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…..”

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Get me a mixtape from Maico Music Shop

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“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.

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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.

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?

Darkness, She Wrote

By: Bethelhem Teame

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Is there any other color darker than the black? If indeed there were, she would be the only person eligible to don one.

Head to toe. In black.

Head to toe. In whatever color darker than the black.

Head to toe.

There is no consolation word, no single verse in the all the languages of the world, no solace to comfort the woman who has fought the dark in the darkest hours of the dark times. Nothing can appease her wounded heart. She might have survived the fight with the dark, but she has met and beheld the dark, in all its magnificence and splendor  that now she has internalized darkness and wears only black. I am not sure whether she lives in darkness or darkness lives in her; the line where it ends and she begins has become blur.

She can’t undo what has been done, denying the reality just makes the incident a giant hole inside her heart and mind. A very giant, dark hole. The connection has already been established, saw him flash its darkest smile followed by its dark chuckles that roared in the middle of that dark night. Now she is the only one who recognizes the face of the dark, the real darkness in its truest form, without its mask, without its façade the rest of the world has identified. Only this woman is entitled to wear the black for she truly has seen the real face of the dark.

The woman in the black, cast away her white gown after her encounter with the  dark.  She has chosen to don black after her fight with the dark that soiled the whiteness of her existence and left her scarred. She earned it, the black attire given to her by the dark.  It is hers, she didn’t borrow it as the rest of the world does. It’s a token of his twisted dark love.

When the dark descends again to conquer and ravage, she makes sure, he recognizes her and their night in the dark. The woman in the dark has a question she wants to ask the darkness that swallowed and keep swallowing her friends one by one, one dark day after another dark night.

A confrontation with the dark and the woman in black. A reminder of what has happened that dark night. When dark and darkness befell on the woman now in black and her friends who visit her every night in the dark, whispering to her in the darkest language from beyond the coldest floor of the ocean, the darkest grave of the daunting desert lands, where darkness has them imprisoned and shackled for indefinite time. Their helpless and agonizing cries and shrieking from that dark night replaying in her ears, in the dark attacked by the dark.

The woman in the dark wakes up screaming in the night, surrounded by the dark. She sits by the dark corner in the middle of the night and relives that dark night, when she met darkness and faced the dark.She closes her eyes and everything goes dark. She opens her eyes and sees the dark. She dreams but there also meets the dark.

That dark night when darkness took all of hers and left darkness in her embrace. That’s when the dark started to reside in her, slowly steeping into her true red blood. When they were abandoned, when the world turned a blind eye, a deaf ear, wherever they turn to was pitch dark.  Dark sky. Dark earth. Dark situation. Dark life that made them choose the dark road towards the stairs to the chambers of the darkness and the truly dark. When fear hovered over the dark night, taking his cue, come the dark covered in the shawl of darkness and owned the night with a splendor of a dark knight. Showed no mercy, claimed souls and spilled blood.

Its eyes were glowing in the dark night, the messenger of the darkness that stood before its pack, the darkness in the form of a beast of the night.   It’s teeth and claws were sharp. The fight was over before it began.

When the messenger of darkness growled in the middle of the dark night, ululating victory to the dark, when their helpless cries were muffled by his dark sound, when his claws attacked and his teeth bore into the flesh and spilled blood, darkness favored the sacrificed blood from his dark altar.

His prey were calling each other’s name and God’s. They were calling names of parents and siblings in a desperate attempt to stay alive. In the middle of the deserted land, in the heart of the vast ocean, where darkness rules and commands, their cries of agony and pain, anger and desperation were replaced with groans of anguish at their dark fate that fed them to the hunger of the merciless dark.

The dark came and took what was abandoned, persecuted and oppressed. The dark showed no mercy but demanded blood. The dark cut into their flesh and chewed the bones that have grown cold on the ground. The dark danced on the blood pool of her friends as she lay there injured, blacking in and out of the dark reality that surrounded her dark story and theirs. She could hear her friends agony and anguish, as their bones were being crushed, their blood gushing, life slipping slowly from their bodies, as darkness plucked the roses it found without a gardner or fence in the middle of the dark night.

Darkness couldn’t see clearly in the dark. How else can be explained her existence and survival? Drank from the blood of her friends and a sip of hers, he forgot to collect her soul? In the middle of the darkness that is darker than the dark, laid the woman in the black, closing her eyes for the dark life and fate, in her attempt to erase the face of darkness she has outlined with the faint movements of her broken fingers that were crushed by the dark, when darkness fought her in the dark.

But darkness left her behind in the dark, not because darkness can’t see in the dark as my foolish assumption but because darkness planted a dark seed in the womb of the woman in black. The seed grew inside her and occupied her from inside out. The reminder of her night with the darkness in the dark.

Photography by: 1.Reuters, http://tablet.todayonline.com/world/europe/more-bodies-pulled-wrecked-migrant-boat-italy

                                2.Ahmed Abu-Deraa, For The Times- http://www.latimes.com/world/africa/la-fg-sinai-stolen-lives-20130502-dto-htmlstory.html