BSL: international day
This is just a costume. I’m a fraud. the mask is slipping and I think the others are catching on.
Just the other day Tunde played a bunch of anthems on Encarta. I walk into the computer lab and he starts playing one I can’t recognize. I don’t know why but my eyes fall on his screen and I see a Cameroonian flag. Small imperceptible glance. As if he could sense my ignorance he asks smugly if I know what anthem is playing as he quickly minimizes the page to keep any hint out of sight. “Of course I know my own anthem” I reply with such indignation I am shocked at my own lie. I spend the next two days learning every word.
National anthems known in chronological order:
When people find out I speak french and I tell them I come from Cameroon, they assume I’m francophone. I’m actually north west (anglophone) and I speak french because I was born and raised in Ivory coast.
Going to primary school: we were not Ivorian and most of the Cameroonians we knew went to english schools. All were born in Cameroon so in a sense we were the odd ones out. Cameroonian by blood, was that enough?
“Aleh (how are you)?”
“Don kein (I’m fine thank you).” success, 1 experience point.
They laugh at me, I didn’t understand. They asked where my mother was. I am not from here. I will never forget what that question means. Luwien yeh? is your mother here? Luwein yeh? is your mother here? Luwein yeh? is your mother here?
World cup in Canada. cars are passing. I see many flags, Argentina, France, Nigeria, Ghana. Who here is even from here?
IB results come in, 6 in French and in English. Not good. Excellent. What can I say in Kedjom? Ma kefi nyam : I want to eat meat.
‘What’s your name?’ Sally. ‘No what’s your name name?’ Sally. ‘Is that your first name.’ Yep. ‘Do you have any other names?’ yes, Wuwihbwen. ‘how do you spell that?’ It doesn’t matter, the spelling doesn’t correlate with the pronunciation. I know its meaning: man is not God. It might as well be empty. I say my name over and over and over again till it doesn’t mean anything anymore. Just sounds strung together by some unknown ancestor. My own name has to be subtitled. I am the audience.
World cup team support in order:
Sharing rooms with Maki with a clear line demarcating our sides. Somehow I’m always cleaning up our room. Everything in its place. Everything has a place. Clothes closeted, books tabled, toys and assorted things boxed. Nothing can be out of place.
I wish I was a twin. I’d have an anchor. I would look at their face and know. Know I belonged. There is a root. There is a home. I am not alone. I am not alone. I belong to something. I belong to someone. I am a point of reference.
Kedjom funeral – I can’t feel – I don’t know this person enough – if at all to feel. But I know Mum, she is my bridge so I take her hand and she leads.
I am from nowhere. I am from everywhere. I am a bridge too. Where do I lead to?