Chloe and Yvonne (Chapter 2.0)

March 30, 2013

Dear Sewafe,

For the first time in a very long time, I am not coming to see you. I am taking Funmi to see a play called Desdemona in New York City. It is a reworking of Othello. Well, that’s not a totally accurate way of describing  it. It is more a reappropriation or retelling. Instead of Othello being the main character, Desdemona is. It’s written by Toni Morrison and is, apparently, the result of  her fulfilling some sort of contract she had with a white theater director.  You know that I’ve long adored Toni Morrison’s writing although I am not one for plays and such. However, I have to give Funmi an alternative to Shakespeare. She’s been driving me crazy. If her head isn’t buried in a bible-sized edition of the complete collection of Shakespeare, she is her room practicing, out loud, her role.

Yain Kain 

Dear Yain Kain,

What do you mean you’re not coming to see me? You know how much I depend on the visits. They keep me sane and help keep at bay some of the demons in here. To top off that bad news, you’re taking our daughter to see one of your womanist writers? You know I never approved of  your reading them and have told you so time and again. If these were the old days, I would forbid you from taking my daughter to the city where I was captured.  But these are not those days. The only thing I insist is that you contact and stay with one of the brothers, preferably Sundiata.  

Sewafe

New York? My name! New York! Who is Sundiata?

In Prison Town, USA, quiet, farms and a very white social order dominate. In New York City, cars, noises and smells on top of smells proliferate.  I’m too old to hold my mother’s hand but still, I stay closer than I do normally. Instead of flitting my eyes all about to take everything in, I keep them locked on her.  Out of the blue,  she started shaking her head and muttering under her breath about my father’s protective tendencies. Before I could ask, she was swept up in big bear hug by a man with the longest locs I’d ever seen. My mother was laughing and at the same time saying “put me down, Sundiata. I’m a grown woman with a daughter!” But I don’t think she really meant it because on her face was pure pleasure.

Next thing I know, I’m being swept up into the strongest arms I’ve ever felt outside of my father and hugged just as tightly as my mom was. I think I fell in love with him right then and there. Of course, I couldn’t express that or show how shocked I was that my mother was being so girlish and soft. Instead, I stiffened and ordered him to “put me down!”

He acquiesced without that wide smile leaving his face. “So you’re Funmilayo, huh? Sewafe has told me all about you!” Before I could respond, my mother pointed out our luggage. He picked up our bags easily and with my mom chatting his ears off, walked us to his car.

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