Mi NOvio

Leandra Pedretti - Ecuador


March 13, 2018

I was flipping through my Spanish exercise book the other day (searching for any notes to aid me in my never-ending struggle with the subjunctive tense) and I stumbled upon a super rough poem I’d jotted down a few months ago. It was written in a state of extreme frustration and although it’s set/heavily influenced by my time in Ecuador, it is in no way confined to my experience here. In a sense, it’s been a lifetime in the making. Side note: there are a lot of cultural references that I’ll asterisk and explain later on. Before we get started, though, it’s probably worth noting that novio=boyfriend. Here we go…

mi NOvio 

my novio likes long walks on the beach

forcing meaning onto star constellations

and never misses a sunset

my novio will eat all the vegetables that i sneakily push to the side

and knows all the words to whiskisito*

my novio dances salsa and never cries out when i step on his toes

but my novio is relieved that i never wear heels

my novio call me corazon and i call him my älskling**, because we’re multicultural like that

my novio makes me his woman crush wednesday and likes all my instagram photos

my novio even deleted his tinder

my novio is like oreos, humitas and agua aromatica*** 

meaning my novio is a SNACK

my novio is six foot two****

my novio understands that you can’t be racist against white people and it doesn’t matter what she was wearing and water is not wet

so i overlook the fact that my novio’s puns are better than mine

my novio makes me feel safe

like the calmness that follows adrenaline rush of “i can’t find my phone oh it’s in my hand”

or walking down the street alone at night with keys lodged between my fingers

my novio has never met my mother or my friends

although i’m sure they’re seeing him too

see, the only people i’ve introduced him to are sidewalk terrors that won’t take “no” for an answer

until they find out they’re infringing on someone else’s property

the men who make vapour of their rejection

waft it away and try again

do not make vapour of my novio

he means more to them than my obvious disinterest

so i use my novio as a weapon

as my “no”

at times i feel like i use him as an excuse until i realise i have nothing to be sorry for

it wasn’t love at first sight with my novio

and he was far from my first choice

i only gave him a shot after 

“no”, “dejame solita” and “basta”*****

just didn’t seem to work out

the break up went something like

“it’s not you; it’s the men who feel entitled and obligated to remind me again and again that the space i occupy in this patriarchal society is not mine and i should not feel safe in it.”

(earlier draft: “it’s not you; it’s the patriarchy”)

the first time i told anyone about my novio

he didn’t have a name, a face or a personality

but by now i’ve talked about him so much that he might as well be real

most of all, he is everything that the man catcalling me is not

(so like, a decent human being)

my novio likes long walks on the beach

protecting me from riptides and hidden glass

and sharks who make me bleed lies

*An Ecuadorian song that will be played at any given public event. Contact Alex Moreno for more information. 

** Swedish term of endearment. Along the lines of “my love”. 

*** A type of sweet tamale and tea, respectively. 

**** 1.88m

***** “no”, “leave me alone”, “enough”

Leandra Pedretti