NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2015 Volume 15.2 - Page 132

By GRACE OCASIO HANDS SWAY IN MOUNT VERNON, NEW YORK At eight, my hands wavered, prepped themselves, swooped up the music that churned in Great-Aunt Esther’s living room. I watched as my cousins, tall as nandinas, looked down on me, glided and bumped to the thump of James Brown’s “Hot Pants.” Slight in my velvet pant suit, my hands shook at the thought of sullying my great-aunt’s floor with my Buster Browns, afraid she’d thunder from her kitchen, its yellow light hurt my eyes, accusing me of wearing her red shag carpet down to snags. Aunt Glenda’s hands steadied my shoulders, steered me to the living room’s center. There, my hands struck air. Arms, two ropes whirling. My snapping fingers whipped Cousins Denise’s and Diana’s heads round. As I poked my elbows out, the two Ds became two pairs of stares, their sweaty fingers wired to their hips. 130 At first, my feet faltered, then cranked up, whizzing like a 45.