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Lakewood Times

“A Home for a Hybrid” Vignette by Berenice Nekinga

Erin was not from here, others would often say. She was between two countries; one was where she was born, and the other was the one she inherited. Her deep, refined copperish skin screamed out loud the origin of her ancestry. She was different apparently.


“Go back to your country!” Patrick shouted all the way across the room. It became a habit for kids in class to make fun of Erin. To them, she was a stranger, who needed to take the next train home, back to Central Africa. To me, this was Erin’s home, a place where she was born, her real home. Erin’s parents migrated here about 10 years ago because of the civil war that was happening back in their home country, and they became refugees here.


She’d never been to her other country. Erin went to the same school as us; we ate the same food and played on the same court. She’d been here, lived here, grown here her whole life; war was a foreigner to her.


When our eyes would unintentionally meet, I would take a pause and be mesmerized by her gentle blinks, one by one. I would try to count them; they were shaped like almonds in a bronze sunset, covered by a flow-blown umbrella of lashes. The thought of asking her if they were natural would sometimes emerge, but then I’d remember that it’s from her ancestors.


It has been over a year now that the sit in front of me has been empty. Some say she went back to her ancestors’ country; others say she changed schools. But I know that where ever Erin must be; the beauty of her ancestors will be reflected in her.

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    lailaSep 13, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    bravo! this is beautiful !