sorrow from the land of Eburnie

May 29, 2008


The city was awake and the sun was almost at the zenith. Today seems to be ordinary, at

least for others but not for me. When I got out of my house, I went to the park and I sat down on the

bench where I mostly stay alone. But this time an girl of about my age was sitting there. She seemed to be

happy because her face looked bright and delighted by the beauty of the nature surrounding her. But

something was troubling me, she looked a lot like someone that I knew but I couldn’t who that was. I

notice that she was dressing in a white robe, that was so bright that you could tell that it wasn’t a regular

robe that anyone who use to dress. In fact, she looked like an angel.

During the whole time that I was sitting there, I said no word, I was looking nowhere else than

the palm of my hand. I was holding this necklace made in gold that sent me back to the moment of sorrow

and happiness that I passed through a long time ago. It is one more day of pain remembering these past

moments that I used to spend with my friends back in my country.

I’m always thinking about it, I know that I should not because I promised that I wouldn’t, but

what can I do, my heart is crying the sadness, bitterness, and the sorrow that filled it a few years ago.

My mother told me “Julian, you should let it go”. She was right but I could not and probably never will.

I miss the land of Eburnie now called Ivory Coast; where my friends were killed, where my love was taken

wildly humiliated and killed. Every time I was looking at this necklace I felt like a docile presence was surrounding me. But I can’t stop thinking about when it happened. I remember this day, that day that have

darken a part of my life.

Unexpectedly, the girl sitting next to me asked me with an innocent voice to whom the necklace was

Made. I told her that it will be a long story to tell and no matter what it is not important to talk about it

when I should forget about it. She replied by asking with instance that she would really like to know the

story about the necklace.

I could not refuse what she was asking me; even though I knew that it would be a painful moment.

I told her that I was going to tell her the story but she shouldn’t be so hasty about it. Again unexpectedly,

she told me that maybe the necklace would could be hers. I was surprise and terrified by what she said ,but

I was more enchanted by the way she said it with an innocent face of angel.

Thus, I started telling her the story about the necklace…

Fall in the chaos

September 9th 2002, it was this day that put the land of Eburnie in sorrow and intense pain.

I woke up that Thursday morning to get ready for the first day of school. Around 6 o’clock,

I heard gunshots in the street, I told my self that it was probably some policemen chasing after

some filth. But later, it became really intense and I could even hear some explosion. These gunshots

became more and more loud. Now it wasn’t some kind of automatic guns, but I was hearing the

Kalashnikov and explosion of bombs fired by tanks . Everyone was at home trying to get some

information about what was happening. The first information we got was that one important political

leader was killed. I was completely disturbed to see such event happen to my. It wasn’t the coup d’état

that happened three years before. It was a civil war the rebels attempted to take the control of Abidjan,

the capital city but had to retreat into the north part of the country. The land of Eburnie was in sadness

and this time got dirt with the blood of innocents. Instantly, some people and soldiers started to massacre

the innocents foreigners living in thecountry because they thought that the rebels were essentially

foreigners and supported by other countries.

When all of this happened, I knew that my family and I wouldn’t be safe anymore in this country

because of our foreign origins. There were murders, and humiliations committed and unpunished . People

were killed with no explicit reason. The west part of the country suffered of a genocide that will certainly

remainunknown and unpunished. I remember a friend of mine who told me that the rebels or the

government soldiers, have brutally assassinated his uncle because he looked like a northern African.

When I recall these events, I have tears flowing down my cheeks. I’m asking my self what is the purpose

of life; if its whole point is to die innocently due to your racial, ethnicity, or politic background. It was

unsafe for me to say my point of view, because I wasn’t considered as a native Ivorian. Even though I

was born in Ivory Coast, people still think that I’m a foreigner. It was something hard to accept but I had

to live with it like if it was like a mark were imprinted on my face telling anyone about my parent’s


Then the girl asked me, if I died after that. I laughed at it and I told her that she can be

sure that if I was dead I wouldn’t be telling this story.

“So who died? Someone died isn’t it” she asked me with the same innocent face.

“no I‘m not going to tell you now.” I said

“does this story hurt you when you think about it ?” she said again.

