I thought I was tired, but then my thoughts kicked in.
11:45, turn out the light, close my eyes and try to fall asleep.
Hear cars driving past on the rain-soaked street not so far from my window and door, some of them louder and faster than is probably appropriate for so late at night, on such a rainy night. Think about how I could walk outside my door right now and immediately be on a church’s lawn. And imagine the children who might randomly run around that lawn, the sides of my house, my room, my window.
But this isn’t the Gambia. Children don’t run around so willy-nilly here. In the Gambia, children would literally climb our compound walls, hang onto the gate and call out our names, wanting us to come out and play with them. But here, children aren’t supposed to run after people they don’t know so well, they aren’t supposed to go knocking on doors and running around yards of people they don’t know, except on those designated holidays that make it okay.
And oh, the compound. What I realize tonight I truly miss. When my bedroom was on the ground floor but I still found comfort in those compound walls, never having the thoughts I have tonight about people poking about just outside my window. Knowing that if I heard someone outside my window, it was only Sainabou or Haddy or Mohammed, or perhaps a family member or good friend of theirs, never a stranger. And when my home was situated off of a main road, a street cars didn’t too often drive down, and even if they did it was so rocky and sandy that they had to drive at a turtle’s pace.
It’s not even that people have even been around that church lawn, near my window and encroaching on personal space (and funny, because personal space was something I had so much less of in the Gambia, yet I didn’t really mind that it was always invaded), but it’s a thought that still crosses my mind.