“Don’t leave. Just…Just don’t ever leave.”
These were the words of the wise man that I happened to be sharing a seat with on a ride back to Bali-Nyonga. He had just called my bluff when I claimed to like Cameroonian music. In response I laid down the phat lines of Jovi, my most beloved Cameroonian rap artists.
She wan chop bony fish? Put’em fa ma bill.
She wan chop buffalo? Put’em fa ma bill.
She want shock beer? Na, put’em fa ma bill.
Complete with hand gestures and a facial expression that could only be made more gangster with the addition of a grill, I felt I had done my part in proving that I, indeed, owned and listened to Roonies who rapped. The old mami in the back seat agreed, and proclaimed a round of ‘Won-dah-ful!’s in concordance.
But, alas, despite the requests that seem to be flowing in at a rate higher than normal these days, I will indeed leave and go back for ‘ma own side’, thousands of miles from this mami, or this man, who request my permanent residence. The end is not only in sight, it’s practically tangible. It’s beginning to seep into the way I think on a daily basis. With only one week left (and some change) in Bali, my calendar is beginning to get claustrophobically tight, and time alone with my thoughts is becoming a luxury I can no longer afford.
It seems the universe knows, too, that my time is a limited thing and has set out to make the interactions I have parodies of themselves. The market mamis are so market mami-y. I catch the morning calls prayer by the sheer luck of rolling over at 5:15am and hear the clip-clop of Fulani horses galloping their way to the mosque. My seamstress is the sassiest she’s ever been and insists that my father is the world’s tallest man, due to his extra-long ties she’s currently making. My landlord and his wife are determined to teach me Mungaka before I go (a feat that I doubt with come to fruition). The sunsets are more dazzling, the thunder is so loud is shakes me awake from my naps, and the shawarma is so tasty that I’m mournfully sure there will never be another like it all the way across that big, blue pond.
But, it is not yet the end. There is more delicious shawarma in sight, trips to go on, people to see, and things to do. Never one without an appetite, these last weeks are going to be inhaled like a favorite meal. I will indulge and devour. And as I settle into that plane seat in early November I’ll be satisfied and full and probably in desperate need of a nap.