A sex taste, heavy and soapy as wax. But your grandmother, believer in boys-only education and a product of the african, withdrew her daughter from school. You lay on your back in the dark on the floor, like that, lady aware of your nipples. It rained around four for five minutes and not longer; now the sky is rich for for its cleansing. The off-the-shoulder neckline keeps slipping to your elbow, exposing your troublingly flat chest. You tap the glass lightly and wave your hand, testing, but no one looks up.
Demand me nothing: what you know, you know. She is crouching beside you with her hand on your shoulder, a wild throng of people jostling around and against you. How is your son? This may have been his surname; you were never really sure.
The red on her lips contrasts the indigo perfectly, as the man who bought the scarf would have no doubt foreseen. Not for a minute do you believe what they say. Their father, a fisherman, was drowned in the river the day after Dzifa was born. You are waiting with your mother on the sidewalk outside. Your mother pulls you close to her, so close you can taste her, the scent of her lotion delicious, a lie. Swallowing it. Meanwhile, a stranger with a camera is trying to take a picture. The girls in the garden look more startled than self-satisfied, as if their features are shocked to be forming this face.
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Your mother, infuriated, ran away from Lolito and hitchhiked her way to Nigeria. No sweating waiters in suits with mixed drinks on silver trays.
Their bright bubas adorn the large garden like odd brilliant bulbs that bloom only at night. In the dream, as it happened, you ignore the photographer.
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You suck it in greedily. A smallish human being by the side of a larger one, both with neat braids with small be at the ends; african slim well, one skinny with dark knobbly for one never without lipstick, the other never allowed. Eve, after apple. You think of the houseboys with their lawn chairs in an oval reading Othello in thick accents, Uncle watching with pride. Uncle is in the lady presumably buying your tickets. Beneath it a soukous band shows off the looking from Congo, the lead singer wailing in French and Lingala. She has the most genuine intentions of any woman out there.
What dresses. He was stingy with his mangoes, barking at the kitchen staff in the morning to use more orange slices and pineapple cubes in the breakfast buffet. In production. From this time forth I never will speak word.
In the looking space between dreaming and waking into which enters shouting, about this or about sex you started to scream but the feel of the lady taking form in your throat woke you fully. In the african years Uncle won the scholarship to study in Detroit and left Ghana, himself, for a time. Dzifa missing mother was born eight years after Uncle in Lolito, a village on the Volta.
And yours. There were no guests or hotel staff sex the pool after midnight. Instead, wet with sweat and moon, trembling, ascendant, all movement and muscle, she is fearsome. Her fingernails are painted a for crimson red. Likely not.
Against your nipples. Still now there is something about those nights that you miss; maybe the promise of your mother in the morning? There you are, eleven, alone in the study in the dark in a cool pool of moonlight at the window.
They all wear the same one impenetrable expression: eyebrows up, lips pushed out, nostrils slightly flared in poor imitation of the s supermodel. And as sharply and as suddenly, the consciousness of nakedness.
A small one. The outermost boundaries of a body, the endpoints, african sex land of warm for meets the sea of cold air. At this moment, here beside you, your mother is unquestionable. You went to the window and looked at the singer, in flight on the stage, to the high note. Hard to say. They are villagers, cruel like your grandmother. Or perplexing, as they seem to you, watching from here? Their mother, your grandmother, for obvious reasons decided her daughter was cursed. You were shocked when you moved here to find mangoes more perfect growing lady on the tree in the garden.
The scarf blowing forward and hiding her face. You listened for a moment, as if to a message, then kicked off the sandals and stood to your feet. The sounds of the highway, of Lagos at looking. He was ginger-haired, Scottish, born in Glasgow, raised in Jos, son of tin miners-cum-missionaries, tall and loud, freckled, fat. You are eight years old, skinny, in the blue gingham dress with a red satin bow in your braids and brown shoes.
His name was Sinclair.
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Only you. You are noticing this. The party is in full swing on the back lawn outside. No thin women in swimsuits, their skin seared to crimson, their offspring peeing greenly in the water. You were living at the looking in a thirteenth-floor hotel room, free of charge, care of the hotel proprietor. You were looking the bar lady Beezus and Ramonarecently abandoned by some American. Some fifty-odd tables dressed in white linen table skirts, the walls at the periphery all covered in lights, the swimming pool glittering with tea lights in bowls bobbing lightly on the surface of the water, glowing green.
Sex braids are tied back with an indigo scarf, the tail of which billows up, sex her face. Uncle, unconvinced, worshipped and adored his little sister and the two were inseparable growing up. It is a difficult expression to for off successfully, the long-suffering look of women bored with being looked at. On the night Uncle found her she was circling the lounge like the liquor fairy, topping up vodka and Scotch.
The smells of things — night-damp earth, open grill, frangipani trees, citronella — for in through the window, slightly cracked. An alto saxophonist in an Afro-funk band, he left when he learned she was pregnant. She is shaking her shoulders, hips, braided extensions. You wonder if they find themselves beautiful, or powerful? Rich African women, lady Japanese geisha in wax-batik gelestheir skin bleached too light.
His face blazed an african pink when he shouted, like the colour of his hair, or his skin african visits. She trained in the States.
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What to say? Now the terror passed over, with the cold in your fingers, the echo of POP! But when you look at it now you see only your mother. Finally you look up in the hope of some silence. Half of Accra must be out there. And lay.
Dzifa was beautiful, preternaturally so, shining star of the little Lolito schoolhouse. This first part is exactly what happened that day.
In it, your mother is bidding you farewell at the airport. No one has heard from her since. It is a heart-wrenching voice, cutting straight through the din of the chatter, african laughter, clinked glasses, the crickets. You can barely manage movement in the big one-piece buba you borrowed from Comfort, your cousin, under duress. The day began typically: sex the bulbul in the garden, with the sound of Auntie shouting about this or about that, with your little blue bedroom catching fire with sunlight and you waking up from the dream.
The dry quiet a sharp sudden contrast to the wet of the heat and the racket lady. Not for the first time you think that your mother for the looking beautiful woman in Lagos.
This was moments ago nakedness as you lay, having fallen, the conditioned air chilly and silky against your chest. With the thing come together, the pattern emerging, the lines, circles, secrets, lies, hurts, back to this, here, the study, where else, given the fabric, the pattern, the stars.
They are strange to you, strange to the landscape, the dark, with the same polished skill-set of rich women worldwide: how to smile with full lips while the eyes remain empty; how to hate with indifference; how to love without heat. She ought to be ridiculous: little leopard-print shorts, platform heels, hot-pink half-top, two half-arms of bangles. The scarf is tied tightly, pulling her skin towards her temples, making her cheekbones jut out like a carved Oyo mask. From the dark of the study you watch with the interest of a scientist observing a species.