In her light

Casablanca’s light house

When I left for France over 20 years ago, I would cry from homesickness in the rare minutes my mother and I could afford over the phone. The pain in the gut is something perhaps only immigrants feel. A longing for the original order, a wish that I had never wished for this. No one is told these things.

The pain eventually became quietable, ignorable. Her letters no longer described how she broke down crying in the classroom or how she misses our long walk to buy bread for dinner. She stopped hearing me: your country is the country where you can eat bread, she declared one day.

That day, I officially became mother-land-less. The inequation took on a French pseudo-identity, I ditched my North African accent, and she started calling me Asna, a la francaise. We resigned to the distance between them and me.

My bread was now French and my people stopped claiming me back. My mother’s simple view would soon clash with the geo-political country, the economic country, and the systemic country. I tried to make home in a few more places, Germany, Singapore, now Canada. Vancouver became a collage of the places within me, the ocean from Morocco, the mountains from the French Alps, the Asians from Singapore and the Nordic from Germany.

Still not home.

I begged places—corporations, temples, churches—and people—my partner, friends, pretend friends—for it.

I still don’t know where.

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