Friday, June 22, 2007


Everyone talked about her behind her back. They all hated her, not for something she did, but for looking right through them and not seeing them. But, there would be one kid she will watch and then everyone will talk about him behind his back.

In the Queen’s country, he was a pale, freckled kid who jumped school for a job in a huge slaughter house. She would ask him how many chicken heads he cut off. She was proud that he was improving from 10,000 a day to 25,000.

There was nothing extraordinary about the chosen boys. Except maybe that now she talked to them. She also held their hand when everyone was watching.

In Lagos, a thin, shy boy with no friends was endowed with the privilege. The only girlfriend he ever had was the woman who tried to rape him to avenge her HIV positive status. He smoked his first joint with her and dejectedly went to hip hop ghetto clubs. She would wear cherry red shoes and grind with men looking for paid sex. She would sneak him into her fortress like mansion and listen to him talk about his mother and a battered Merc she gifted him; the bad man who had troubled his family of eight; his father leaving them all behind with the bad man. And then the songs he wrote for her, about sunshine and pearly smiles. He would wait for her to appear at the classroom door and scream in a language she had taught him to understand. He would leave political science lectures to strum his guitar while she pretended to play a keyboard on his toes. She told him he will be a rockstar. Ese. They will call him. He promised to put her picture on the album art.

She never said goodbye to them and left for the next destination, feeling relieved. In Uncle Sam’s abode she ran away and was found by a handsome blond cop she was busy flirting with, only to make him take her home, with the dignity of a runaway rebel attached. It ensured the father never dared to interfere with her choice of company again, but fled the country the very same week. She had left him with no choice as the chosen one was an ex-convict with charges of hate crime against him. But, she had loved eating breakfast at his new apartment, arguing about fascist ideology, and the choice of flowers for his wedding next month.

Down Under, there was the handsome Ken. Barely into their teens, he taught her kissing and then wondered why are girls' panties always wet. They would spend Sundays smoking alone by the pier and stealing shrimps from other unattended kids. He thought she was the most beautiful girl he will ever know. He thought she was the ugliest bitch he ever knew when she left.

Soon, she stopped bothering with the student type. There were many Donnies to be found. He sometimes went to an obscure Institut to study English. She was glad that he had returned from Germany. Most of the bullet holes had been filled with mortar and Kosovo was much peaceful. She would spend all her after-school hours at the den, listening to Serbian pop and Western jazz. Donnie would flirt with plump clients but serve her free gin when the manager was not watching. His bartender friends threatened to tell the girlfriend, but she was just a friend. She helped him improve his English and they dreamed of living together. The day he returned the diamond ring to the girlfriend, she left for university thousands of miles away. His bartender friends loved the tragic tale of Donnie’s lost love and long after he left the job, everyone still laughed at Donnie in his den.

There was also the fat kid with a dying mother, who couldn’t breathe if she ate; the boy who stood first and was called Paki by his classmates, whom he called chinky without thinking twice; the Tibetan student serving her free coffee and pamphlets at midnight in Taiwan; the Moroccan heartthrob who went to Monte Carlo to strip on the beach for her and the sole girl, a Ukrainian with paper flowers glued to her black stockings.

And then there was Abel.

(Continued from Eastern European Rhapsody)