“Fiammetta…”, an awkward tap on my shoulder followed my name. All the juicy gossips and silly female rantings of my friends ceased to an abrupt silence. I turned around to see Rami, the genius in our school standing there with a bunch of his friends and some of his groupies- some of the girls in the school have assigned themselves as his dedicated entourage, following him around.
I secretly despised Rami, he was an A-student and he didn’t seem to try hard in school to get all the highest marks. He was too tall for his age and has an aura of a Sultan’s son from some mediterranean city. He was too fictional character to cruise in my real world settings. I believed he was too privileged to compete with the rest of the hoi polloi.
I secretly adored Rami, he was like just one of those characters from a romantic manga series. He was exciting and strange as that of manga, and demanded a specific way of approaching and reading him, he stood out a lot from the rest of the books on the shelves. And I happen to love reading manga.
“Hi” I waved at him, there was a question in my eyes though. With the same eye, I sent out an evil look at his groupies slush cheerleaders who were giggling uncontrollably. Rami ignored all the attention from his friends, entourages and my friends and approached me. I stood there frozen. He took out a tape that has a Maico Musika Bet seal tied with a pink ribbon on it and handed it to me. “ Will you listen to this? I made a mixtape for you.” He smiled that sheepish smile of his and left to join his astonished entourage.
Needless to say that I almost grew wings that day, spread them and flew high and fast to my house. Needless to add that I spent that day listening and re-listening to the songs he made specially for me. I didn’t feel guilty for ignoring my homework and spending the rest of the afternoon listening to it, for I knew he spent much more time on choosing the songs one by one and making the tape. I still remember the songs by heart. I still remember Rami from time to time and I still remember Maico Musika Bet and all the tapes, CDs and musics we used to get from that shop.
I was running to get to the subway when my phone buzzed, this annoyingly curious part of me couldn’t wait a little while to take a peek at the Sender ID, sure enough it was from him- the object of my addiction. Smiling I slide my metro-card just to see my train taking off right then. Now I have that deep scary frown on my face. But who am I to blame but myself for this incident? Certainly not him.
I threw my frustrated self at the nearest seat, checked the schedule of the next train and proceeded with checking the contents of the distracting message from that distracting someone. It was a playlist of some deep songs with deep lyrics. He sent me a link to the songs. How lazy of him, another part of me mocked his attempt at being romantic or thoughtful, I am not sure which one he was trying to aim and hit. If only Rami would teach him how to win a girl’s heart………
Back in the day, men actually took the effort when they tried to woo a woman, how many of you do you remember Maico Musika Bet or the other music shops in Asmara? How many of you did you make a mixtape or received one? I remember it very well because I used to get a lot of mixtape from my admirers in high school and college. I loved the thought and the effort mixtape demanded in their making. As such mixtape meant so much and carried deeper meanings of love and adoration. These days, it is just a beep in your phone and that lazy man you are seeing in person or via the web just sends you not the songs but the links to the list of the songs he wants you to hear in his futile attempt to express himself in borrowed lyrics from songs. I don’t usually know whether I should be flattered or dismayed so I just text back a ‘thank you’ emoji, a perfectly lazy response for a lazy form of mixtape or lazy romancing.