So it’s decided, I’m going to Algeria with Nassima. Another daring choice, a leap into the unknown. Going alone and spending a few days walking around Algiers was my first intention. But going with her, meeting her family and perhaps meeting Mohammed has a totally different symbolic and a much deeper meaning. Although I was full of confidence and certainty, I had the need to go see a therapist to prepare myself for this highly singular and emotional trip. I started seeing him in September 2016 and he helped me to look back, reflect and analyze my life’s journey since birth, explore some hidden feelings and “think against myself”. All this with one goal in mind: to be emotionally ready for the encounters that awaited me in Algeria.
With Nassima we quickly agreed on dates; I wanted a short stay and we decided to meet in Algiers from the 25th to the 30th of January 2017. We were in September 2016, so that left us enough time to prepare everything. She was calling me often during that period. The perspective of this trip had a very positive effect on her. It was during one of those phone calls that she announced me that she met a man. I was so happy with this news! Two months ago at our last meeting, she didn’t even want to think about it …And then a few weeks later it became a reality. I could feel from the tone of her voice that this romantic meet made her very happy. This gentleman name is Yacine, and they met at a dinner organized by mutual friends. Yacine lives since many years between Algiers and Paris. She gave me a laudatory description of the man: elegant, very polite, romantic and respectful. She, who was always unlucky with men seemed to have found in Yacine a man matching her expectations and values. She was seduced, but also restraint because of her painful past.
In October of that same year, she announced me that Yacine proposed to her …Things seemed to be moving fast! But she hadn’t answered him yet. She wanted to speak about me to Yacine first. For Nassima to say yes, it was vital in her mind that he accepts this past of a young woman abandoning her child. Because she never forgave herself for this decision, she feared this conversation with him and thought it would jeopardize their relationship. However, before proposing to Nassima, Yacine went to Algiers for his business and visited Nassima’s mother to ask her daughter’s hand. I found this old-fashioned manner so sweet and lovely. It said a lot about this man.
It was not until early December that she told him about me. Yacine was deeply moved and touched by this story. He cried, she told me. As she was telling me all of this, I had a thought of deep sympathy for this man I didn’t know but who was moved to tears by my story. During this conversation, Yacine told Nassima: “I am coming to Algeria with you. I have a lot of friends and connections in Algiers. I want to help Thomas to find Mohammed. “
Many weeks before that I asked Nassima how we could find Mohammed. She used to be in touch with him a long time ago, but they never talked about me. Since our first meeting in 2009 she had very little contact with him, and then nothing. She knew from some acquaintances that he was in the vicinity of Algiers but nothing specific. He was no longer answering her calls and messages. So finding Mohammed seemed to be complicated. The help offered by Yacine was truly a windfall.
Everything was perfectly falling into place : the excitement for that trip was growing in me, the sessions with my therapist were really fruitful and Yacine came into Nassima’s life at the right time. Obviously I quickly realized that by helping me to find Mohammed, he would make himself look good with Nassima who had not yet said yes to his marriage proposal. But I found his way of doing incredibly romantic.
I was ready to meet Algeria, the country of my ancestors. I was eager to walk the streets of Algiers, sit a the terrace of a café and talk with strangers. Feel the energy of the city. And above all, meet the family of Nassima; her mother, her sister, her brothers. Meeting Mohammed was almost impossible but it was worth a try. It wasn’t at all a priority, more like a bonus. Not a big deal if it doesn’t work.
The day of my departure was endless. Me who travels so often I never felt so excited! The moment I boarded on the plane I said to myself: “Time will fly quickly. So enjoy everything, every moment. This is the most important trip of your life.”
Nothing could happen to me, I was invincible.