My clunky self reached its heavyweight right arm for the last of 20 chocolate cookies that was on the plate; lovingly cooked by sublime and divine girlfriend Arianna. I have to be honest and admit that I don’t understand why she would still be with me. I mean, look at me: I was this clunky, heavily armed with words, aspiring but failed poet who has only been good so far at failing consistently weight loss programs and uttering unintelligible (read nerd) words to friends and family.
Despite what you may think of me, this consistency was actually the best thing, only second to Arianna and her lovable self, that was happening right now in my life. I needed that consistency as bad as an amputee needed his prosthetic leg. I couldn’t imagine what the opposite would look like. I would probably sink in Hell or an Abyss where even Jesus wouldn’t want to come down to save me.
It’s been seven years now since I left the Demo crassy Republic of Congo, but this page of my history was going to be buried pretty soon under my loud, proud and shining American ID that I will be in possession six months from now and I shall enter in the glorious reign of the New Americans where I could sing daily God Bless America and Curse Every Other Country. (Note to self: Refrain from actually saying this when I will swear to the flag).
Seven years. It feels like yesterday when I look through the Facebook pictures of friends’ weddings and their children and wonder where did I go wrong. That’s when Arianna poked her head out from the kitchen and ask: More cookies? No thanks, love, I replied. I know what people said behind our backs when we passed by. She had a lighter skin than me from being a quarter black, a quarter Native American, a quarter Asian, and a quarter white. She just got her degree in Graphic Design and Art History and was saving up to open her own shop. She was one of those mixed girls who had the perfect face and if it wasn’t for the fact she had some love handles and had some trust issues,she could have easily done modeling. She has had in the past, athletic, cute and jerks for boyfriends which she never liked to talk about anymore. She told me later when we started dating that I was the funniest guy she has ever met combined with sad puppy eyes, she said she found me adorable. I should have known that when she said “puppy eyes” that there would be a dog in the picture.
Let’s just say that we didn’t like each other because we seemed to have come to an understanding that we were competing for the same person. We would sometimes have stare down with each other which sometimes I won, sometimes he won.
Before the elections,the third in our country’s history, and for which I just didn’t care for because none of the candidates was going to bring the change of fortune that the people needed since 1960, I found myself worried about my mother. I was sometimes too nice for my own good. I called her and after the civilities, she reassured me that everything was ok, reminded that she was preparing me a wife there as soon as I finished school and returned home even though I already told her about Arianna and that I didn’t care for whatever girl she had ready for me. Instead of reminding her of that, I decided to let it pass and told her that Arianna and I will be sending her a Christmas gift very soon. She told met that she didn’t care for her, but she would be glad to receive it, but before I could hang up, she went for the jugular and said: “What can’t you be like your brother who had married one of our own? Anyways, Merry Christmas, I will be expecting my gift.” I couldn’t believe it, but she had done it again. I must be a masochist for always doing this.
My brother, le beau gosse( cutie), the perfect son, the engineer, the winner of science prizes, the one who talked to her on the phone all the time, the serial dater who always went out with white girls, but who was desperate to find a Congolese girlfriend when mom had put him on the phone with his ex-girlfriend in the hopes to rekindle their flame; my brother Luc would forever remain the dark cloud in my blue sky. It’s not like I didn’t like him, but I could easily have kept on living without his name coming up in a conversation.
I still remember how Luc, the inveterate charmer had gotten a laugh of his ex-girlfriend and then got his mother back on the phone to tell her that he was seeing this Congolese girl and that they were serious and there was no need for her to try this again because she might be the one. She got really excited because she had started to worry about her son’s celibacy- not knowing that he has ever been anything but celibate, she asked to be put on the phone with the lucky girl and that’s when, Luc, my brother, knew he wasn’t going to get away so easily. He told her that she wasn’t around for the moment, but next time he will make sure to get her on the phone.
It’s been six months and he had to come the realization that his reputation of a player couldn’t vanish easily from people’s minds just because he said he had changed so he avoided mom every time she called and when she had mentioned him, I was more than ready to open that can of lies that my brother has been feeding her, but I simply said: “Merry Christmas, mom” and I hung up, not waiting for her reply.