“huh .. I guess you know it already. Don’t ?” I asked her intrigued.

“yes I feel your pain that why you have to tell me the story. I’m your friend, remember?” she said

I was intrigued by the way she was acting so kindly and bizarrely. I didn’t know exactly why but I felt that

she was right, I felt that I was her friend or at least I used to be. It was hard to explain but she made me

feel like I really need to that story, so I continued on…

Around 2005, I was accepted to a private high school. I knew that I had to finish quickly

and go to a college in another country less hostile, which would be my only way to escape this nightmare.

I couldn’t have any friends because they wouldn’t accept me. I became used to hanging out alone in the

school halls or at the soccer field. I would take lunch alone and study alone. I was always lonely; I had to

live like this to stay alive.

Day after day I did my best to get every work done, obtain the highest grades I could. But

this became my curse. Many others students started to hate me more. They could not understand how a

“foreign” student could have better grades than them. I have sometime received notes from anonymous

student telling me how they wish to see me die. I became used to it even though it made me feel unsafe.

Impossible love

In an afternoon day, I was studying as always and wondering about my life. Then Sylvie, a

classmate came to me and asked me for help.

“are you good at math” she asked. I was surprise and

scared, I didn’t know what to do or to say.

“” I said, stuttering . I was really embarrassed by the situation and eventually she

noticed it. “ huh I guess that I’m bothering you, I’m sorry.” She told me while she was walking away

from me. After that instant, I relaxed and I figured out that I really didn‘t act appropriately. Thus, I stood

up and came to her desk and ask her about what she wanted me to help her with. She eventually accepted

my help and I started helping her, it was some kind of math problem that even caused me some kind of

difficulty to solve. After an hour and half, I finally made her understand everything she needed to know. I

didn’t know much to say do after that, I started wondering if I should leave or start a conversation; I was

really shy in fact.

“ hum! I guess that you are certainly good to talk about math theorems, but once it comes to something

more social, you look like a dead tree in the desert.” She said erroneously.

“ Huh no, it ‘s just that I do not know you well in fact, I’m kinda…” I answered.

“Shy?!” she said interrupting me. “Haha I’m Sylvie” but you still can call me sisi” she said with such


“ My name is Julian” I said.

“Hum! Looks like you don’t have a math equation as a name. smart boy!…” she told me.

She amused me and I really started feeling comfortable with her. We started discussing, and it lasted

until we were ready to leave. She didn’t stop laughing at my jokes, and she made me have these

kinds of feelings that make you forget about the world and the problems that come with it.

I went back home thinking about my day and especially her. She is everything any man would

dream her to be . She has the look of a princess that makes you feel alright. Her voice is as gracious as

she is beautiful. The fact is, there is no such beauty on earth. The next days that followed were as magic

as unbelievable. we became friends really quickly and we started spending our time always together.

One day, she asked me about my parents. I was embarrassed to tell her about their origins, scared

of loosing the only person that seemed to care about me. Finally, I told her that I was born in this country

but my parents were foreigners. I asked her if such thing would cause her to leave me.

she answered me by a no. “I don’t care about your origins either if you are white or black I only want

you to be honest with me at any time” she said . After this had happened, we were closer to each other

and even started going on dates together. On the day of her birthday, I invited her to a restaurant.

I was waiting, stressed out about my dress and even the restaurant I had chosen for this special event.

She came late as always, but she was more beautiful than ever. She was in a black dress. It was

a robe with some tiny and shiny pearl that made her look like an angel. She was beautiful to see that

night, so beautiful that I was getting jealous because of all the other men looking at her.

“Hey you!” she said.

“Hi my lady, do you mind to sit with me?” I asked her by pulling out her chair.

“Ahaha, you don’t imagine how grateful it is for me to be with you my dear gentleman” she said again

with amusement. “ And it is a compliment” she said again.

“Oh thank you and please accept my apologies for my inattention” I said. ( I think that I looked like a dog

waiting for its treat.)

A few minutes later, we started eating after the waitress served us. She seemed delighted and happy

which made me feel more confident. We talked a lot and were laughing the whole night.

