We sat in silence drinking our tea hoping the guest we were waiting for would be delayed, I wanted to get this over with as soon as possible. Across from me was a woman from Iran who spoke four languages and made me look bad as I struggled with English.
“Jasmine, you look like…”
“Um, it’s Jane.”
“Oh, excuse me, ” she apologized with her thick accent, ” you look like you have some middle eastern in you.”
The company I was with laughed. The infamous joke of how middle eastern people could hunt me down, or smell me out due to my trademark nose.
“Yes, I’m mostly Latin but do have Arabic ‘blood’ in me.” I said this with a smile. Hinting that I really didn’t know all the details of my background and how I was a mutt so she could stop with the questions. This woman never seemed to laugh or crack a smile with my small tea time jokes. I then made a comment that she probably called me Jasmine because of Aladdin…she was not amused.
I quickly drank the Arabic tea. It was delicious. The heat of the tea mixed in with my sweater that was covering my fat, sitting next to my ex and his mom, along with 3 middle eastern people staring at me from all directions caused me to sweat everywhere.
I sat there in pain thinking over again who I was with. My ex who is leaving to Texas on me left, and his mother to my right. There I was…in the middle. Not knowing Spanish, Arabic, or Farsi. The languages spoken throughout the house. I was on mute for the rest of the evening, with only casual social smiles to let them know I understood something.
Finally the woman’s sister arrived. We could eat.
I wasn’t excited, neither was my ex or his mother.
About an hour ago we shoved our faces at Newport beach with big bowls of Mexican cuisine. We we’re stuffed to the bone, but couldn’t say no, especially to this woman who made a feast to us, was starving herself and was polite enough to not eat till we came.
We had to mentally prepare ourselves.
I sat down and was served rice with meat on top with an option of chicken on the side. Along with bread, chilies, and the most delightful little green things that I don’t remember what they were called.. It was wrapped from grape leaves with meat inside and served with some yogurt dip of some sort. The rice stayed in my mouth most of the time, along with the meat. I washed it all down with sprite and pretty sure the soda was a factor of the random burps I tried to hide in a napkin. I couldn’t do it anymore.
Across from me I saw my ex’s mother struggle with every bite. Then to my left my ex struggled.
For some reason this woman picked on me. She gave me more bread and wouldn’t take no as an answer. She kept serving me even after I said no.
I was on the verge of puking.
I had horrible images of me blowing out chunks and the half digested green things spewing out and hitting the elderly Arabic woman in the face.
I had to keep it in!
When I thought it was finally over…it wasn’t. It was time for dessert and tea.
By this time I don’t think the food was down my throat anymore. It sort of just piled once I opened my mouth.
My stomach grew ten times it size, I was sweating but couldn’t take off my sweater because I blew up even more. To top it all off my hair was a mess due to the beach and with my self-esteem and people staring at me, this wasn’t helping.
The food wasn’t that bad either. It was the questions.
“Why don’t you go with him to Houston? He’s the gentlemen?”
“So do you believe in marriage. Son, when are you gonna have kids, I feel like you’re our son!”
“You don’t even speak Spanish?!”
and my favorite
“You can’t cook? Son, did you know she couldn’t cook. Oh no.”
Every time I answered their questions I felt like I was going to be stoned immediately.
Out of all of this, I spent the night with him…
…and I couldn’t take a shit.
The next day wasn’t pleasant.