My Ethiopia

By Hanan Shash

You draw me in; pulling me in; teasing, taunting me with your breathtaking sights, orgasmic tastes and tantalizing sounds

The nostalgia hits me hard, crashing, like a strong force of waves at shore. I try to ignore you, turn my head the other way when they talk about you; immerse myself in what’s here-now-in front of me, but yet, you draw me in-I am entranced, lured.

I remember my love for you as though it were yesterday. As though this surmounting distance between us means nothing. Days turn to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years. I try to relive those moments we were together – I try to immerse you in my life again try to mould myself into a better person, the way you taught me; to make you proud.

But by sifting through the kaleidoscope of emotions I feel when my mind is possessed with thoughts of you–I’ve learned something.

As much as I love you, and despite the distance between us – you are always within me-I live you, breathe you, every moment, of every day. You give life to the blood that surges within my veins, pumping blood to my heart and sustaining every breath that I take. And for that, I am eternally grateful, for having experienced you.

The tears that I have cried for you have fallen on your shoulders and hit the Earth, dried, and now make me understand that you are my everything – my mother, my sister, my brother, my teacher. Your love like no other-a raw, deep, relentless, unreciprocated love; echoes deep within my very being, shattering and proving false what they say about you.

They only see your poverty, define you by your deprivation, shun you for the battles and wars that have torn you apart. But they don’t see that it is you – NOT THEY – have taught me to live, laugh, and held my hand as I experienced joy, grief, hunger and sorrow. And because of that you have the most wealth.

So thank you for being with me and guiding me, as I’ve walked this enlightened path that you, my love, have paved for me.

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