NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 77

I couldn ’ t believe how easy this was . I was sitting here having a cup of coffee and sharing friendly chitchat with the guy . But what I was experiencing was anything but normal . In fact , nothing about the man was normal or ordinary . For starters , he sounded like James Earl Jones and the architecture of his body reminded me more of a monument than a man . Even as he relaxed in his chair — one hand fingering his coffee cup while the other rested on his tablet — his lean , chiseled body conveyed a roaring vitality or force .
As we talked , my eyes kept returning , like a moth to flame , to his hand resting on the simple black tablet . I had to know what was in it , what manner of activity had so fired him with the concentration I had observed earlier . I learned in short order that he was home visiting family but would return to London in two weeks . That he had left Guyana aboard a European commercial freighter , when he was very young . Since that time , he had traveled widely and worked in many great port cities around the globe .
“ Are you a writer …? I couldn ’ t help but notice your tablet ,” I blurted out .
He laughed . “ No , I cannot claim so exalted a title , but I do scribble a bit from time to time .”
“ I saw you working earlier … what are you writing ?” I cut to the chase . There was a feverish curiosity driving me . I had to know what was in that tablet . Meanwhile , sitting across the table from him was like being caught in an electrical storm . The force field around him seemed to be altering the chemistry of my body at the cellular level , up ending my thought process , stoking the fire in my brain . Suddenly , and absolutely out of character , I had an urge to ply him with cosmic questions that I had quashed years ago , since I was nineteen .
“ Well …” he smiled as his hand casually fingered the tablet . “ I ’ ve just been recording some ruminations … thoughts about certain esoteric matters … one might say secret things ,” he said guardedly .
“ Secret …?” I grinned incredulously . “ Secret from whom … the curious black American journalist ?”
He laughed , this time at himself . “ No , of course not ,” he reassured me , as his head turned to glance over the restaurant . “ But there are some things , my young friend , that you can ’ t talk just anywhere ,” he gestured toward the busy scene around us . “ Knowledge is a wonderful thing , a powerful thing , but there are some ears that are not quite ready to hear it . In such cases , knowledge can be dangerous .”
I was intrigued . Who was this guy ? The eerie thing was that some part of me wanted to trust him — an impulse that sharply contradicted my journalistic training . And strangely , I seemed to have lost all sense of time . The urgency of my mission to ascria , the tense situation at the house , my summit meeting with Eusi , all seemed far , far away — almost in another world .
“ You know , we ’ ve been chatting all this time , and I don ’ t even know your name . I ’ m Kamau ,” I extended my hand .
He hesitated . “ I have many names ,” he said . “ But you may call me Woodrow … Woodrow Winston ,” he took my hand in a firm grip . I later took note of the fact that the name he gave me was a combination of the names of an American President and a British Prime Minister .
“ So … Mr . Woodrow Winston ,” I lowered my voice and leaned forward , as if I were holding a microphone , “ what ruminations are you recording today ?”
He seemed a little taken aback . “ Well , actually …” he paused as he opened the flap of his tablet , “ I am writing the history of Earth .”
I leaned slowly back in my chair , my cool pose deflated . I could only imagine the look on my face . I laughed defensively . “ You say you ’ re writing what …?”
Woodrow Winston didn ’ t blink . “ As I said , I am writing the history of the planet Earth … how it came to be … how everything around us came into being — the ocean , music , animals , the mineral kingdom , climate … even man himself .