Blue = Chaouen
My brother doesn’t like to travel much. He’s too impatient, too bothered. He hates long car rides, even though he’s fast asleep during most of them. He doesn’t like going out for too long, it drains him; the endless possibilities, the traffic, going off-map, getting lost mid-nowhere, not knowing where he is, the foreign charm doesn’t taunt him, only taints him.
He hates change.
So do I.
We moved often growing up. Getting used to a place only to replace it. Never knowing what a home really is; Home is wherever we lay our heads at night. And I think that that is why now, he has grown attached to stable things, longing for things we never had.
He likes the comfort that familiarity provides, he likes certain things. He likes perfect things.
He hates change but copes so well with it.
Just like we always managed to learn the steps of our new house each time, the exact number of stairs in each staircase, the exact same way we find comfort and intimacy in our new bedrooms; we learn to become a part of each city we travel to, to the point where he would wander foreign towns for hours, taking turns with an outrageous decisiveness.
He is home, after all.
Wandering the streets of a foreign city you were told pieces of you belonged to. Our mother is a
We will always be strangers to this town. Always will stand out; our brown skin, wild curls, and grandiose features will always point us out; guests in our own home. Chaouen will always be too spectacular to be contained in the smallness of our palms. The quiet, the never-ending streets that always lead somewhere, plants growing everywhere, cats napping in the sun, old shops and old shopkeepers on plastic chairs dusting off their hand-crafts, mothers and daughters walking around in their white hayks « l3ayla shni t9i ? » – I’m taking a picture, khalti.
It is said that we inherit past memories from our beloved ones. And I find myself always surrounding myself in blues: Azure, Indigo, Cerulean, Cobalt, Periwinkle.
Blue has always been my favourite color. Blue was destined to be my favourite color. I have seen it in the eyes of my mother when her mother first told her about Chaouen.
My brother, for his part, must’ve inherited mind maps of old routes that lead to magnificent destinations; A backyard, filled with vines that still have to ripen yet he’s invited to pick some, to indulge in the sourness of raw fruits of untouched landscapes.
A staircase, decorated with orange pots. A stray cat reclaiming refuge on the doorsteps.
When we left Chaouen, we left some pieces of ourselves there. For it has given us, in exchange, a sense of foreign belonging and newfound memories.
« علموا أولادكم أن الأنثى وطن وان الوطن لا يخان »
An ode, to all women who are too spectacular to be contained in the smallness of palms, poems, hearts and souls.
An ode, to these women who can not help but carry home inside of them. They embody, and then later on become Home.
An ode, to women who are open skies, always listening to prayers, from sinners and what not. To angry skies who rain down mercy at their darkest, forgiveness we do not deserve.
An ode, to all spectacular women of sentimental hues.
An ode, to Blue.
A story about belonging, origins, and love,
A story, about Blue.
by Asmaa Chabiba.
Blue, blue, blue
home, after all
keepers and guardians of the blue city
a blur of grandiose