The Outsider


The sun is up in the middle of the sky.

104º, the weather is hot, the wind is dry.

People are talking, drinking and sitting around a table of Songo’o.

Sellers are yelling on the streets to get people’s attention.

Children are playing soccer, dreaming of being the next Eto’o.

Moms are carrying their children on their back beside their bags.


Walking on Harlem’s streets, I keep tight those memories.

Already forty minutes past, I am thirsty, I need a drink.

I take a look around me.

Here I am, entering a Starbucks.

I see a line, what’s going on here?

I try to understand how I can get a drink

It is tough.

Everything is going so fast.

I take a closer look, but it’s already done

People are speaking fast, I can’t follow the pace

There I go, it’s my turn now. I don’t know what to say

“What may I do for you?” the barista asked.

I am zoned out…

“What can I do for you?” the barista repeats.

I look behind me. Angry people are staring at me.

I look up, fortunately I see a menu board,

I point at a drink,

The barista figures it out and says loudly “Hot chocolate”.

It’s not the drink I wanted, but I answer “yes”.


I feel ashamed that I can’t express myself as I used to;

Nobody to console me.

I miss my country,

where people are kind and compassionate.

I miss my skills,

my confidence and my ease when I speak in French, in Bassa, in Douala.

No French, no Bassa, no Douala anymore.

I miss my friends,

who know what to tell me when I am frustrated.

No Daniel, no Crispain, no Franck,

They are far away.

I miss my family,

they are busy with something else.


Fear about my future,

Regrets about leaving behind my comfortable life,

Sadness about my poor social life,

Shame on me I can barely communicate.


Big dreams, where are you?

I left everything for you and now you make me dizzy.

ALL Stories