It happened many times. The moment you and your partner checked in a hotel, and the attending receptionist only looked at the white man beside you, as if he was alone, as if you did not exist. I thought I was just overreading and overanalyzing the situation, knowing my mind goes crazy most of the time. But it happened. And it is going to happen again now, in the future. I wanted to believe that my case was not singular, that it happened to other women, especially those in an interracial relationship, especially those who happened to be darker than their partners. But I do not have many friends who have Western boyfriends.
My pride was wounded, and I did not know how to lick my own wound then.
But I learned to make my presence known. I learned to make myself visible. I learned to be a woman beside a man, although the world around us just see two shades of skin color and the other is viewed as more valued than the other.
Earlier this year, I found a woman who shared the same sentiments. Ironically, she is a living character in a gem called Americanah, a wonderful novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The moment I read that part when Ifemelu entered a fancy hotel with her then white boyfriend, she echoed my sentiments on becoming invisible in the presence of a white partner.