Imagine idly climbing up the stairs for French classes on a certain weekday morning. Someone looks at you friendly, you smile but ignore that person and continue your laborious journey up the stairs. Then the person stops you and says (in French no less); ‘You’re D. aren’t you?’
You’re immediately confused, not only because you are definitely not D. but also because it is too early in the morning for you and you have not kicked into French mode yet. You’ve made the mistake of trying to translate to English in your head before answering, that always leads to awkward pauses. The nice person with the smiley face repeats the question again and this time you fully comprehend. ‘Non’, you reply and she says ‘Pardon…’ but she is speaking too fast so you smile, nod and walk away assuming she said something like ‘I thought you were D. sorry’
Great end to a chance encounter except you already know who D. is. You have not spoken to her yet but you have seen her several times. She is black like you, she has an afro like you and that is where the similarities end. D. is American, she is shorter and thinner, she is of a darker complexion and her afro is shorter than yours. But you know to some people all blacks look the same. You remember the first time someone ever told you that four years ago, it was a Chinese girl who said she thought black people looked alike and a few friends of yours found it funny and tried to argue that she got it wrong because it was not black people that looked alike but all Asians. You found it ironic.
Luckily this has given you the opportunity to talk to D. All other nationalities stick together, the Mexicans, the Dominicans, the Spanish, the Arabs, the Germans, the Swiss. They have told you that you are the first Nigerian in this place and you were surprised to see another black girl. It only made sense that you were at least friends. There was of course solidarity, from the first time you saw D. you became ‘hello/hi’ friends and always made sure to smile at each other.
So when the chance came you walked up to her and asked; ‘Are you D?’ You got her name wrong so she corrected you. You explained that someone thought you were her and she explained that the same thing had happened to her. People walked up to her asking if she was the one who did this or that so she figured they must have been referring to you. In that split moment you feel a bit of panic regarding the questions she has been asked as you are guilty of doing several things. Then she says; ‘You know what, now they are going to start thinking we are sisters.’
You found that funny but it happens. Any random 2 black people in a foreign place are either mistaken for each other or they become sisters or cousins.
That’s my life right now! I will hopefully be criticising something as soon as I am done learning the dance steps for B.E.G’s ‘Abracadabra’ (and I’m halfway there!!)
*Image totally unrelated I know, blame Mellowyel. They are a group of Korean-American rockers called Royal Pirates and I love their cover of Super Junior’s SORRY SORRY. Pumashock does RnB covers while they do rock covers…I have vowed to support them!