John Tekle must die

Continued from earlier…………

I hate anything sour, bitter and acidic. I don’t really delight in sweets either. But on any given day, I would gladly choose sweets over bitter, sour or the likes. I think this is the main reason I befriended John Tekle, because I know that rotten apples taste sweeter -it was mainly a question of my taste buds, nothing more or less. If I may say so, John Tekle is a pathetic excuse for a human being and needs to be avoided at all costs-not to be befriended under any circumstances- even if your taste buds can’t stand sour and bitter.

What amused me most was the fact that all the other girls agreed to discuss ‘John Tekle’ including any other issues of men in general out in the open. Have I gone mad or is this just insane? Since when do Habesha exes team up against a man, who obviously was playing dirty games and tricks? For me it was like watching a Habesha version of  the Hollywood movie “John Tucker must die” all over again, R-rated and unabridged. Only this time with a slight change in context here and there, and surely the last name is ‘Tekle’ not the famous ,’Tucker’, but regardless it is still a John.

“I want to know how John operates so that I and others can avoid being a victim of another Tekle or Tucker in the future.” She told me between her lunch bites, I had forgotten all about the time difference between the two states.

“Let it go. Forget and forgive. He isn’t worthy of your time and effort. Focus on your new boyfriend.”  I advised her. I was trying to sound cool and composed to the guy who was walking so close by and doing the worst attempt of eavesdropping.

She giggled and asked me if I have a company around. What I like about this girl is that she is so quick and witty. I have no idea how she would fall for a Tekle or a Tucker.

“We decided to be good friends. He is my friend. I have forgiven him but I can’t let him continue on his mission to play with others’ emotions. That is why I am making a fool of myself by trying to reach out to the others who are also involved with him and openly talking about the nature of our relationships with him.  I believe there is a healing, a cure and preventive methods in conversing.”  Her determination deserves a standing ovation but the little selfish me still thinks that forgetting him and moving on is the best remedy for this little situation. Let the other girls who would meet him in the future know him for who he truly is on their own without any sort of guidance from the exes. It is their lives, choices, preferences and matter of taste to be associated with such a person.  We should respect their choices and rights.

“Do you know why I hate breakup songs or songs that are sung to express one’s dying feeling over the other?” I asked her randomly. She giggled and said she doesn’t know the reason. “It is because it is a waste of time, effort and emotion. If you are over someone, then it is over. Why would anyone sing a song of breakup with ridiculous lyrics that goes like….’your smile,I am over it. Your touch, I am over it. I am over it…..bla bla’?”  She couldn’t help but laugh.

“You are one tough cookie, Fiammetta.” She was still laughing as she dropped me a compliment.

In her attempt to write the yellow directory, the new weirdo in my life, is trying to bring together all the women in this man’s life; both his friends, his lovers and a third section of  what he usually refers to as his ‘cousins’. According to her, Habesha men think that Habesha women don’t confide in friends or relatives or exes about their  affairs with a man thus giving the man the freedom to play his amateur Don Juan games while he strings along many women at once.  Habesha men are at liberty to do whatever they want because they know that Habesha exes lack the tradition of maintaining a civil relationship among themselves. One thing that intrigued me most when I came to the United States was the experience I had in sharing a table with two women who had a deep relationship with the same man. One was his high school sweetheart and the other his wife. I remember having an indigestion from the shock of the whole experience and the novelty of the norm of discussing a certain man and the nature of the relationship openly with other women who have had shared his life with him at one time in life. I have prided myself in being unconventional and yet I couldn’t comprehend this concept nor were I able to accept it.   It is still hard for me to picture Habesha exes sitting together and conversing the nature of their relationship openly with the other women in a certain man’s love life. Can you?

