Last breakfast – for now. I wake up late and instead of joining Jai and Madison at their private residence for what will no doubt be a delicious breakfast I venture into Jardin Majorelle’s café. As I pick my way through the botanical paradise of rare cacti, yuccas and water lilies, not for the first time this trip have I felt overpowered by my surroundings. I was simply not prepared for the overwhelming contrasts of the African landscape, and on the train ride from Tangier to Marrakech as I watched the ocean and cliffs melt into deserts and palm forests I fell in love with the magic of Morocco. I have the privilege of being born and raised in the most magnificent country. With this privilege came an arrogance, and little did I know that I would have to travel 5,000 miles to have it knocked out of me.
The café is an oasis amidst the sauna that the rest of the city becomes between 10 am and 5pm; a bijou courtyard enveloped in ribbons of starched cotton and white bougainvillea. Discreet sprays gently shower the diners with a cool mist and in just a few minutes I was relaxed and ready for breakfast. The omelette is stuffed with a creamy local goat’s cheese and is served with some khobz (a crusty, semolina Moroccan bread), an aubergine relish and roughly chopped salad. Everything is delicious and enchanting, even the ordinary orange tree ripe with juicy globes of golden fruit.
I am on holiday with Madison, Jai and Donna. We grew up in four different cities, are of different ages and at four different stages of our lives. We are as regular as extraordinary and as different as we are the same. I have not spent as much holiday with anyone else as I have with these three beautiful people. The confident American has a sense of humour and will not go out of her way to misunderstand what I am saying. The gay couple are loving and lovely. They gave me the space when I needed it, and forced me to spend the evening with them when I needed it more. I don’t have to wear mascara to breakfast or worry about how silly I sound when I giggle. Like all good girls we talk about love and sex as often as we please and the words relationship, commitment and forever are not taboo. We can plan our next holiday without the fear of scaring someone off. No question is too personal and no ego too fragile. It has never been easier to get along with a man (two men, actually).
Not for the first time Jai asked me, “Are you sure your dream man isn’t a gay man?” I have to say, I’m beginning to wonder…