I don’t have sunglasses.
M’barek has several pairs of sunglasses–cheap ones, some mirrored and some black, maybe even an old pair of Blu-Blockers in the mix. He keeps at least one pair in every glove compartment of our vehicles, and extra pairs are strewn about, left resting on the dashboard, in the ledge of the speedometer, on the passenger seat.
So I’ve never really had to worry about it. I don’t like wearing sunglasses. The bridge of my nose is very small, so it’s hard to find a pair that fits well, looks okay (because we all have at least some level of vanity) and blocks the glare in the car. Elsewhere, I rarely find myself remarking how I wish I had my sunglasses. I am aware that this is likely to change.
So yesterday I got an email. Just a subject line, “Call me when you have time.” No body to the message. It was well into M’barek’s sleep time ten hours away, but I called just the same. Because when someone is a fifteen-hour flight from home and ten time zones off and they say anything, it holds more weight. It could be important. I tried calling, and got a recording of a cheerful woman saying something in Arabic, something akin to, “The person you are calling is unavailable…” Not what a semi-cranked, newly stay-at-home, mom of two kids who are off school today needs to hear mid-afternoon. I took a few deep breaths and emailed him back, letting him know I’d tried calling. He’s on a BlackBerry, so he’ll get my email as easily as any phone message. Which reminds me: I need to tell him to set up his stupid voicemail inbox.
So, what was so important that he wouldn’t call me when he knew I was at the Y, but he would leave a subject-line only message? Maybe not Dubai, he says.
And I’m like, what? I’m spending my days casting off our attachments to our life on this continent–furniture, automobiles, livestock, homemade pickles, warm clothes–and attempting to make arrangements to let go of the house. What does that mean, maybe not Dubai?
Maybe Abu Dhabi, he says.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE. I have come to think of it as Dubai’s slightly more stern sister. Less the party girl, more the aspiring art geek and bookworm. She’s a little more expensive, less expansive, and perhaps less obsessed with the superlative. Or perhaps just building her superlatives more deliberately. The Louvre is working on an extension there, and the Guggenheim. There is no ski hill, and the city is essentially an island. The embassies are there, and the shape of the city places the sea on three sides. It doesn’t have the same mass transit options, though as with the tall towers, plans are in the works. There has been talk of integrating public podcars. The houses are traditionally built with flat, accessible rooftops. In Morocco, our flat had this, and it made apartment life bearable–a private outdoor space where we could drink coffee and tea, hang laundry to dry, watch passersby and gaze at the stars (or the Hale-Bopp Comet…remember that?).
I can keep getting rid of stuff. I continue moving toward sale. But the other big decisions…school, housing, transportation, shipping, all have to wait. We are without a forwarding address, and considering that M’barek should expect to be relocating in perhaps just over a month, really he should get some idea about his destination. Our destination. Soon would be great.
So, while the team has important things to worry about this week, beginning with a biannual trade show, the biggest of its kind in the world, I have asked my husband to push for a decision to the extent that he can, and to remind the boss that his authorization is needed for us to continue the housing and school search. An address is needed to ship the pots and pans.
I supposed I can weigh the effects of departure versus arrival, and since I’m still in the leaving, it’s not the worst thing to have an incomplete destination. But my mind seems to want to know where I’m headed. I’m not disappointed to learn that I might end up in a different place. I haven’t developed any attachment to the one or the other. I don’t know what I might be missing. I’ve asked him to take what look around he can, if he gets the chance between now and Friday. I look forward to his return. He’ll bring photographs and video and piles of pamphlets and information and experience, and I will be able to spend days or weeks going through it all, examining photos for suggestions and hidden messages, reading superstitious meaning into phrases and looking for answers that are actually only ours to make.
And perhaps I will get myself a pair of sunglasses.