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  • Nemi

The Call

For those of you who haven't figured it out quite yet, I wasn't born in America and with that being stated, it means that I have family members whom I've only heard stories of but still have yet to meet in person. I'd say over the course of the last year or two, technology has become increasingly better and things such as a phone call have become easier too.

In my family, there are only a handful of family members which I speak with on occasion, whether here in the States or abroad; it's amazing how that happens, I mean a family as large as ours but yet disjointed. Perhaps it's me, then again, perhaps it isn't (I'll figure that out one day)?

Over the course of the last thirty plus years, I've dreamt about home about what it would be like to walk the streets of the capital city or maneuver through the interior/countryside. All of the travels which I've been on, the places, people, food, sights, and sounds can't be any different from what I imagine home to be like. Then again, I'm starting to believe that all of my travels may have all been a way to prepare me for what I covet the most, a chance at redemption.

I was but a child when we left and my memories are nothing more than black and white images which have been stored in a file called "What IF". The child which looked out of an airplane window as it prepared to leave home is the same child who will, by the grace of God, peer through a window yet again as the airplane descends back home.

Today, my mother's younger sister called me and began the conversation by testing my knowledge of our tribal language. It's "funny" to insert the word tribal in front of language. We aren't from the bush/jungle but yet we are a tribe.

As the pleasantries were exchanged and as my heart raced hoping that I wouldn't embarrass myself, I found myself being embarrassed for simply not knowing enough to communicate fluently in our native tongue; as I was beginning to wallow in self-pity, my aunt said, "Aaaaye ya" (term of endearment) and she just kept on speaking which to me signified that I wasn't too far off.

"Nemitabbah, you need a help mate, you need to get married, let me find you a good Liberian girl", she said and no sooner had she finished her comment, I began to laugh; laughter is a big component in our family, I think it's a mechanism which keeps us from crying. I digress...

"Nephew, I know you don't know me but you have to listen to your youngest mother, you need to get married" to which I retorted, "My oldest mother doesn't even tell me this but I think she's using you to send her message."

The marriage conversation continued for about another minute or so and then I stopped my aunt in order to explain to her that though we're thousands of miles apart, thousands of experiences apart, and without a touch in thousands of minutes, hours, days, I understood her heart, her laughter, her fears.

I wasn't born in America, my parents are still very much traditional African parents, my heart longs for home and the people whom I call family; one day I'll return, for a moment, and upon my return I'll hold my aunt even closer and tell her that I understand her heart, her laughter, her fears.

Today, I received a call from my aunt, my mother's youngest sister, a call which she didn't know she was destined to make thirty-nine years into my existence and a call which I didn't know I was destined to answer thirty-nine years into my existence and have it shape my day/life.

The call was a special one.

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