Etsegenet Reta Woldemichael

© Copyright 2024 by Etsegenet Reta Woldemichael

Photo courtesy of the author.
Photo courtesy of the author.

I was born and raised in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. Though, I was rural at heart. By the way I dressed and talked people finds it hard to believe, one of the unfailing reasons is my fluoride teeth.

I was a ‘Home Girl’ and I believed other places are unkind. Though getting job at the city was hard. So, I secured a position as Wash engineer in Aletawondow town. I rented a whole room by myself and got keys.

I started working at the time of near project end. I was junior staff with little to take part in the near end business chaos. I saw a man named Samuel. He is of my age, sharp and confident. His eyes shines when he smiles. And I wanted to pierce in to his eyes to know all the secrets.

Samuel was a bad boy and I heard he has been chased out of his circle. There was brotherhood in the hood. Somehow, I got the feeling that he was back-stapled and he was grieving.

One time I opened up to him what I was in life, I said ‘I live with my betrayal family and they sell my book day by day, without missing one, and I never known till adulthood.’ I wasn’t looking Samuel’s eyes for affirmation, because I didn't believe him yet.

After few days, I heard Samuel’s inside feet was injured with nail at the construction site. I joked inside, ‘he is getting crossed, but whom is the Jesus here'. I was eager to see his condition.

During my site visit with supervisor Matiwos, I saw his injured leg covered with gypsum. Matiwos angrily said ‘Don’t they give you the ankle support?’ I got the feeling that he was needed at work and no leave nearby. Boss continued ‘your site is at delay than others? Why is that?’ ‘Construction materials are not available at Samuel replied. They both were picking a fight. I saw a sadden eye in Samuel and suggested he rather used the office car to reach to his room. Matiwos, disagreed, ‘the office work hour is not finished yet’. Samuel returned back to work.

Broken trust creates betrayal, Matiwos was a very comfortable person to work with and he was known creating a sense of families among his teams, which he by surprise has broken himself. It is the famous saying ‘It’s just business, don’t take it personally’. I didn’t get that too. Besides, Samuel similarly cultivated a relationship with food fiesta and gathering.

My side of the story was Matiwos didn’t believe, I could carry out my tasks, and got me excluded in team meetings. So, I found someone to open up myself.

Samuel and his friends had work ethics even when not appreciated. They were not waiting promotion the next year, but they worked better each time. I learned to play fair to my side. So, I started using the available resource and time.

One Friday over a phone, he mentioned if I had cash for anything, Say dating. I get the feeling that I have bad status in making friends or more. I said to him my families don’t ask each other this question. But I later noticed things have changed.

He reminded me of an American movie. It was beginning of the capitalism, young boys wrote a proposal and went to the bank to get a loan for their startup business. A boy loved a lady. he asked her to be with him. She mentioned he was poor. After working hard and he made it to the riche. He asked if she wanted him again. She give him the same answer. I was 13years old watching the movie on national television. It hits me hard.

I developed feelings for him and I got really thin like the old days. The idea, he may not liked me or I may not be good enough for him bitted me. There has been no story to tell in my love book. Only seasoned feeling comes and goes away. He visited me, one Sunday and I was immersed in one of my thoughts of him. He mentioned I need to have a radio or TV not to feel alone.

Whenever I had annual or holiday leave I spent at my brothers. When I return back I exhibited noticeable changes like discolored eyebrow and hair, faded clothes and shoes or food poisoned.

Last year Easter leave, I came to senses. I was the black sheep of the family. I hoped it was only my family and I wanted to try with him. My family stories wouldn’t change but I wanted to write a story of my own. After travelling back half distance to duty station for long hours, I phoned him to help me get a room at Aletawondow. My plan was in the morning, to travel the rest. He did!

After celebrating the holiday with brother I went to aunty. I didn’t like going to aunty for two reasons, her big dogs and the food. My stomach ache was getting severe and I want him to leave soon but that was not the case.

Samuel asked if I ate dinner. ‘why couldn’t you spend the weekend at families and come on Monday, like any body did?’ I couldn’t answer. I wish he was not like my family or I wonder if he respects me, my family or believes.

Things got awkward. I asked him if he is in relationship and he says, ‘he likes me’. I was at peace and happy. We had long minute kiss and I was soothed. Then I asked him to nap the night together but he started walking towards the door.

After a while we made it to Saturday night. I was prepared for the day with new clothes and hair done. He was casual, and mentioned he had a busy day. During dinner he mentioned he wants me support his business and he had so many friends whom willing and I should be one of them. I didn’t know relationship but I thought that was too fast.

We got into a room and laid down naked. He kissed me for a while and mentioned his business has gone bad today. I know where that was going. The room should give me all the reality I need. I saw a closed chest and the feeling that never happened. I affirmed myself to appreciate the milestone so far, to get along the night.

I have seen my fellow female families on my head and I finally understand their grief. The search of love where it is not found! Their broken heart was mine at last. They made it, so did I.

On Monday he called in a rush and asked me the cash, I was confused of Saturday, plus I didn’t have someone talk too. I transferred him the cash, saying to myself- let’s be team player. The next two weeks he disappeared.

I felt that I was fooled at last and turn fierce. I called him and ask when he was planning to return the cash? He replied? What cash? I then reported to HR and after long days of negotiations he returned the money. He also mentioned ‘he never have any of romantic sort of relationship with me’ saying ‘whatever I did was just as a colleague’

The office liked to do more and offer me counseling session. I carry my life book with me so long, so many stories never told to anyone, somehow I got a listener, and my story was meaningful. I much of hold on every good and bad moments and she said one by one let them go. And just hold your peace only!

I finally became free of my past and learned to live the now!

Etsegenet Reta Woldemichael is a novice writer from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Contact Etsegenet

(Unless you type the author's name
in the subject line of the message
we won't know where to send it.)

Book Case

Home Page

The Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher