I tried not to notice too much, to simply just live, but that was impossible. Every time I looked at [him] I became aware of just how seemingly perfect this time was. I thought about how years from now I would remember this with a crushing, heartbreaking nostalgia, because of course I knew even then that I would eventually find myself standing here alone.
Dinaw Mengestu- The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears
I tried not to notice too much, to simply just live, but that was impossible. Every time I looked at her I became aware of just how seemingly perfect this time was. I thought about how years from now I would remember this with a crushing, heartbreaking nostalgia, because of course I knew even then that I would eventually find myself standing here alone.
as a usual Sunday. My plans included wearing my pj’s all day, eating takeout,
and watching series all day while Nash was on set. I wasn’t expecting him to
come home until late night, so I was quite surprised when the front door opened
and he walked into our apartment.
I stuck my
head out of the kitchen and pushed my glasses up on my nose making sure my
vision was correct.
you doing here?” I asked maybe a bit ruder than I intended to sound.
the love, baby,” he chuckled, but it was anything but happy.
smiled walking out and watched as he kicked his shoes off and ran his fingers
through his hair that was starting to get long again. “What happened?”
“Well, as I
can see you didn’t even draw the curtains out today, so I’m letting you know
that it’s raining and it’s hard to shoot a summer themed movie without
sunshine.” He leaned closer and kissed my forehead. “And there is something
else too…” he added nervously.
We both sat
down to the couch, I lifted my legs up and he immediately pulled them to his
lap, it was something he always did when we were sitting next to each other. He
looked worried and a bit afraid maybe and he was starting to scare me.
tell me what happened!” I pleaded.
have to promise me you won’t get mad,” he said looking at me.
promising anything. Tell me!”
rolling his eyes and then taking a deep breath he finally started speaking.
remember those pictures you sent me when I was in Europe for three weeks?”
at him knowing exactly which pictures he was talking about. I got horny and he
wasn’t here, so I thought I would show him what he is missing and sent him a
few quite erotic selfies.
I remember!” I giggled. “What abo-… Wait. It’s not what I think it is, is it?”
I asked with wide eyes as I realized what would go wrong with these kind of
started and I moaned in embarrassment.
leaked out??” I screamed burying my face in my hands.
mean, they are not on the internet!” he quickly said and it somehow made me
feel better, but then he continued. “I just accidentally sent them to the
groupchat with the guys.”
WHAT?!” I screamed again.
I swear it was an accident I just-“
FUCKING LOST YOUR MIND!” I shouted jumping to my feet. All of his damn friends
saw my nudes and the fact that it was an accident didn’t help me. “How can I
look them in the eye again?” I growled running my fingers through my hair
that helps, they found the photos very hot,” he said and I swear I was about to
kill him right there.
things like that now, Nash. It doesn’t help,” I warned him with wide eyes and
he immediately got that it was not the time to joke. “Who saw them?” I sighed.
Sam, Hayes, Tez and Bryant,” he enumerated.
brother too? Jesus, Nash, I won’t be able to go to any family events anymore,”
I cried thinking how awkward it would be. And maybe the worst thing that Hayes
used to have a crush on me, so it was even better. I wished I could just die
right there and then.
that bad, they’ll forget about it in no time!” he said trying to make the
situation better, but there was nothing he could say to me.
that’s literally the second worst thing. The first would have been if you fucking
uploaded them to the internet.”
baby, it was an accident,” he sighed standing up and putting his arms around me
he pulled me into a tight hug.
“I hate you
so much right now,” I sighed hugging his waist, because even though I wanted to
murder him for being so stupid he was still my man.
You can hate me all you can. I deserve it,” he mumbled into my hair and we just
stood like that for long minutes. I had to put things into place in my head and
tried to move on although I was curious about something.
did they react?” I asked making Nash laugh, but he pulled his phone out without
a word and showed me the groupchat. “Oh my God,” I laughed seeing the messages
of the guys.
FUCK WHAT IS THIS
I DIDN’T WANT TO SEND THESE
I’m glad you did tho
Y/N is gonna kill me for this omg
I’m showing these to mom
DON’T YOU DARE
Hahahaha lol chill, I was just joking. But I
always knew she was hot.
I’m saving these for later, thanks bro!
Fuck you guys. It was an accident.
This body is no accident dude
LOL I’m with Tez!
Just call me if she needs a nude photoshoot,
bro, I’m all for it.
I hate you guys. Srsly.
I’m happy Madison wasn’t next to me when I opened
this message. Damn dude!