When I paid for what we ordered, I took her to the hill for a walk. The night was quiet and

the sky was so clear that it seemed to be open to us. Then, I told her that I had a little present for

her. She was surprised and started being impatient. From my pocket, I took a little present, that I gave

her; she took it almost hastily. When she opened it, she looked really amazed; it was a necklace made in

gold with a blue heart that looked like it was made in sapphire. I told her to open the heart attached to

the necklace, because there is something inside I want her to know. “A wealthy man told me that,

somewhere, in a hidden place, there is a precious rock; even more precious than the biggest diamond.

He said that he would trade his whole fortune for that rock. But I didn’t tell him that I found this

treasure because I want to keep you only for me and this forever.” she read the message with tears

flowing down her cheeks. She tried to say something but I put my finger on her lips that made her stop

instantly; and I kissed her.I looked at her and she hugged me strongly and start talking in my ears.

“I love you Julian, I don’t want to lose you and I‘ll do my best for that … please tell me that all of this, it

is not a dream.” she said. I looked at her and I told her that it wasn’t a dream and that I love her too. We

spent the night next to each other admiring the sky and its beauty. After a while, we both fell asleep in

each other arms. It was cold outside, but our car were warm enough to make us forget about the hostile

cold. I guess that we only care about each other and nothing else. The rest of the world seemed to be


The day that followed, we woke up early in the morning. In fact a big noise was the cause. We got

out of the car and we noticed that people were running. It seemed that they were running to us.

Eventually, we tried to understand the meaning of it, until we both heard someone say

“ you guys run! Run! if you are foreigners, those soldier are going to kill us all” . I didn’t need to hear it

twice, I asked Sylvie to go on her way; because they would not hurt her as long as she wasn’t with me.

She told me that she will go with me and that at the cost of her life. I knew that I couldn’t stand against

her decision, so I grabbed her hand, and we started running. We ran so much that we start feeling some

burn in our chess; but there were no other way to escape, they were getting closer. Luckily, some other

runners and I saw some bushes were we could go hide for a little time. We then started running in the

bush’s direction. As the soldiers behind us saw us getting far away, they started firing and I felt Sylvie

slowing down, but I hold her strongly until we got to a safe place.

I asked her how she felt, and she answer me that she probably got shot on her back.

“I’m gona be ok.” she said. “talk to me, tell me that it’s going to be ok… tell me that you love me, tell me

something…” she said Again.

“ I love you… I love you so much, don’t worry, you’ll be ok darling. I‘m here with you.” I told her,


“ Julian, please tell me that you will forgive me. Promise me that you will not cry over me. Promise

me…” she asked me. I told her that I wont.

After two hours, I told her that I will make a call to get some help, but she told me to don’t do so.

She wanted me to stay with her, because she needed me. Weakly she removed from her neck, the

necklace that I gave her the day before.

“I want you to have it. I want it so that every time you will be looking at it, you remember that there was

someone that loved you sincerely and accepted you despite your differences.” she told me. After saying

this, she Looked at me, and she silently closed her eyes.

I cried, “why did she had to pay for me, why? Why her?” I said inside me.

In remembrance

Two weeks after she was buried, my mother asked me to come live with her in the state of

Louisiana, in the United States of America. I went to see her again one more time.

“ I brought you your favorite roses, and this poem that I want to read to you.” I said. Then, I started

reading the poem,

In remembrance

The breeze is stopped

the wind has blown

and as a storm,

you passed

Oh beauty of the summer

where did you go

As the fresh rains of autumn,

you came to me

as the leaves of the trees,

you were gone

I will be where you will go,

you will be my country

I will be there,

whatever the place, no matter the obstacles

I love you darling.

“I left a week later, leaving behind me family, friends and my lost love. Sometimes, I feel a certain hate and

a big sadness; but I know that I have promised her to not cry.” I said looking at the necklace in the palm of

my hands.When I turned around, I noticed that I was alone in fact, the girl wasn’t on the bench anymore.

Then I saw a white paper, with something written on it.

“There was a man who told me that he wanted to keep me only for himself and no one else and this forever. This was a night before that I left him. Now, I want him to know that I loved him, I love him and I will always love him as no one has ever loved him. One day, we’ll be together again and this forever.”

Your eternal lover …

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