she is real, I hope she finds happiness soon.

    At the same time, I’m a little relieved that the guy I met last year has shown me nothing but kindness. Granted, we didn’t meet in a bar…

    • mabrouckrachedi Says:

      I was so exhausted and the atmosphere was so strange… I’m going to telephone her to see her the bright side of Mabrouck Rachedi.

      • kobi Says:

        Wow, that’s a bold move. I’m a mixture of impressed and insecure about that decision.

        If the two of you find yourselves in deep, meaningful conversations, fall madly in love and run away together, you can thank me. On the flip side, if she turns out to be a scam artist and steals all your money, I apologize for steering you in the wrong direction, but there will be room here for you in the guest bedroom/home office, if you need it.

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