Okay, you can all stop. And don’t you dare use
these photos for anything. I’m serious, don’t be disgusting, remember this is
“Oh my God,
this is crazy,” I laughed handing him back his phone. “I’m deeply embarrassed
but at least they liked what they saw.”
would like it, but it’s all mine. I’m sorry baby,” he said again kissing my
“I hope you
know that you are doing the laundry for the next ten years,” I told him.
something was coming. But I deserve it,” he sighed smiling at me playfully.
We tend to think of the stories that happen in Africa as being so radically distinct from our narratives here in America, and I wanted to find ways of making those narratives rub up against one another.
Novelist Dinaw Mengestu tells NPR’s Lynn Neary about his new book, All Our Names.
I swear my
head was about to blow up, my throat was aching so much I could barely swallow
and my eyes were burning meaning my temperature didn’t lower in the last few
hours. I texted Hayes about twenty minutes ago that I can’t make it to his
little get together because I wasn’t feeling well and now I was just trying to
sleep a bit.
My mom was
away for a business trip and my dad was working until at least ten pm, so I was
alone. I almost fell asleep when I heard the front door opening and I sat up
listening to the noises coming from downstairs.
that you?” I shouted between two coughs. I got no answer, but a moment later
the door of my room opened and Hayes walked in with a huge bag in his hands. “Hayes,
what are you doing here?” I asked confused.
think I would leave you alone while you are sick, did you?” He sat the bag down
to a chair and then kneeled down next to me. “How are you feeling?” he asked
examining me with a concerned look.
take something?” he asked checking something on his phone.
it didn’t work,” I sighed and watched as he put his phone down and dug into his
got you some stuff, but since I’m no nurse and shit I told the guys to come
here, so we can figure out how to put you back together,” he explained taking
out his supplies of the bag. Some instant soup, teabags, tissues and candles.
God knows why he thought candles would be useful.
Hayes, none of you is a doctor but you also don’t have to be a doctor to know
that I just need to rest,” I said with wide eyes. The boys were coming over and
I looked like a fucking zombie. Great.
“Do I look
like I care, Y/N? We are going to fix you, don’t worry,” he said totally
ignoring what I just said.
me some tea and brought some more blankets for me and about half an hour later
Sam, Nash, Nate and Tez were all bustling in my room pretending to know what
they were doing but they obviously didn’t.
sighed trying to stop them from totally messing up the house. “It’s really not
needed, you all can go home.”
little girl,” Nate said shaking his head and turned back to my computer looking
for tips on the internet on how to cure my sickness.
just rest and don’t worry, we’ll get you everything you need until your dad
gets home,” Sam added giving me a lovely smile.
besides, I’m not leaving my best friend alone, anything can happen,” Hayes
spoke up handing me some painkillers that I asked for earlier.
listen to me and they all went full brotherly on me. At least I had some
company, I enjoyed listening to the absurd cures Nate found online and Hayes
kept asking if I had to puke because he could get me a bucket anytime even though
I really didn’t need to puke.
we gotta go, take care of her, Hayes,” Tez warned Hayes as they were about to
he nodded and after they all hugged me they left leaving us alone.
don’t have to stay, just go home, dad is going to be home soon,” I said as he
sat down to the end of the bed. He shook his head with a small smile on his
are not getting rid of me. Even though I have no idea what to do with a sick
person,” he added making me laugh.
for trying. You are the best,” I smiled feeling my eyelids getting heavier with
something new,” he proudly smirked. “Get some sleep, I’ll wait till your dad
nodding my head and I stopped fighting against my sleepiness. I closed my eyes
and then before I fell asleep I heard Hayes saying:
“I told you
I would take care of you no matter what.”
referring to the time when we both were much younger and I broke my arm. I couldn’t
do too many things and I was also afraid to go biking with him afterwards. Then
he dragged me with him and made me a promise that he would take care of me no
matter what and he would never let me get hurt.
“It was, gentlemen, after a long absence—seven years to be exact, during which time I was studying in Europe—that I returned to my people.”
So begins Tayeb Salih’s 1966 novel Season of Migration to the North. This fraught first sentence, spoken by a westernized Sudanese narrator returning home, has many layers of division—between home and away, between outsider and insider, between strong and weak, between man and woman, between West and East, between black and white.
In his essay for this series, All Our Names author Dinaw Mengestu indicts what he calls “the fractured gaze”: any worldview that sets apart “us” apart from “them.” For Mengestu, literature offers a way to see beyond the simplistic labels that confine us. In a passage from Season of Migration to the North that suggests the essential human sameness of the Sudanese and Europeans, Mengestu locates his mission statement.