Today, the cold is kicking in on Tangier’s streets, numbing my extremities. I sleep on a mattress on the street. I may even freeze to death in the next couple of hours. I suffer from insomnia, but it’s not the sort rich people experience after losing a lucrative contract or some cash, when they get dumped by their chicks and decide to hang themselves. Be that as it may, I don’t really give a damn for the wealthy right now. They can either follow the right path or end up in hell—it is up to them.
Yesterday, the cold murdered my friend and brother on Al-Arabi Street. We had been sharing the same cot made of newspapers and cardboard boxes, and were covering ourselves with a blanket gone to rack and ruin. By no means was it fit to protect anyone from the terrible cold that sweeps Tanger’s streets. At night both society and state leave us to pave the streets with our bodies. What a grand display of generosity!
However, as soon as the sun comes out and starts to burn, casting its most coveted heat down on us, they fling our newspapers away and beat us until we are forced to get up and run for a place to hide. That is most definitely the advantage of belonging to this big nation! We are its ugly face and our presence seems to bother both tourists and those in charge. How long will we have to put up with this charade! During Ramadan, the exact same thing happens. The authorities patrol the streets in order to throw those who break the mandatory fasting in jail, but they are not interested in feeding those who starve during the rest of the year. Enough of this lack of concern and these double standards in politics!
I am a hobo and this might as well be the last night I spend on this earth. They say there is a life after death, but I wonder whether we are capable of ensuring that we have a life before we die. I, personally, do not get to enjoy a life every day. I waste mine scavenging for food in trash cans; my whole life is a shame. I didn’t choose this world though. No, I found myself in it—nameless and without any family. Well, that is not entirely true. I have a family whose origins date back to the beginning of time. All those who share the street with me are part of my family, my brothers and sisters.
“Perhaps this is you seeing pink elephants.”
I turn around the moment I hear the sentence, but it’s useless. The voice is coming from inside me. I suddenly stop feeling my heartbeat. Maybe I am already dead and there is no need for me to go on jabbering. You know very well how the rest of the story is going to go down: tomorrow some cop is going to find me and ask for a hearse. What a fine thing! It will be my first car ride. That is something to look forward to! Perchance tomorrow I will set off to a brand new beginning, a different life I am going to unwrap by climbing on a hearse. Tomorrow my afterlife begins. And I have no intention of returning, so take care.
Written by Ibrahim El Yaichi.