Fisseha arrived in America in May. He has seemed to master English, and family life, incredibly fast; but this week we were reminded of the vast distance the boy has traveled, how profoundly displaced he is.
“Fisseha, come on! Seth’s waiting!” Lee called up the stairs from the front hall. Seth waited for them in the car in the driveway.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“To Willy’s Mexican Grill, for lunch. Fisseha, Seth’s waiting!” he yelled again.
“TODAY?” Fisseha suddenly cried from the upstairs landing.
“Uh… ye-e-es,” said Lee. “Right now.”
“And I… like THIS?” cried Fisseha, showing that he was wearing shorts, flip-flops, and a t-shirt.
“Yeah, that’s fine,” said Lee.
“Okay,” said Fisseha doubtfully, and off they went.
Later that day, I asked, “Fisseha, where did you THINK you were going with Seth and Lee?”
“Oh!” he said. “I think.. Lee say…Seth.. will marry.”
“You thought Seth was getting married?”
(“Where did that come from? Is Seth serious about someone?” I asked the other kids. They shrugged.)
That night I realized that Fisseha had heard “Seth’s waiting” as “Seth’s wedding.” It was equally plausible to him that, given five minutes notice, he was about to attend his new oldest brother’s wedding, as that he was headed out for some burritos.