Love and Prejudice

Kathmandu Aiport by ozalp

I instantly spotted him among the thick crowd in the waiting
room, sitting on the bench, his nose buried in the book.
“My Imaginary Girlfriend.”
I smiled. This must be
him.
He seemed lost in his world, amidst the buzz of the airport.
Unmindful of lovers parting, of old friends reuniting, of the curious glances
from old men and mischievous giggles of young girls. For a moment, he furrowed
his brow in a slight frown, then two dimples formed in his cheeks as he
slightly laughed and shook his head.  Still engrossed in the book.  Ah, such a beautiful face. My pulse raced.
This better be him.
“I believe you are waiting for me?”


He looked up, squinted, and smiled. He opened his arms in
what I thought was an invitation to embrace. But a hundred eyes pierced on us
like that of vultures waiting for a carcass. So I clumsily took his hand for an
awkward shake, as imaginations of a romantic Hollywood-worthy first-meeting moment
vanished into the cool, musty air of Kathmandu. 

He is black. I am not.
I am yellow. He is not.
That was the problem.
We try to pretend we’re just like any other ordinary couple.
But every time we feel we blend in, something or someone never fails to remind
us that we are different. 
Strolling around the little touristy town of Pokhara in
Nepal, I had to restrain myself from blasting some of the locals who thought I
was a fancy Nepali prostitute who snagged a wealthy African prince. “Black and
white unite!” some of the young men would shout at us and laugh so hard you’d
think they saw Charlie Chaplin in person.
We caused a traffic jam in the busy street of Kathmandu, as
the drivers stopped at green light to stare at us, as if they’re seeing a zebra
and an elephant about to cross the road. A sight to behold indeed!
In Mombasa, touts tried to squeeze every shilling out of us.
A foreigner and a local—the perfect victim material. Dilman had to stop me
from uttering a single word in park entrances or to boda-boda drivers so we
won’t to shell out double the normal fees.
I cannot imagine how it will be when he visits the Philippines.
I don’t dare think about it. An acquaintance once asked me who I’m in a
relationship with. When I told her he’s African, she turned pale and held her
breath before saying, “Is your family cool with it? How are they taking it? You
will have a dark baby with a wide nose! Why don’t you date a white man? I know
someone who’s looking for a Filipina wife.” We never became friends.
So yes, people, as you succinctly put it, he is black , I am not. I am yellow, he is
not.
That is the beautiful truth that ironically breaks our heart
every single day. For even in these modern times, the color of your skin is
still valued more than a thousand awesome talents and a glittering personality.
In this cruel, cruel world, we still don’t have the freedom to love regardless
of race, religion, caste.
Travelling has opened my eyes on the myopic lens that people
still look through. On the other hand, I see it as an opportunity to disprove
preconceptions.
Perhaps travel will give us the strength to overcome these stupid
prejudices.
Perhaps, travel is the cure to bigotry.
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This is my entry to this month’s PTB Blog Carnival with the theme: “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” hosted by Rain Amantiad-Campanilla of Rakistang Nars. 
For more PTB Blog Carnival themes, visit Estan Cabigas’ Langyaw.
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