by Jordan Quidachay

/diˈvərjəns/ .n. a deviation from the norm; a setting of dissimilar characters in an unlike environment


It was a strange night. It was different, as of late everything has been so fucking divergent.

And as I walked through the darkness of Colfax Ave, I eventually stumbled upon a building illuminated solely by the neon ‘open’ sign which gave the impression that only debaucherous things happened behind the doors. It was somewhere around midnight. The inside of the African Café was tinged with almost only the same neon glow. Where the hell am I?

A woman of unknown African descent, dressed in all black accented with a white tie approached me. She barely spoke English. After her inquiry of my business here, she escorted me to a table in the back corner of the restaurant. I simply just observed. Where the hell am I was right. I sat and realized that the static sound of voices had no trace of English. It was brilliant.

The server returned for my order. I ordered Doro Wat. A traditional dish of Ethiopian cuisine. Essentially it’s a spicy chicken stew made with what’s called a Berberé (a mixture of spices, usually a paste) and Niter Kibbeh (a clarified butter with an Ethiopian personality) and it’s served with a spongy dough of sorts made of teff flour called Injera.

As the dish landed on the table, the aromatic spices graced my senses.  I was midway through my meal when the absence of silverware and its peculiarity finally dawned on me. I had eaten most me meal by hand unknowingly, but rightfully so, it was way the meal was meant to be eaten.

I let the place be. I sat in complete curiosity absorbing everything happening around me. Men crowded the bar and drank the night away speaking their natural tongue, the ebb and flow of shouts and laughter guiding the night along. The women were on the dance floor, dancing (a subtle shimmy of the shoulders and a groovy lateral sway) to the live band playing what sounded like a taxi driver talking to me with an autotuned voice over some thoroughly disenchanting synthesized two step beat. The servers, all of whom were women, letting a little shimmy and laughter out here and there. A deal of sorts being made at the far end of the bar between two men. Again, it was fucking brilliant.

I slapped a twenty dollar bill on the table and left. The fade of that ridiculously odd music was replaced with the disgruntled voices of three men on the street arguing, and then yelling at each other as I walked away. I reached my vehicle and turned up the stereo. Play that motherfucking soulfax.