Warm mediterranean sun. Endless glasses of mint tea. Strong cigarettes. A thousand lazy afternoons, strung together like pearls. The cliffs painted orange by sunset.
"But don't you miss America?"
"To tell you the truth, I can hardly remember it."
A man could get old like this. They say things are very different back home now. I haven't been keeping up. The newspapers I get mention only local football scores (football once meant something very different), and the fishermen's prospects for the season. There was a Canadian backpacker in town a few months ago, and I had her over for dinner, but I kept the conversation light. She mentioned something about the border being militarized now, razorwire and snipers. I changed the subject.
I had a family, back in The States. I suppose you could say I still do. I try not to think about it. It's all a past life. I didn't even tell them, you know. Just headed out to the airport one day, with the forged papers I'd been saving up for, and left. She thought I was spending all the money on another woman. Maybe she would have preferred that.
All a past life. Seventeen years now. Can you believe that? Seventeen years. A lot of people here forget I'm not a local now. At first when children asked their parents why I never went to the mosque, they said it was because I was a foreigner. Now they say it's because I'm an eccentric. Maybe my kids have families of their own now. It's better not to think about it.
Do I get lonely? Not really, I have people over pretty often, and they all know me in town. Every month or two, I go into the city, and have dinner with some other expatriates, ones that helped me get set up when I got here. But that can get a little tense sometimes. Maybe we've all got too much on our minds.
All in all, though, this is a good life, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.