Oh Togo, how do I describe thee?
Dilapidated euro-chic… your perfect highway asymmetrically flanked by crumbling colonial memories and football-speckled beaches. But the ghosts of France live beyond their traditional restraints. I can see them escaping in the breath of ubiquitous smokers. They feed me baguettes sold on street corners, sweet yogurt for breakfast, and perfectly palatable “pommes frites”. I hear them in the broken French that leaves my tongue devoid of grammar but full of longing, in the French that calls to me to buy, to eat, to play.
You make me feel at home… when the hotel staff smothers us with love and rose-scented bathrooms; when the opposing defenseman goes easy on the last rush to let me score and “feel happy”; when a trip to the museum becomes a Lebanese tea party.
You make my heart beat… as my foot grips the sand to sprint for the ball, towards the powerful ocean sparkling in awe of the sunset; in the art gallery that convinces me materialism through art can never be a vice; when my face burns at the street bar as I notice the sudden audience and applause for my dancing.
You cloud my judgement… in the smoky interior of your sweaty and raw nightlife where even the mirror on the dance floor can’t remind some girls of their modesty; when I am tearing down your empty highway at midnight on the back of a motorcycle, with speed that endangers but also ensconces me from the anarchy on your shadowed streets. But what is life if not a moral obstacle course, and what’s a good time without a few obstacles?
I submit then; it is fitting that I cannot capture our weekend of freedom.