The minute I begin to define myself purely based on someone else’s expectations, I no longer exist.
I no longer exist.
You find my accent sexy. I know. Maybe it’s my voice. This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard this. Yes, really. Especially from Americans. I must say you all are very easily impressed by anything that sounds like it comes from across the Atlantic, or even across the border, as long as that thing is accompanied by all the appropriate immigration documentation. Therein lies the fundamental difference between illegal and exotic. Yes, I do speak another language.
Je t’appartiens. Me lo wo. Rafet na, mashallah. Arrête de me dire des bêtises!*
My voice is sexy. I know it makes you feel uncomfortable. All I said was “hello”, and I can already see the perspiration bubbling at your temples. I could insult you in three languages but you wouldn’t understand, and you would think I was inviting you to bed. You see, I have taken this English you forced on me and have made it better than you could ever imagine. I can conjure scenes with my words that your mind would not be able to translate. You have caught your shirt on the rasp in my throat. You are now having difficulties untangling yourself. You do not understand why. I sound like Sunday mornings that should’ve been spent atoning for ancestral sins, like jagged nails dragging down the length of your back. I sound like the old piano in your grandparents’ basement, the one that hasn’t been tuned in decades but sends out haunting notes when you touch just one key. Only the black keys though, obviously. You are enthralled by me, because I laugh my mother’s laugh, the one that comes from my stomach and reminds me of someone that Maya knew. You can’t get enough.
*I’m yours. I love you. It’s beautiful. Stop saying stupid things. This is a random sampling of phrases I have used or plan to use when someone asks me to say something in another language for their entertainment.