NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2013 - Page 155

“Hodi! Habari gani?” She called out in the musical Swahili spoken by coastal inhabitants, smiling a warm hello at him. “Am I interrupting something?” she said in English. Kwame held his pose for a moment longer, his fingers marking time. “Oh, no! Not at all...it’s nothing important, he said offhandedly. “Karibu! Karibu sana, dada!” He welcomed, hurrying to her aid as if he’d just noticed her presence. “Let me take your basket,” he offered as he removed an orange and green striped sisal bag filled with fresh fruits and vegetables from her hand. He propped the bag carefully against one corner of the desk and turned to embrace her, pleasantly titillated by her fragrance which reminded him of a potpourri of kitchen spices like vanilla, cinnamon and ginger root which she’d probably picked up at the market. “I thought maybe you’d forgotten about...” he started to say. It was a frivolous, childish thought that he’d never meant to voice. “Oh no!” she shook her head, baby dreads tossing like waves. “No, Kwame,” she said softly, biting her lip. “I could never forget.” “Karibu kiti, dada!” he said, offering her the only cushioned chair in the room. “You must be tired after your shopping. I always am. It’s more than a notion bargaining for every kilo of rice or yams these days.” “Don’t I know it! Asante sana, kaka!” She expressed her gratitude by adding the respectful title “kaka” or older brother as she sank into the chair. There was an awkward silence as they faced each other across the desk. “How have you been? I’m sorry I’m so late,” she said in one breath. “Don’t even think about it. It’s nothing,” he heard himself say. “I have more time than I know what to do with today.” “How’s the work going?” she asked, studying him. “Good. Everything’s good!” he said. And it was as he soaked up the warm glow of her presence. It was often like this with them. Words seemed to get in the way of the conversation. “And you, Anyika? Are you good?” “Yes, I know,” he said, already ashamed of his outburst. “Well...” he paused, egged on by an erotic tingle in his groin, “did you read my story?” “Yes!” she whispered as her smile receded. Her eyelids fluttered and Kwame missed the liquid rebuke for his breach of decorum. He had asked the very question that she’d absurdly hoped he wouldn’t. “Speak Oracle, speak! Kwame bounded out of his chair, a foolish grin plastered across his face.