At least I still retain the charm of choosing the right word. We are so zonked. We’re not tired or drained, weary or fatigued. It’s an ascent.
Success has been defined for us by the worldly. Success, we were told, is the only solid actuality, the winning and achieving of wealth and the due regard of fame.
When I was editing The Prospect Review literary magazine, Richard Burgin was invited to submit a short story. He could’ve submitted a grocery list. But he gave us a story called “Private Fame,” the thinly veiled fictionalization of Leonard Bernstein and his failed tryst with his assistant―of whom he was cripplingly jealous.
Is success the correct or desired result of an attempt? Bernstein had public fame and emptiness. His assistant had nothing but private fame―the love of family and friends to buoy him through this life.
We all dream of success, but what really matters is the ascent, and I have private fame with you on this journey. And those two things, your love and this journey together, are what matter most.
And we are zonked.
We are a little bit hungry, lying in bed, enjoying the stillness. I want to write but I don’t want to get out of bed either. I write down our mess―my mess―that we may marvel in what is the same about us, wonder about what is different and continue to embrace one another anyway, without condition.
I’m not going to write. I’m going to lie beside you until you fall asleep. I’ll get up to put together our favorite foods. When you do wake up, you can just reach over to the little side table and start eating. The tabbouleh and fattouche can stay out for a while.
I’m zonked. I barely spoke a word of English all day. It just worked out that way―a day of French and Spanish and new people and Cafe Clock. It was a long trek back to l’Hivernage and our place on the fourth floor. The last time we made love it was out on the balcony. But we’ve been exploring this city.
We made a couple of mistakes. That’s why we decided to walk home. We got in a cab and forgot to ask the price first and ended up paying 40 Dirham for the ride. Pissed me the fuck off. Combien pour de lift pour Djemaa El Fna?
We were visiting Djemma El Fna, the ancient heart of Marrakech, which has become one of our haunts.
We’ve made friends there with locals and fellow nomads. We have watched the street performers, the dancers, and the musicians. I even thought it would be fun to do some busking. I’ve heard you sing. I like your voice.
You just smile and keep moving, your beautiful eyes behind your camera’s viewfinder. Never mind the guitar, Mr. Dylan, you said, Just get a falafel. And you snapped a shot of a snake charmer.
I really didn’t know they expected you to pay them for taking their picture! But you’re a natural diplomat. You’re such a strong woman, but you’re also sensitive and clever as hell, so many things all at once.
You handled the snake charmer, well, dare I say it?―like a snake charmer and you had him dancing to the music of your tact and thoughtfulness.
I have looked at you a million times and asked, Who are you? Not because I don’t know, but because you always amaze. And you lie there in the linen, soft and sweet like a child, more beautiful than even the right words could express, and I fall in love with you, again and again. My heart mending while you breathe softly in your sleep.