There is a beach that runs alongside a beautiful corniche, popularly referred to as “Love Road”, in Muscat/Oman. Although it is one of the most beautiful destinations for relaxation and sun-tanning in the Middle East, Oman remains rather anonymous: hidden in a corner of the Arabian Gulf, she is protected securely there. When I walk her beaches, Muscat absorbs me and lends me the trademark of anonymity and safety that is so exceptionally her own. Facing her sea, I feel my heart (physically, literally) extend far beyond the horizon: stretching, stretching to a point of no return. I feel the thump-thump-thump of her heartbeat against my toes in the sand. For a moment, I know what it feels like to be boundless, infinite. For her, with her, I yield to the complete evaporation of my self.
Fast-forward a month later, and I am pacing through Crescent Street in Montreal, hopping between people, dodging the human traffic headed up from St. Catherine’s. I hold myself securely within my heavy coat, locking my right hand against my left shoulder, comforting myself through the hustle-bustle, the noise pollution, the madness. Suddenly, a stillness comes over me. I smell the Gulf of Oman, I hear her. I stop against a corner of the street, rest my back against the walls of a creperie, and I tell myself: “Evaporate”. Although Montreal forces me to entirely condense myself, I start to fight her. I touch the wall, let myself feel the thump-thump-thump of people sinking their teeth into nutella drizzled over bananas and strawberries, rolled in cinnamon-sugar, wrapped in the thin skin of a warm crepe. I notice, for the first time that evening, the light rain falling against my face. I stop shielding myself from it; let each drop fall and cool down my warm cheeks. A man who is zooming through the crowd pauses and locks eyes with me. He smiles, and slows down, but keeps walking. A smile, just for me, in Montreal! I am, once again, infinite.