Open Hearts


Marseille - Street art (Le Panier)

“So – Philippe is nice, isn’t he?” Sativa smiles in agreement, 

“Yes, very nice.”

“Very handsome too!”

Sativa’s laughter spent,

“Yes, very handsome.” she finally affirms.

Lydie, her best friend since moving to Marseille, was always looking toward the next adventure, just waiting for them to pioneer.

Nearly a year since they met, when fear reached its peak – a father’s temper intolerable past present torture.

John’s days of cruelty about to end as mother and daughter designed their escape.

Monique framed a plan with her faith at stake. 

Sativa could learn the language for she was young and smart, the perfect age to start afresh.

Marseille witness to their rebirth, presided at sorrow’s wake.

Oppression fled, iron from nape unshackled, an ocean between suffering and hope crossed on the way to freedom.

Sativa’s worries unfounded as she was welcomed with compassion into their new home. Language unknown, universal smiles that knew the price paid by mother and daughter for liberation.

Sativa aspired to decode the words around her; a flow of sounds on a syllabic rope, meaning revealed with time’s evolution.

Born in Alberta, Sativa knew little of Marseille’s language, save what she had learned in class.

An enclave of verb tenses and phrases which gave first glimpse into her adopted discourse.

Now escaped from tyranny’s cage, learning another instrument of communication as she and her mother find refuge from persecution –

The fusion of two cultures, a synchronous union of custom and expression.

At her first réveillon de Noël, Sativa celebrated a tradition recounted by her mom but never observed.

Their hosts ever gracious, hearts opened in a deluge of warmth and kindness, offering bisous· to everyone…

Only six months ago, Sativa muses in surprise, seeming so long ago. On her way now to la Fête du Panier with Lydie, Philippe and Xavier –

Lydie’s copain·. His eyes mirroring her own in cheer. Neither alone for long, preferring the company of their peers.

As they disembark, Sativa steps onto a street filled with music.

Understanding most of the lyrics, she pieces together the rest.

Dancing with her friends, Sativa fetes the open hearts of Marseille, finally able to choose her path, secured by love. Free from yesterday’s fears.

Street Art Dance

© 2015 Brenda Baker

·bisous: kisses

·copain: boyfriend

Footage from La Fete du Panier 2010

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