The first day of Ramadan goes like this: I am not up more than 10 minutes and already I've broken the fast. Not that I had intended something other than that but somehow each year I think I will do if, I will fast this year. and each year I don't. Not one day in all 12 years I have been with L.
I broke it not by eating but by brushing my teeth- water or any liquid cannot enter your eyes, ears, nose or mouth from the time the sunrise is bright enough to allow you to see a thin thread clearly until the sunset prayer is called . We were in Spain this morning, so when I went down stairs to the hotel lobby fOr a coffee, the clerk kePt asking if I only wanted one coffee, one coffee?
And I drank it on the stairs going up to the room slowly.
It's not that I can't drink it in front of L, but it just isn't kind. It is his one addiction and perhaps first love: coffee. How can I I tease him like that? So I mostly finish it and then sneak the dregs into the bathroom where I sip the last drips while giving Z a shower and emerge with guilt and a clean little boy.
The day in Spain moves slowly toward our flight time. We sit in the park where S and Z defend their tower against all real and imagined foes, possibly named Boogybill or Grumpy Guy. We buy the kids crepes with Nutella from the sullen woman with heavy braids. L makes a last minute trip to the toy store. We shop for treats to take back to Algeria and dream of bringing back some of the pink, hyper-fresh skate we see in the market. All that and it three hours haven't passed.
But time does pass and we pass through the tunnel into the mostrocity that is the upside down world of Algeria this way: at the ticket counter the women insists that Air Algerie must see my return ticket to the US before it will allow me to fly back into Algeria. We explain to them that we have ETickets, that most airlines ONLY do ETickets, that even our tickets with them are ETickets. But we need to see your paper ticket for your return flight before we issue you a boarding pass.
Because what?? You are afraid I secretly plan to stay in Algeria and never return to The United States of America? Are you out of your mind, I ask the woman?
L quietly tells me to go sit down while he handles it.
I do, but it has ruined my day. I imagine that there is a customer service department in Air Algerie. I imagine that I might actually be able to speak to someone who understands how ludicrous this is and who would offer me a sincere apology and perhaps some frequent l
Flier miles. I am snickering as I read this. There is no such dept, no such apologies ever to come and definitely not frequent flyer miles from the only fucking company in the country. See? Ruined! My day was ruined.
But on we go.
L jumps through their hoops while I sit in the sidelines and scowl and off we go.
Which brings me to where I am now. Sig. The small town L was born, where the two brOthers he is closest to still live.
We came straight here from the airport, much to my dismay and the kids joy. They love it here. Where they run wild wth their cousins, doing Kung Fu moves with Omar, , watching Tom and Jerry cartoons with Fatima.
It's good for them to be here. At least I try to consol myself this way.
S is learning how to live as a Muslim from his older cousins. How to wash his mouth and ears, his nose, each three times with Omar gently correcting him. He eats with the kids in the kitchen at meals and I like this. Separate from me he's less likely to balk at foods that don't smell right to him or aren't cooked to blissful perfection. Instead, he'll race to finish his soup before Haleila, or eat more meat than any of the other kids.
In Sig, in this Ramadan that comes in the summer when sunset isn't until 8:19, the ice cream place won't open until after the last prayer and so it's 11:45 before my kids, Yeees, the 4 yr old, too! set off to buy La Creme.
I am left behind, of course. To shield my beauty from the world and protect the honor of the family.
But more on that another time.
Tomorrow I want to write about the food. Please pray I can so show sneak coffee in the morning. I have not ruled out sneaking in the kitten before anyone is up and snarfing the ground coffee dry. I would stoop that low, I'm afraid.