This is how we broke up……

Bethelhem Teame


I have a single word in my mind. Exoticism. That is probably the only consolation of being an immigrant, at least in interracial relationships. Let me ask you something, do you ask yourself why there are immigrants in mass numbers while each one of us were born to a nation and a land to belong to? Isn’t it funny how we are trying to settle down and make a home somewhere else because home became a thorn in our sides and we couldn’t sleep anymore in our homes?
He said he liked me because I am different. He didn’t specifically say in what way. You know the West and their emphasis on politically correctitude wordings. I swear it makes me laugh, every time I think about what it means to be ‘politically correct’. In my country’s dictionary-it means to be ‘hypocritically hypocrite . To think something else but to sugarcoat and use euphemism in delivering a message. I mean if you think it, then you are it, why lessen the blow you unleashed already? What does this say about us as human beings? They call me exotic but what they really want to say is – ‘ an African woman with slightly lighter skin and hair texture’- Kibelewa Zdeleyu Abagunbah kokah yibluwa- would say my grandmother if she would hear about this. I am taking a risk here and improvising my grandma’s saying using political correctness addressing the animals involved in the saying, something like this, ‘ the crow they want to eat, they would call it a turkey……’ 
So I am exotic. And to use the politically correct words I learned, he is a caucasian. He has blue eyes and blond hair like the actors I grew up watching in movies in my country. Like Robert Redford, Chris O’donnell, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Charlie Hunnam, or my favorite Hayden Christensen, oh and Josh Lucas……I said I am fascinated by him because he is white . This is not me being racist. But surely, it was before I learned how to always use politically correctness in my everyday conversation. Oh, it’s exhausting, I sometimes say what I really want to say in Tigrinya or Amharic while smiling, so they assume I said something pleasant. After all those exotic languages spoken by pretty exotic people like me seem sexy in the ears of others, even if you are cussing them out. This is probably another consolation of being an immigrant, you got to say whatever you want to say just accompanying it with a smile- the others will think you are complimenting them. 
Our love affair was brief. Apparently, it’s common here to breakup because of silly stuffs like I need some space, or I need to breathe so let’t take a break. As if you were dating an elephant who sucked in all the air in the atmosphere and used all the space in the room. I checked myself in the mirror of the elevator, as I picked up my stuff and walked away from the man with the blue eyes. I am no elephant. I am the opposite of an elephant. I am a hamster from the animal kingdom, he is the giraffe who domineered everything, what space was he talking about? But again he was being politically correct to spare my feelings. What he really wanted to say was he wants out. He tried dating an exotic woman, now he wants to try the other international cuisines in the menu selections. Because if the truth should be told, I didn’t occupy any of his space, I am relationship-claustrophobic myself, if there is such a thing. 
“Let’s talk….” he trailed in his sentence as he avoided my eyes. Scratching his head and looking down, he was trying to find his politically correct words. Again. I was already picking up some of my books and stuffs I brought over to his place. Fiammetta is cool. She never gets angry at such things and moreover my mum told me not to chase after a bus or a man, there would always be one after ten minutes. I took this advice to my heart and have lived by it. All the beeping messages on my phone are evidence of that, not to sound thrasonical or anything but Fiammetta is popular. He seemed to be troubled by my poise and calm response. He didn’t know that Habeshas don’t freak out in the presence of others. “ I know we got the dog together, so who gets the custody? I mean I would really love it if we can be adults about this and divide equally the days of the week between us…..What do you say?” He said this with uneasiness while trying to decipher why I was super calm about the breakup. Wait, I just got dumped right?It is sinking in now. 
“Excuse me?” I screamed without really meaning to. I was shocked. “Custody?” my eyes were real huge with horror and perplexmxent. This crazy guy is going to serve me with a custody paper and I am about to own a dog. Is he out of his damn mind? Wey gudey
He, however, interpreted my response as a fight over the sole custody of the dog. “I know we should have talked about it when we got him and clear this out; but I will have to fight you over this. I want to have him at least three days a week. You know what he means to me.” 
I wanted to throwback my head and laugh like I have never laughed before. “Am I being Punk’d?” I asked to myself inwardly. Is this really happening. Is this how you break up in America? You divide the days of the lives you got while you are together and set up a prenup of something before you sign your union certificates? Who gets into any sort of relationship with a clause ‘in case’? I miss dating Habesha men, they are horrible at dating and at showing their true feelings but their ways are so outdated that you can guess their next moves with closed eyes-no surprises like this at all.  
I smiled and decided to give him a heart-attack, just for the laughs. “ Nope I chose him, I saw him first although you brought the idea of getting a dog together first. My cousin is a very known lawyer, see you at court.” I started to the door – I am not even sure if you can go to a court over a pet’s custody in the United States.  He didn’t say a word. I look back at him when I reached at the door and he seemed to be rooted to the spot he occupied, Sporty on his lap – so much in comfort that Sporty didn’t even jump up and down on me they way he always does when I am heading out. Did I see his hands shaking? Only God knows….but who said exotic people can’t crack jokes once in a while? 
“Goodbye John Doe. Goodbye Sporty. Say goodbye to Uncle Sam for me” – that fool has even introduced me to his uncle. I closed the door and headed to the elevator. I texted John, “Just kidding. Sorry. Sporty is all yours. Take care.”
I heard the beep of his phone and there was such a rich happy exclamation of relief laced with loud laugh from John’s room. Sporty, too, was barking with excitement. Sporty has always sensed that I treated him as a pet which he is, not as my son. Sporty was a dog. John was a Caucasian. Fiammetta was a Habesha, or exotic to use the proper ‘politically correct’ words. 

2 thoughts on “This is how we broke up……”

  1. Waw bettye since when did you start using proper tigregna phrase?!!! I love it. Please show them how smart are habesha ppl.kkkk

  2. Dearest Rahel, I am trying to do that, in a world of copycats it is a fight to stay original and true to your identity. So I suppose Tigrinya just comes out when you are trying to maintain that originality within you. Thank you dear.

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