July 5 2020
Heading West, East, North…to the Unknown.
Saturday night 1985, … Farewell Party.
The very next day, our friend was leaving to go to Europe. I saw him standing there, the host himself, Girma Seichento, right in the middle… welcoming his invited guests and introducing himself to the non- invited ones. The best DJ in town was in the house, hence it had been expected that there would be some unexpected guests… some Break-dance freaks.
Groups formed in that well-decorated living room. Families and relatives occupied the best corner where they could be able to keep an eye on the valuable stuff.
In the other corner sat some Qebele officials, among them Ye'Hamsa Aleqa Maru Dumessa, chief of the Qebele's Abiot Tibeqa. Nobody had ever liked or understood him. On special occasions like this one, weddings or LeQsos, "Arawit" Maru would morph into your very soul mate. He'd sit there next you, singing some Abyotawi Haq… "The mass is with us, as we are with the mass, Guwadoch."
Had it not been for his mom's good relation with the Qebele, Seichento would have never gotten that Ye'Digaf Debdabe signed. He was considered "TSere E-Se-Pa" because he won a final game of Kerembula against Guwad Awlachew, Ye-WeT'at LiQemenber.
We, his friends, had taken the other corner, close by the music. Plenty of chicks who had enjoyed Seichentoe's services on different occasions were present. We used to see him every single day walking along with some lady, heading west; and within an hour or two, we'd see him walking side by side with another lady, sharing her Zembil, heading east…and then with yet another, heading north.
I guess this is how he acquired this taxi name, "Sei-chento," (Fiat 600).
At his party, Seichentoe was dressed up, complete with his John-Tra hairstyle and that little scar on his left cheek - proof of the depth of his unconditional love for Yiftusira, his only true love - prominently displayed.
One Sunday morning he had rented a bicycle from stadium zuria and came to the neighborhood to do the usual showing off. Yiftu was walking by and he had to show her something special. So he let go of the handlebars. Looking only at her, at Yiftu, his only true love, he neglected to look where he was going. By the time he realized what was happening, it was too late to react, to save himself. We helped pull him out of a stinking TuuBo, a love scar as souvenir. He was our Romeo.
The Saturday night of his party, everybody had a good time. Those who knew how to dance danced … All Night Long. Break danced … Get Down on It … She is Fresh-She's so Fresh … Fua-Fua Yilal Doju .…Mele'yayet Mot new.
On the other side, those of us who knew how to drink drank everything - everything that flowed: Meta Bira…Baron's … Kendoo…Katspin… Tella… Punch … Yastefesihe Libe. And by the time we felt light and high, we neglected Newton's Law of Gravity and did the Moon Walk, far better than those professional break-dancers.
I don't remember falling asleep. When I woke up, Girma Seichento had already left for the airport, heading for parts unknown, hoping the unknown would give him the opportunity to become the person he was born to be, ignoring all the good and bad times we shared, wondering if he was able to build a home somewhere far away - a home without loved ones, without Yiftu, …and, of course, without Ye'Hamsa Aleqa Maru Dumessa, his worst nightmare, chief of the Qebele's Abiot Tibeqa.
….. Months later, we received our first Posta, from Diasporic Seishentoe. We opened it, and we all were delighted, not for his long gibberish letter, but for the hundred dollars he had attached with it. None of us wanted to read his letter. On a day like that, which didn't come very often, what we needed was a huge celebration.
We were loaded. We got ourselves some Kent, rejimun. And… yes, we were determined to sign a peace deal with all the gods. We sent our purchasing staff to arrange all the berCHa and CHebssi stuff. We sent our CHimit friend, Tsadiqu, whom we thought was relatively holy, to submit the best janTilla and some Twaafs to CHerkos, Seishentoe's favorite Tabot.
With nothing left to do, the rest of us started reading his letter. He was not the Seishentoe we knew. He had become very serious. Like Lenin: "Work, work … ahunim work".
He wrote: "Gobez…. Up here life is not as simple as we used to imagine. The word "work" is very confusing. Some work to live, and some live to work. … And believe it or not, I am part of it…Life doesn't have any significant definition. It is up to you to make the best out of everything life brings your way. These wefeffes find me "not that friendly", 'cause I couldn't shout and jump the way they do. In this chaos, your presence means nothing. Once in a while you have to speak and speak loud. This is how you will be judged. I told those losers "I had these friends, with whom I could sit on a berCHa all day long with mirqana, and never have to say a word, except 'Ajeb'. And then I could get up and walk away without saying a word. Because they are my friends, they understand. The only thing that counted was my presence."
"Well, I am glad that I have you all, my friends. As for this money, it is my flesh and blood. Inkachiuh teqamesut."
"Please pass my love to my Yiftu. Is she still wearing that neTela CHama I bought her? Oh … yes, I miss her beautiful long toes, especially her awra T'at. Tell her to keep on checking her posta, I've sent her yabede shinshin qemis."
Iskigenagnachu d'res, I mean, be-Ayne siga,