Shuffling dead leaves and crushing cigarette butts with their high heels, all wrapped up in their thick black clothes, the hookers are pensive tonight. Clients are few and far between. Turning tricks is getting more and more demanding. Every other day someone offers to pay in meal vouchers instead of cash. Since winter is coming, men hardly ever shower anymore. Why stick around? Why not move to Barbados? It’s not like the country cannot do without them. No one is irreplaceable. If the situation becomes desperate, there’s always the option to import.
Checking up on the hookers every night I go running gives me comfort. Just like hearing the church bells ring every Sunday morning. Or the muezzin performing the adhan when I’m in Turkey. It gives me something I can rely on. No matter how crazy life gets, no matter what happens to me or to the world, the hookers are always there every night, opposite the church, the church bells ring every Sunday morning and the muezzin performs the adhan five times a day from the minaret. Rituals. It’s one of the first things I learnt when I started working in Waldorf education – children need rituals; they give them a feeling of safety, something they can relate to, structure.
And all this time, up there, the moon is quietly filling up again, just like it does every month. Life can get as crazy as it wants, heart can be broken, hopes crashed, dreams postponed, days filled with work, week after week can pass with light speed, wrinkles can deepen, hair can whiten, earthquakes can shake, lies can be told, illusions can be created and destroyed, love can be fallen into and out of and so on.
So, as I’m heading back home, sweaty and tired, I’m counting my rituals: the hookers opposite the church every night I go jogging, the church bells on Sunday morning, he muezzin’s call to prayer five times a day (no matter how far I am from it), the moon filling up and becoming new again. Oh, and jogging itself. But that’s more personal, it depends on me, so it doesn’t feel safe enough. More about that another time. So go on, life, bring it on. I’m good. Ready for anything.
PS Photos taken last night, as I was riding my bike on my way home.