Chloe and Yvonne (Chapter 1.1)

January 17, 2013

Being the family secretary all correspondence passes through my hands. It never ceases to amaze me how I never have a name in my parents’ letters to each other. It is always my daughter, your daughter, our daughter, she; anything but my name. It makes no sense; especially because my parents take naming very seriously.

However, that’s standard. What’s not standard is my mother saying I can go to Hollywood after high school. That is so startling I want to take advantage of it. On Monday, when I go to school, I’m going to sign up for the drama club. I’ve got stars in my eyes.

I’m used to being the sole drop of chocolate in a sea of vanilla. After-all, prisons aren’t exactly located in the hood. So it was no surprise  that only white faces looked at me when I entered  the room set aside for the drama club. However, it was surprising that the girl from the prison visiting room was there. Not only was she there but during introductions, I found out she directed most of the plays the school did.

The next play scheduled was Shakespeare’s Othello. When I heard that, I burst out laughing. Who on earth are they going to get to play Othello? The only brothers I’ve seen in the school are jock types firmly oriented toward sports. Chloe nodded at me and all eyes turned in my direction. It was scary for a minute but then I decoded the nonverbal communication. They wanted me to play Othello!

I could  hear my mother in my head: “They want you to not only deny your womanhood but also to play a miscegenator? Do you have to kiss Desdemona?” I could see her point but a role is a role.  Or is it? I told Chloe that I would have to think about it. Then I picked up my things including the script and left. I could hear her calling after me but I didn’t stop. She can wait.


Dear Sewafe,

Your daughter came home today with a look on her face combining both guilt and defiance. I didn’t even have to ask “what happened?” before she spilled the proverbial beans. That drama club wants her to play a black man in love with a white woman; not just any man, mind you but Othello, the original OJ Simpson. She tried to mitigate it by telling me that the director is a play girl whose father is in prison with you there. She said she saw the girl when she last visited you. Do you know the father? What can you tell me that will help me to help her navigate this? Self-determination applied individually, is, sometimes, a hard concept to unite behind.

Yain Kain

Dear Yain Kain,

The father participated in the Scourge economy. In here, he articulates revolution but I’ve been down long enough to see through a con. If you need visual representation, check out a television show called OZ. There was a character on that show that captures him perfectly: Adebisi except he doesn’t involve himself in homosexual behavior. The mother has been up here a few times.  According to the grapevine, their visits never go well. Now she just sends the girl.

Yes, self determination is a hell of a concept but it’s time to loosen the reins before she starts calling us the oppressor. We have to trust that we’ve educated her sufficiently for her to make the right decision(s).


Yet again it is as if I have no name but I do!  Allow me introduce to myself. I am Moyamba Funmilayo Sewafe Salma Yain Kain Yaa Asantewaa Nzingha Ida Lisabi Alice  Claudia Nomzamo Winfreda Wangari but everyone, except my parents that is, calls me Funmi.

6 Responses to “Chloe and Yvonne (Chapter 1.1)”

  1. Just discovered your blog. Thank you for stopping by mine. Love your style.

  2. indytony said

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  3. indytony said

    Very nicely written. Thank you for this.

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