A Web Site For The Young Ethiopian Professional.

    Volume II   Issue III

Tuesday February 25 2020

by: Sza Sza Zelleke

Every time a woman opens a mirror to fix up her face, my stomach twists into a forget me knot of regret. I think of my son and the hospital contract. After his birth, the hospital lawyer had pointed to the 6pt font at the bottom of the hospital agreement. There, under my signature, it clearly stipulated that all I would get was my baby. At first I thought I could claim I had signed under duress, I was of course in labor at the time. In time, however, I accepted reality and my rage and grief was duly recorded by medical staff in the maternity ward as a classic case of post natal depression. The reality was that the itibt I was so determined to post back to Ethiopia was gone forever. "What will they do with all the leftovers?" I asked the nurse. "Make up" she replied casually.

The pain from my tragic loss of the itibt dwarfed my memories of labor, but believe me m'T is memorable. In the labor ward, the Vietnamese lady who I shared the ro-ro room with had decided to squat under the bed and I watched her enviously out of the corner of my sweat filled eye. From the unnatural and ridiculously uncomfortable reclining position the ferenjis had put me in I could not help but smile as the nurses panicked at the sight of her empty bed and scattered to search for her.

M'T? It's the right two alphabets that describe the experience to a tee. Lips pursed together to push, push, push .MMMM and jaws clenched, tongue pushing on teeth and roof of mouth to heave again, again again. TTTT MMM TTTT MMM TTT. Horrible, Horrible, Horrible. You want a campaign strategy to reduce teenage pregnancy? Show explicit MIT movies in biology classes.

And what is it like, raising a child?? Think of your hand growing a sixth finger.you know, like the little one some people have right at the end there. Sometimes they grab it in their fist to hide it, protect it. Think of a small vulnerable extension of yourself. Then, imagine the extension growing legs and walking off forcing you to follow close behind in order to ensure that YOU don't feel the pain when the extension gets hurt. Now, I don't want to hear any Khalil Gibran quotes about how children have to be free to fly and how they believe they can touch the sky, blah.blah. I'm from the old-"Wa, Wa-Negirehalew/negireshalew" - school.

Earlier, in the first two years, it was "Na, na isti, yenaye qonjo, isti innkah, boo booyay". (I had ferejji friends who always wondered why I called him 'Nasty' and 'Stinker'.) But the terrible twos changed all that. "Tew!" became my middle name. I ate slept and breathed "Tew!"

Even when friends and colleagues reached out to adjust my collar or reach for the salt or a friendly touch, I automatically patted their hands back, lightly tapping them on top to stop them "Tew! Tew!" I also automatically cut any food on a plate into little pieces, and was constantly gripped by urgent need to bib and feed all those around me. My conversation became child like too. "LOOOOOOK, a blue birdie"; "SEE? SEE the red flower?".I graduated to speaking in Dr. Seuss Rhymes.

It passed. I prayed that it would, and it did and now I pray those times would come back again. The Dr. Seuss Rhymes have been replaced with Dr. Dre Rap.and I long for those other Dr. days.

I look into his ferenji bedroom .computer, posters, magazines, all manner of totally useless material objects that I have traded his itibt for.He smiles at me." Good Morning MAZZER", he jokes. I wonder if, when he looks into my eyes, all he can see is a war in my left iris and famine in the another. I smile, lower my lids and turn away. "I'm going to be late for work" I say.

I wonder if the green, yellow and red flag and MISSIL's in my room mean anything to him. Sometimes when he looks so at home, so at one with the ferenji culture around him, I wonder if I have the right to shake him and scream, " You may not love this foreign country and culture more than ours!"

But I tell myself it's too early for . or is it too late? Hmm, time to go to work, I pull out my mirror.and make up.


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