A sharp, bright ray of sun had escaped through the barricade of curtains I had arranged against the windows the night before. It cast an orange blush through my closed eyelids. As I tried to screw my eyes shut to snooze a little more, I was aware I was awake. And through the haze of the fading sleep, I heard a a muffled excited chatter in a language I did not understand.
I tip-toed to the immaculately rustic bathroom of our riad towards the source of the sound and threw open the small wooden window. I leaned out and found myself two floors over the narrow alley at the entrance. The stone paved alley gently sloped down and disappeared around a corner.
A soccer match was in full flow. I looked at my watch. It was not even 6:00 am. Ten-twelve children of seemingly all ages were sweating it out. Half of them wore shirts that were roughly in the red color spectrum, the other in green kicking. Apparently this was Morocco Vs. Spain soccer match. The constraint of the narrow alley was converted into a prop. A rebound against the wall was a norm, and I saw players plan such passes, accompanied by shrill instructions in Arabic. Nothing stopped the game. Not a cart passing through the alley or an old woman hobbling with a cane. Everything was okay and part of the game.
“Goaaall!” Obviously that word did not have an Arabic equivalent and I saw the underdogs rejoicing having sneaked one past the world champs.
The family was still using some sleep, so I hurriedly dressed and slipped out.