This girl, however,  wants to challenge this custom and  wants to talk about it openly and honestly.  Well, I really feel sorry for John Tekle for he seems to have a taste in weird and smart women, but can a woman be smart and actively dating at the same time?  I have lived in a foggy hypnosis till now, hypnotizing myself to believe that I am a smart woman. But sometimes I think that smart woman is just another oxymoron- they can’t both exist as an adjective and a noun together. I mean every woman ceases to be smart when she meets a man. It is like men feed on our smartness and as women, we,  can’t be smart and be in love at the same time. It is like we have to choose one. I have never seen a smart woman in love to this day, if anyone claims they have or they are, I suggest they be honest to themselves just for a split second’s moment and smell the coffee. In the end we all are fools when it comes to love, at least those section of us who blindly and blissfully believe that love is a blind, sarcastic dictator who plays dark jokes on its victims.  Once too many times I have heard love being referred to as a disease, often I have been asked what the symptoms of love are, I neglected to provide the persons with an answer for the fear that I might murder their already sick, weak and bedridden image of love in their heads. I should have advised them to get an antibiotic or vaccine shot against the pink fever of love. I have always assumed that if love is indeed a disease, its fever would be referred to as ‘a pink fever’.

Frankly speaking the stories she has gathered so far have shocked me a bit, apparently he seemed to be copy-pasting the same messages to all the women in his life, including those close and distant ‘cousins’ of his. And what he confided in me as a secret naturally was not a secret anymore, for he has told every other woman in his life the same stories swearing each and every one of us for secrecy  and making us feel somehow special. The story of the first ex was just mind-blowing and nothing like it was reported to me by him. Clever of him to omit some important details and incidents that eventually led to their breakup.

I got to give it to him though, he is really good. In fact very good that he made me want to recruit him into the 007 mission and make him the Habesha version of James Bond. But again I shouldn’t admire him that much for he was beat by the very girl he deceived.  Apparently, he was no match for her. He is playing the game she wants him to play, he is her puppet and she is his master. He is her guinea pig and she is the scientist. He is no longer the master of the game, just one of the players. I salute this girl. Another big check. It is about time John Tekle must die. So as I declined her offer to join the Exes Club, I threw my empty cup in the trash bin with one hand while I checked my beeping phone on the other hand. It was a message from John Tekle,  as I started to read it to her, her phone also buzzed carrying the same message, including the exact typo comma before a full stop at the end of his message.

We laughed a lot, but I know it didn’t reach our hearts. No woman easily comes into terms with betrayal, big or small, but we accepted it with grace this time. As we exchanged our byes for that moment we promised to continue the conversation when she gets off work.

Late in the evening, however shed a different light on my decision to join the girls in the conference call they had prepared. The last thing I want to do is waste my time on a sleazy creature like him, and after examining my heart I found out that I was never emotionally involved while talking to ‘Wedi Tekle’, I am not about to get involved now. I texted her back saying I am not one of his exes for I never was in relationship with him to begin with. We were just friends. I advised her to collect her data as soon as possible without wasting her precious time and effort on him and to rush on writing her book or manual. I reminded her that I would always be her cheerleader and number one fan at the front row of her book signing event when she publishes a manual that exposes the dirty tricks and works of the Habesha John Tekle and his American cousin John Tucker. I concluded my message with a promise to write an article about her, the others and the fateful get together concluding my message with emoji of a hug and kisses.

I sat down at my favorite bistro in Harlem that overlooks a metro station entrance and opened my laptop. I love the atmosphere, the vibe and the activities near the entrance. I could feel my hands shaking with excitement to jot down the strange things that has unfolded earlier,  for a moment there, I thought my whole body was shaking with excitement but it was only from the effect of the vibration of the number 2 or 3 trains that was passing by.

I knew what I wanted to name the article, so I typed the headline  with bold, Georgia font and eighteen font size.

“John Tekle must die…..”

Unfaithful Woman

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The shower water is ice cold,

But wouldn’t chill me even it’s a hundred fold.

It was senseless, merciless and restless,

Gushing down on me aimless.

I am still unfaithful woman after the shower.

No absolution for my impurity, when it’s over.

