It’s not your Christmas kind of story; nothing to smile about. The wedding day was arranged for a couple of weeks after the coming lent fast. Already preparations were moving full speed as it was decided to throw a fully traditional wedding with everything as traditional as best. So nothing could be more natural than smiles were all over the place, until a phone call one fateful night. A friend the would-be bride sounding like she just run out an entire battalion of creatures from another world almost barks.
“Hey! Since when did you start calling at this time of the night.”
“How is your boyfriend?” What! What kind of a question is that? From, “Say hello to your man for me;” to “How is your boyfriend!” that’s quite a leap.
“First of all he’s not my boyfriend but my future husband. Secondly, your question isn’t right, your voice isn’t right. Is anything wrong?”
“I asked you a question…”
“He’s fine, very fine! Does that answer your question?”
“Are you sure he is fine?”
“Cut it out! If you’ve anything to say, say it.”
“We’ll talk tomorrow; good night.”
Let them two talks ‘tomorrow’. But I’ll tell you what it is about. The would-be groom seems to have other ideas. A few days back he was engaged to another girl. Engaged! Yes, engaged. The first outrage being this one, the other one is that she is his Facebook find who flew in from, where else, America! The talk is that his friends arranged the whole thing with the support of his family. The very family who supported him marrying our girl-in-waiting agree to such outrageous and nothing less barbaric act!
At first, things were too much for the would-be bride and her family. But not for long and being a religious family they believed, God made this happen for a reason. The guy’s story wasn’t about love at first sight, or of being told some prediction from one of those prophets who seem to all over the place; the lady is an American citizen! Aha; there you have it. The plan was that once he’s married to this Ethiopian-American girl it’d be “Goodbye Addis!” for good. But the latest news is that the lady from across the ocean was told by some mysterious person, the guy was scheduled to be married in a few months’ time and they say she’s all over herself. The most possible scenario is the guy will miss out on both the American dream and the bride-in-waiting.
Frustrations come in more ways than one these days; from the boss makes it hell in the office for you; the man upstairs simple hates you! Only the boss knows why; You haven’t even talked to him in any way during the three years he has been with your organization, and you’re mentioned as some sort of a hero employee, you have kept within your own fences and there was no reason for any one not to like you, let alone hate you; from the girlfriend who dumped you for the guy driving a multimillion birr car; (Yes, those kinds of stories are common in these days, maybe too common!) hers is the kind of girl who’s always on the hunt for preys with deep pockets; (just like the guys who practically turn the town upside down in search of ‘the rich widow’ or ‘the rich divorcee.’ (I tell you you’d end up open-mouthed listening to the scope of such things in the city from those who know things inside out!)) from the guy behind the wheel who thinks he bought the whole town and not only the car; from the fellow who makes sure you never forget he has ‘people in high places.’ from your better half who thinks she’s not half but the 4/5th of the whole equation. I mean she might not say it outright, but you can see in that mischievous smirk of hers that this lady would one very fine day leave you for good without even waiting for you to wake up. She must be in the rest rooms;
“Good morning, honey! You got up quite early today.” Total silence from the other side, she must be busy with one thing or another. After all both sexes have their ‘intimate’ moments in the rest rooms. But as the minute pass you know all was not fine on the rest rooms front. Honey, what’s taking you so long; aren’t you all right?” No response. And all this while the doors of the rest rooms were wide open. You take a peep or two and she isn’t there.
Be calm before you start thinking some sort of autobiography with the title “I Carried Her on My Shoulders; She Crushed me Under Her Feet!” Does that sound it came directly from the horse’s mouth? It didn’t! A few days later you’ll probably hear that she has gone to America, leaving everything behind for the foxes, including you, her dear hubby. Years back I have been sort of witness when the fiancée of a relative just vanished into the thin air. For weeks nothing was known until one day a call made directly to her broke the ice. “Sorry for not telling you; but I’m at present in Washington and will not return!” Just like that! Family and friends labored for months trying to convince her to accept the reality; she finally did. Believe me the search for the ‘rich widow/divorcee’ and ‘the man with deep pockets’ is tearing relationships beyond recognition.
Grudges? No, My Friend – It’s More Than That!’
“You want to know what I’m thinking right now.”
“What are you thinking?”
“I think your trip didn’t go as you planned it. Where are these sparkles I expected to be glowing over your face?”
“You guys don’t ever change, do you? You like listening to everything the negative about that place!”
“Here we go again; I am asking the simplest question I could think of and you try to make some quantum thing out of it.”
“You know what is ‘quantum,’ whatever that means, about it all is, I couldn’t understand why you hold so much grudge.”
“Grudge! (This one is not going to be that friendly and harmless talk over a few bottles of beer!) “Not that I agree with what you’re implying; but what’d be wrong if we indeed hold grudges? Is that too much after all that has been done to us?”
“Look the angrier you’re the more you’ll be hurt yourself.”
“What! I couldn’t believe you’re saying that.”
“I was only trying to bring up the obvious.”
“And what, if you please, is it the obvious?”
“I’m not denying that you’ve been treated like no other country has been treated before. I know the real feelings of the people as I lived amongst you for so long.”
“I was saying those in the West would do anything unless…”
“Unless what? Say it, unless what?”
“Unless…ok, forget I ever used that term. You know the West, I mean the politicians, and the media people, the lobbyists and others wouldn’t blink an eyelid to have you for dinner.”
“Don’t you think we know that? We know the table is laid at the dishes set. But having us for dinner isn’t going to be that easy. In fact they are already trying to just that to have us on their dinner table; snatching our dinner, dinner meant for us is one strategy.”
“What are you saying?”
“Don’t tell me that they’ve removed us from the AGOA thing!”
“I have heard about it alright.”
“By crossing out our name, you know what they’re trying to do; starve us into submission! Of course, that’ll never happen.”
“Look, I’m not as deep as you guys into these things. I am more confused than reformed.”
“I’m not sure where this thought comes from, but I feel you seem to have forgotten all you have been saying before you left. Or, do you disown everything?”
“No! No! If you start thinking of like that then it’s you who changed and not me.”
“Sorry, can we get together some other time?”
“As you wish.”
“Thanks. Have a nice weekend.”
“You too.” (Did I overplay my cards?)
(While we’re at it, things look like a bad hangover refusing to go away. The CNN people perhaps are still popping the champagne bottles behind the curtains because Ethiopia was removed from AGOA. No one in the right senses said the action was ‘one of those things.’ No it isn’t. Hundred and of thousands will be affected. And when they signed and approved the document it doesn’t mean they weren’t aware of that fact, they were. And yet the CNN people ‘took the credit’ for making things happen. Ironical, wouldn’t you say? A station which appears to pat their own backs for something which would surely shatter hundreds of thousands of households admitting to such outrage publicly! And my friend tries to lecture me about grudges. They cheer actions which result in more suffering for the ordinary people while they should have worked in patching up the hundred and one cracks appearing on all their sides.
No, my friend, it is not grudges we’re feeling; it’s far more than that!
Ephrem Endale (Contributer)
THE ETHIOPIAN SUNDAY EDITION 9 JANUARY 2022