Love · Short Story

Betrayal, Love, and Langano (ZOMA Mag article)

Thursday was the most exciting day in Hanna’s life.

Thursday was the day, her father finally agreed to the Langano Trip that she’d been begging him about for years.

“Thank you, thank you; thank you!” She said to her father as she kissed his cheeks over and over again.

The last time she went to Langano was two years ago with her parents, two older sisters and a younger brother; it was also her first time. Her parents’ strictness has been very tough on her college social life. As her classmates went to Langano or Sodere every chance they got, she stayed home babysitting her 4-year-old brother.

However, this year was different; she was 21 years old and also a senior. There was no way she was going to take no for an answer.

“Alright, alright.” Her father held her arms and forced her to kneel in front of his chair to his eye level. “Now promise me; no drugs, no alcohol, no boys. If I hear one thing about my baby girl misbehaving in Langano, it’s…”

“I know, Abaye!” She exclaimed and stood up. She started to walk away as she spoke because she didn’t want this conversation to go any further. “It’s over for me. I get it! All you can do now is trust me and trust that you raised me well.”

The more he started to warn, the guiltier she felt. She didn’t tell her parents that she was going with a group of men, some of whom she didn’t know. With that, she rushed up to her room. Once inside, she locked her bedroom door and picked up her cell phone. She was freaking out; she could see her hands shaking as she dialed his number.

It rang. Then again. And for the third time.  Come on, pick up, pick up!

He finally answered.

“Hello?” His sweet voice echoed from her ears to her heart and she got nervous again.

“Hey, guess what?” She stood in front of her full-length mirror, holding her phone in one hand, the other hand shaking by her side.

“Did you talk to him?” He asked curiously.

“Yes, and he said OK! Oh Gosh, I’m so excited; no word in the dictionary could explain it!”

“That’s great, baby. I promise you, we’re going to have the best vacation ever!”

“You really mean that?”

“Definitely.” He assured her. He paused for a second. “I love you.”

OH MY GOODNESS!! Hanna’s heart stopped beating for a moment. Those three words were new to her ears. Hanna and Dawit have been dating for about 6 months now, and it only escaped out of her lips once and never again. She took a deep breath and a few seconds of silence before she shyly said, “well, I love you too.”

He giggled softly, “I hope so.”

The rest of their conversation was different than the usual. Somehow, they got really deep into their respective lives and uncovered new things about each other. After an hour, Hanna was madly in love with her boyfriend all over again. They repeated ‘I love you’ to each other, said their goodbyes and hung up.

She threw herself, face down, on her bed, excited again, and started thinking about the trip.

This was the first time that Hanna and her boyfriend would be spending a whole weekend together, and at that, out of town! She could do whatever she wanted and no one would be there to stop her. She was going with Dawit and all of his friends. Although she didn’t know most of them personally, Dawit promised that they were all cool and that she would feel included all the time. She was going to be sharing a room with him and as she thought about that, the more nervous she got.

I mean, who knows what he wants to do with me in the room. We’d be all alone and… Ahh, stop it, Hanny! Everything is going to be all right. He loves you, and he would never make you do something that you don’t want to do.

She forced herself to believe that. She wasn’t going to do anything with him; at least she was not planning on it. She was a virgin and she was going to stay that way till she got married.

After a couple of minutes, she grabbed her phone again to call her bestfriend.

“Alemye! You’ll never believe this! Daddy said I can go to Langano!” She started gushing her story out to Alem without even a hello. “And Dave promised that I’d have the best time ever! He also said ‘I love you’ for the first time!”

“Aye! You better be careful, Hanny. You never know what these guys are actually up to; that’s the kind of stuff they say when they try to get in your pants.” Her best friend advised. She was always there for her and spoke frankly in these kinds of moments. “I’m really happy for you though. So, do you know his friends?”

“Not all of them. Dave said there’s going to be Adam, Teddy, Samson and Aman. There are also going to be a couple of girls there, Blen and Hiwot. I think Samson and Aman are trying to get with them or something. But I’m really cool with Teddy and Adam though; I’ve met them a few times; everything is going to be fine.” She paused for a moment, and then continued. “And, don’t worry about Dave; we’re not going to do anything. I’ve told him a million times; marriage.”

Hanna felt confident about the whole thing once she heard herself say it out loud.

“Your parents still think that you’re going with me, right?” Alem asked, knowing the exact answer.

“Come on, yene konjo, I have no choice.” She soothed her friend with a soft voice. “You know I still haven’t told them about Dave yet. I need them to know him as my friend before I drop the bombshell on them.”

“Oh, Goodness! I just hope you don’t get tangled up in your own mess.” Alem warned again; this time firmly. “And I repeat; be very careful.”

“Don’t worry! I really do have this thing covered. It’s a simple plan that will be executed perfectly.”

The two best friends talked for another hour about graduation, work and other friends and finally said their goodbyes. As soon as she finished, Hanna dashed to her closet and flung it wide open.

Okay now, wardrobe time.

Her closet was so full that her clothes flooded out like a waterfall. She dug into the sea of clothes and tossed all her beach outfits onto her bed. She turned around, put her hands on her hips, took a deep breath and spoke to herself out loud.

“Hannye, you’re only going for 3 days! Prioritize immediately!” She then exhaled loudly and dug into the mountain of clothes that she had just piled up. At the end, she put three of her favorite outfits that smartly showed off her best features, into the small backpack that she picked to be the best for her trip. Hanna picked up every last thing that was necessary and stuffed it in the bag before going to bed.

Sweet dreams, Hanny. She thought as she fell asleep.

Early Friday morning, Hanna smiled awake to the sound of her favorite Katy Perry song, “Teenage Dream”. She realized halfway through the song that it was also her alarm clock sound and rushed out of her bed.

After taking a fast shower, she quickly put on her favorite skin-tight jeans and a cute graphic t-shirt, ready to get out of the house. She looked at her watch that read 5:30AM. Oh, I’ve got time. She went to the kitchen to meet her mother cooking breakfast.

“Hey, Mommy.” She slowly spoke to her. “I’m almost on my way out. What are you doing up this early?”

“Well, it is your first time going on a trip without your family. It’s only fair that I pack you great food, just in case you don’t like the food there.”  Her slender mother grabbed a plastic bag and handed it to Hanna. “I packed you Ambasha, and some other cookies for the ride.”

“Mom!” Hanna complained instantly. “I will eat whatever everyone else eats! I won’t have my mother packing me lunch; I’m not a little girl, you know?”

“Well, share it with everyone then; I packed enough for all of you!” She snapped back. “By the way, you said Alem is going with you, correct?”

Hanna hesitated for a second. “Uh, yes.” She quickly turned around to avoid eye contact and sat on the chair beside her. “I told you, we’re picking her up after they pick me up.”

“Good. You should have some food in your stomach before you hit the road.” She laid down some more Ambasha in front of her daughter with a cup of milk. “Your father also wanted you to have some money for emergencies.”

Hanna gratefully took some money rolled up and counted it. 600 birr. Wow, how generous. “Thanks, mom. Tell dad I said thank you and bye as well.” She kissed her mother on the cheeks.

She quickly ate her breakfast, relaxing a little because her mother didn’t ask any more questions, and 15 minutes later, she walked out the house to wait for their minibus by the gate.

Right as Hanna stepped out, the minibus pulled up in front of her with Samuel driving and all the rest of them in the back. Ahh, they’re right on time. She smiled from ear to ear.

Then, she saw her boyfriend sitting with Blen with her arm wrapped around his. Her heart sank all the way down to her toes and she could barely move. Oh, hell no!  She thought as her smile slowly faded away.

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