I was hanging out with Fatou and Fatou at Le Bar Jean-Jacques yesterday afternoon. The aunt creates yummy meals for the family (occasionally including a random Canadian). The niece runs the bar, serving drinks with aplomb.
I was curious about who was who within the Jean-Jacques family, and Aunt Fatou did her best across the span of two languages to fill me in. So many grandparents, daughters, sons and little ones. I wanted to learn but soon I was lost. That’s okay.
The older woman left at one point to work on dinner for the clan. Niece Fatou and I sat together under the mango tree, the only folks there. We got talking, me with my stuttering French. Fatou is a young woman … and a gentle soul. There were gaps in our speaking because we were comfy with each other (plus holes in my knowledge of words).
Fatou wanted to know about the meeting I was going to in San Francisco. I told her that I’m a member of a group that intends to bring more love into the world. She smiled and replied in words I didn’t understand. I spoke of “les yeux”, about how our work revolved around a gentle meeting of the eyes. Fatou was so with me. She got it, and there was a merging of our hearts. We sat together for much time. Often there were no words. And all doing paused.
This morning I awoke in the dark and reached over to turn on my watch’s light. The digital screen wavered back and forth … I couldn’t read the time. I switched on the little lamp beside me. The ceiling was roaming around. Someone really should slow it down.
Oh my. This afternoon, I will start a travel adventure that will join four countries. After probably a five-hour drive to Dakar, it’ll be a six-hour flight to Brussels. Then an hour or two to London, England. The pièce de résistance will carry me over an ocean and a continent to San Francisco … a tidy fourteen hours. I tried to imagine how my spinning head would handle all that.
I got up and had a last breakfast at Mariama Counda. The omelet in front of me looked inedible. I had a coffee and contemplated my dubious future. Some song was playing in the dining area. A French chanteuse soared in her language, and the melody came from the past. What was it?
It was The Rose! I smiled. The lyrics would come to me later … but I knew I was home – at breakfast, on the road, in the air, even in San Francisco.
All is well
Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love, it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower
And you, its only seed
It’s the heart, afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It’s the dream, afraid of waking
That never takes the chance
It’s the one who won’t be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul, afraid of dying
That never learns to live
When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies a seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose