Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Source?

I took a night walk tonight through my new neighborhood. I got lost. I love night walks, but my neighborhood is a confusing one to do them in. Lots of roundabouts.

I've done a lot of walking at night. I know it's not the smartest thing for a small, wussy girl to do on any sort of regular basis but I've rarely come into contact with sketchiness...and anyway, I have mace.

I was thinking about this question of safety, and how lucky I've been. How lucky I was to get out of Morocco safely, and how nice my holiday ended up being in spite of the circumstances. And then...then I got angry. I got so angry that I felt like I was going to burst. And I know, I know that this is going to come out like an attack, and I know there are people who will probably read this like it is an attack but in the months since I've returned, I've done nothing but try to calm everyone else down about and defend Amy's decision to leave me alone in Africa. And this blog, sad to say, is really my only outlet for this anger right now, so this is where this rant is going to go. I'm sorry.

First...what happened. The day that we left, Amy had a death in the extended family. The decision was made to follow through with the trip anyway. Pretty much from day one I could tell that she was having a hard time adjusting. Being very close to her family and having cell phone access to them every day, it was hard for her to focus on the trip. Not speaking any French and, well, a combination of other things made the trip "too overwhelming" for her and by Friday night she had her mother see what she could do to get her home using the death in the family to get her out of our non-refundable tickets. Despite my trying to talk her out of even sleep on it for one night...she made her decision and was gone the next day.

Now...nothing bad ever happened to me while I was alone there. Yes, the trip was much harder and more expensive by myself, but I was never hurt or even threatened...just inconvenienced here and there. But walking through my dark, cold neighborhood this evening I'm reminded of the night I arrived in Essouaria, 11pm, no place to stay, this guy Mohammad following me around and how I handled it. I was cautious, I tried to discourage him, but he was persistent, and in the end, he helped me find a good place to stay and it turned out ok.

However, I keep thinking how easily it could have gone the other way. As small as the town was, the streets were like a maze with little alleys going this way and that. It took a lot for me to follow this man down these streets, so late at night. But I'd traveled for 10 hours and I was so tired. I stayed behind him...far enough that I could turn a different way quickly, if I needed to. When he asked me to go for a drink I said thanks, but no thanks and left him in the lobby. I tried to be a smart solo traveler. But thinking back on this I get angry. If he had been a bad man...I would've been screwed, and I know this. And I'm angry that I was even put into this position.

The bottom line is this. Amy went home because she needed her family and decided her family needed her. To which I say, this is all well and good, but her family had EACH OTHER. They had each other to grieve with and comfort. And they had two weeks until they saw Amy again...two weeks. But there in Africa, I had no one. Amy was it. And she fucking left me there.

I don't know why this has hit me so hard many weeks after the fact. But I think about those days a lot. And I think about how my mother put down about what I make in a month to get me home a few days earlier for her peace of mind (as well as my other family and friends), and I think about how long I planned and saved up for that trip. And I think about what making commitment to someone means. And how little it meant to her. And, at the risk of severely repeating myself...I get angry.

I'll get over it eventually. Even with my dwelling nature. I don't want to end the friendship. But I defend my friend's actions to other people pretty much every day and none of them can understand what kind of a friend would do what she did. And quite frankly...neither can I, lately.

I'm sorry. This post was more for me than it was for an audience. Perhaps there'll be more levity tomorrow.

11 keep(s) me blogging:

Jill said...

I'm sure you'll hear this from everyone, but I think you have every reason to be mad as hell. The time for her to flake on you would have been before you left. It still would have been a sucky thing to do, but it wouldn't have left you alone in a third world contry.

The thought of you following that guy through dark alleys late at night scares the crap out of me and I don't even know you. I'm glad you made it home OK.

Maybe plan to go back to Morocco in 20 years with someone you can count on, if the whole continent hasn't been ruined for you. :)

Kara said...

jill - I really appreciate your comment, and am very touched by it. I will go back someday, if for no other reason than it's a fascinating country and there are parts that I barely began to touch. I have my eye on Kenya, that is, if I can find someone to go with :)

A chuisle said...

i'll go to kenya with you. and i won't leave you randomly. someone did that to me in london. granted, london isn't morocco, but still...alone in a strange place is a crazy thing to be.

so, kenya...whaddaya say, 2009?

Orhan Kahn said...

Certenly a heart felt post.

Laura said...

You know how I feel about this already but I'm glad you're coming to terms with how it's really affected you. I wish Ty and I could have gone with you. Stupid baby ruins everything. (Kidding, of course.) I'll go with you to Kenya if you can't find a travelmate. But only if I get to ride an elephant.

AxAtlas said...

Night walking is quite rad. I find it better than morning walking, mall walking, sleep walking, and moon walking...actually I can't compare it to sleep walking b/c I've never done it.

The Future said...

Actually you both rode an elephant at World Wildlife Safari, granted it was a "tame" elephant, what does it need to be a wild elephant? I've heard some awesome things about Kenya.

Good needed this release. Bottling stuff up isn't good for your insides. Just don't push your luck with your night walks in this country let alone others. I know, spoken like a mom.

Kara said...

macoosh - i'd say that you're on, but do you really have 2008 all booked up? I mean...2 years til my next vacation? That'll be hard to live through. You'd understand if you see where I work.

orhan - are you trying to tell me you miss football meat posts?

laura - you could've brought your baby and ridden with him on a scooter!

ax - apparently when I was little I sleptwalked into my parents bedroom. They woke up and told me to go to bed, which I turned around and did. Exciting, I know.

future - remember that time I slept walked into your bedroom?? It was the Aloha house.

A chuisle said...

i just figured we'd go somewhere else in 2008. 2009 seemed the perfect kenya year. mayhaps i was wrong..........

2008----kenya----be there or be square!

AxAtlas said...

Yep. Exciting. I've never sleptwalked.
Going back to one of your previous posts, maybe it was you who turned off the fan. So you were actually the Stealth Fan-Hating Ninja Midget.
Hmmm...By day you're a Goth Stormtrooper Midget. By night, a Stealth Fan-Hating Ninja Midget.

Jen said...

Ahhhh... Do you feel better? You must get angry, otherwise one day when you least expect it, like say at the alter about to be wed to Dr. Dreamboat, you suddenly come undone and small bits of Kara go flying all over the place, including me and my hot pink taffeta bridesmaid gown. That would kind of put a damper on things.