Locks

by

My mind keeps replaying the image of the cabana owner’s shack. It was a quiet and peaceful room, set back a ways from the water and the waves of tourists that would come, stay for awhile, and be on their way. Past the stark white tables and chairs where we sat watching the breeze ruffle the edges of his grass roof was his bed, nestled in the corner as if staking its claim over the shanty hut and all those who found refuge there. That was when I understood the difference between he and I. This man slept in his shop like a guard dog, keeping watch over his livelihood. All day I seemed to ask myself the question, “what do I have that is worth guarding?”

 Here in Morocco I leave shirts behind for convenience sake, because I know that there is more where they came from. I think of my families storage unit and the things in it that belong to me and I can’t remember a single one of them. Spain was surprisingly similar. Each time my host parents left the house, they padlocked their bedroom door. Where did their value lie? I wondered. My mind wandered to the stories I’d heard of the Jews who still return to their homelands holding high the keys of homes past, the only remnant of what once was theirs.

 The experiential memories of Spain and Morocco are extremely different than those of the West. In the West, where there has been dramatically less trauma, there exists a collective memory of safety. Many communities don’t feel a need to lock their doors at night and leave them wide open during the day. It is because of our memories, we do not sleep in the windows of our shops or lock the rooms within rooms of our homes upon exit. It is because of our collective memories that I grew up in a home without an alarm system where doors remained open throughout the evening. I wish this type of lock were universal; A lock that mustn’t have to keep its job to avoid risking damage.

 Locks: guarded, broken, breached, some carelessly abandoned, but locks, just the same.

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