Five days in Morocco
By Simon Barget
I love my cousin and I love him so much, which is why that when he lets me down I want to kill him. I love him so much and he is so similar to me, and whenever I look at him, I suppose I’m reminded of the good parts of myself that I’d forgotten about and that’s what our relationships do, remind us how great and pure and unique we are, how much depth we hold, when we might have forgotten it. My cousin is like me but better, he can play music better than I can, and he’s just a tiny bit cooler. I look up to my cousin and I don’t even know I’m doing it. That’s got to be part of the frustration. That I’d forgotten I’d idolised him all along and then he turns round to me and says he just can’t be bothered, well it’s just fucking painful as well as all the rest of it.
This is the specific thing that happened. I’d been travelling and I wanted to travel and I had time to travel, to go wherever I wanted, to spend time in one place and then jet off to the other side of the world, and this time I was in Morocco and my cousin was there, he hadn’t started with me but he was there, he spent a lot of time there, and that’s not to say I was in Morocco because of him, it’s just that I ended up meeting him and this was quite a time since we’d last seen each other and we were older now, but my cousin is my cousin, he is that same complicated human being I have complicated relations with, conflicting feelings and the point is that when I’m with my cousin I don’t often realise how strong those feelings are. There is a bond.
I wanted to travel onwards, however nice Morocco is with all its souks and goods and teems of people with all its buzz and happenings, I told my cousin that I wanted to go on, I mean I was supposed to be in South America, but I said to him we could go to Mauritania, just somewhere, I did not want to stay in Morocco for so long when I knew I could be elsewhere, I knew I could go anywhere in the world and had so many place to visit and to bless, for them to bless me, but my cousin told me to wait around a few days and that he would come with me, yes to Mauritania, in fact yes to anywhere I wanted, and we could go off together in absolute freedom, no restrictions, all I needed to do was wait for him a while. I trusted my cousin.
My cousin lived in a room underneath the souk with a mattress at one end and just set up on the bare rock and the room was cool but it was also busy as it was not cut off from the souk as there were sellers in part of the room selling their stuff, and all my cousin did was sit on the bed and wait while everyone else buzzed around him, buying and selling, making their living, and there was a whole network of international students and expats and my cousin played no part in this either as he sat on his bed, cross-legged, waiting, doing nothing, and I got a taxi to one side of the town and met some of the girls and I saw how this place operated, but in the back of my mind I was waiting too, I was waiting for the day when we could be on our way, the days were ticking down, the clock was running, and I was wasting it and I was itching to be gone wherever the wind would take me.
And perhaps I was waiting for a sign, but the sign never came, and as I came back from one of my forays back into my cousin’s rock room, I thought this might be the time, and I said to him it was time to go now, now was the time, and without even a moment’s pause or anything he just said to me ‘no’, no he wasn’t coming, he couldn’t come after all and I looked at my cousin and I remembered all those times when we were young, all the times when he had just refused, got his own way, when he had just left me in the lurch, all those times I had let him do it, and though I’d become much more independent since, he was still doing it, just backing out, breaking promises, but it was the sheer laxness of it which irked, the impression that he had no idea what he was doing ever, the sheer headlessness of it, the impression I got of such weakness and lack of resolve, and the discomfort of his apology, and the way he looked away when he told me, the way I could see he was so disconnected from himself, from his surroundings, the way he had always been so oblivious and mute, and then my judgment at his laziness, the way some people are just so lazy and prefer sitting in their room and I had wasted five days in Morocco, five days I could have been elsewhere on my travels, five days I would never get back because of my cousin.