I am still his baby,

To the other, I’m his honey.

Warmed in one’s embrace,

In the other’s I sought solace.

Whispered the same thing twice.

To two ears unsuspecting malice.

I have no dagger in my hand,

Yet,three hearts are bleeding cold, dark blood.

Including mine.

Pretending it’s fine.

Is there a hyssop that cleans the soul?

That erases and forgo the foul?

It’s over

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 By Bethelhem Teame
 
“Darling.”  I could tell from his voice he was lifting something heavy. “Are we still on for the weekend?” I could picture him tilting his head to one side while he cradle the phone between his ear and his shoulder, both hands occupied, lifting something up. I smiled. I smiled at the picture in my head. I smiled at how I know him so well. I smiled at our foolishness, his and mine alike; when they diverge together and make up a big foolishness of its kind.  A perfect foolishness, pure and untainted by consciousness. 
 
“I am calling you about that boo, can you pick me up from the station if I reach Newark at 9pm?” I was trying to be at my best behavior, using my most sweet voice ever, to win favors in his eyes. I really didn’t want to take the bus or a taxi from the station so I am using my womanly tricks on him once again. 
 
“Sure babe. Can’t wait to see you.” He is breathing heavy from all the weight he must be carrying, I assumed. He whispered, “I miss you.” and then with a normal pitch, “Call me when you get to New Jersey and I will be there. I got to go now. Kisses.” He started shouting at someone else to be careful with the box and hanged up. 
 
I was still smiling. Smiling at how easy this has been, at how we have managed the distance between us and defied the concept of time to stay together, despite what is said by others around us. Smiling at how we understand each other and are always there for one another. Smiling at how his simple “ I miss you” sent down unfathomably sweet feelings down my back and raised butterflies in my tummy right now. Smiling at how conceited I have become and how brazen I am. I am smiling bitterly at my foolish attempt to ignore the fact that this is over and that I am muffling the voice inside. I am smiling crookedly at how he knew what I knew deep down but nevertheless is dragging it along for a while. I am smiling at how twisted we both are for trying to hold on to something that has been already done, dead, kaput….for a while now. 
 
It has been few weeks now, since the premonitions started to appear to me in the middle of the day and sometimes in the night. I was super busy or pretending to be busy to really sit down and go over the sinking feeling that I am experiencing deep down. What I hate the most is when I lie to myself and ignore the voice inside with loud music, continuous flirting, topics of love,passion and desire and the business of life. Lately, I have started even to mimic the actresses I see on the cinema by singing out loud in the shower while the water is running wild. Anything to silence the voice inside, to avoid the confrontation with myself and bare my soul. Anything. As long as I don’t have to face the truth that my soul knows deep down. 
 
It’s over. I know it very well. My body and mind, however, are in denial. Deep down, there is this disturbing sense that is telling me it is over and there is no going back, unless the world has coined a way to amass back the spilled milk without soiling or reducing it’s original state in the cup. That feeling that notifies you of the alarm sign, before the line on the other end of the phone is dead, before the last kiss is shared, before the door is closed behind and farewell is said, that stomach lurching feeling that shoots in your body and is felt from head to toe, while it spread to your whole system. I felt that feeling and I hid the pain with a coverup smile. 
 
He knows it too but is dragging it along for reasons I don’t know why. Is he, too, singing out loud in the shower to avoid what I am avoiding now? Maybe this is why he is throwing himself at work and denying the truth that is being revealed from his inside. 
 
I picked up the phone to book my ticket for the trip, “ Hello, can I buy a round ticket for…..(I paused briefly) ……Washington D.C.?”  I heard myself change the destination of my trip from New Jersey to DC. Finally. I stopped lying to myself and faced head on the truth we both are trying to avoid.  The good weather and the company of my friends would do me good. After all those people are the very people who have been telling me it won’t work, I need to toast a drink to their perfect foretelling and my premonition that I have been having for the past month, it was over, as it was told and seen before time.