Real Stories

Missing Bae

My mother often asks me: ‘when is Alagie coming back? I miss to see him around’

Other times she insist; ‘When Alagie returns we could go for lunch together, just the three of us’. Truth is, I miss my babe too and enjoy his company.

You see, Alagie is my fiancé but he lives in West-Africa and I live in Europe. I became a master in waiting and dealing with missing my bae.


Alagie learns my mother tongue bit by bit. Though fluent in English and a seasoned traveller he cannot enter my country without speaking the language. There must be proof he is Western enough in form of tests upon tests. In return I learn how to say ‘I’m at peace’ in a language so foreign that ‘saying I’m at peace’ is not even an expression in my native language. But I am at peace thanks to Alagie and the many blessings I received during our journey.


Because it is a journey. We didn’t realise the resistance from my government we would get on that sunny afternoon in March last year when we discussed Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth by Wole Soyinka over mint tea and French fries. The first time we locked our eyes, our smiles and shared our lips, was the beginning of many travels back and forth between our continents. It was eye opening to set foot in a country so alien to me, so different in all aspects. A comparison between our two countries is impossible but it changed my life forever for the better.


His country, the land of ‘teranga’ (meaning a culture of hospitality), has welcomed me with open arms. When I think of my second country I think of jollof rice, sun beaming on my face, the sea hitting the rocks. Sipping on cool ‘bissap’ (a local drink made of mint, sugar and hibiscus) and seeing kids play football on the beach. Women carrying babies on their back at the market. The smell of smoked fish. I see my fiancé’s face smiling, with a little gap between his teeth, which is regarded as a beauty mark in his tribe. His auntie embraces me in her fisherman home. The world is at peace for now.


In his country my white skin makes be a ‘toubab’ (a foreigner) but they see me as their family. My family sees Alagie as their new found son and my friends regard him as their friend. My country, however, is hostile to our cosmopolitan love affair. The people are not our issue, it’s the government. A government should serve it’s people. Here the government asks Alagie whether he was tortured because of the marks on his shins. Alagie laughs it off. The scars on his shins are from playing football without shin protection. The truth is that he is only here as a student who fell in love with a white lady.


We believe in people not in bureaucracy. We want to live in Europe so we can flourish together and be able to help his country to develop. Europe needs people like Alagie and me. Young people with fresh ideas and who are willing to built bridges between different cultures. Europe is not a museum, it’s a living, tiny organism in the universe. To give you an idea; Europe can fit five times in the continent of Africa. We in the West might not realise but we need Africa as much as Africa needs us. We need to accept that our future looks radically different from our past.


That’s why we are waiting. Waiting for the results of the language test Alagie took for the second time because his accent was too thick. Waiting for the civil servant to check all of our documents, including a collage of pictures, screenshots of Whatsapp-messages and flight tickets, so we can finally live our life together. We are building a home of love out of a house of paper. It’s been already six months and it will take probably another three months.


Time is moving slow when you’re not with your loved one. So I draw and I write to deal with my impatience. I already have a cupboard full of little paintings, poems and other memories. We keep faith. I burn a candle every Wednesday. In my heart I take Alagie wherever I go. We call and send cute pictures of our daily rituals. We inhibit our time apart. Because we believe it was destiny that brought us together that sunny afternoon in March last year.


My mother had a vision, a sort of dream, of my future as a grown woman. She saw me walking on the beach with white sand between my toes and palms waving. The waves rolling in. My hand holding the hand of my future husband. Between us a child drawing letters in the sand with its little index finger. We live in a blue house with a white gate and a cat and a dog. I hope and believe this vision will become reality.





by CB

My name is Clara Bolle and I live in The Netherlands. I'm a writer and an artist. For more information about me and my work, please visit clarabolle.com.


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