As I write this, I can feel summer at my back.
I can feel it blazing outside my window, the oppressive heat crackling on the concrete streets below, scorching the greenery, browning the skin, and leaving a hint of the earth burning in the air. It is a relentless season, one of reverie, sweat, fantasy, and adventure; best experienced with an open calendar and spirit, I believe.
Ah, the reverie of a tropical vacation: I remember it well.
My skin accepting a well-appointed kiss from the sun, drinks before noon customary, the ocean pouring itself over my new bathing suit, fresh seafood satiating my appetite and sending me into a luxurious afternoon nap, I stirring only at the chirps, hisses, bellows of the indigenous fauna. Plenty of nighttime hijinks were to follow, with me whipping around the narrows and bends of a tiny island in an open-roof jeep, the roads only lit by the glowing moon above.
As the title of this post suggests, I am a voracious reader–have been since I was a child. The daughter of an English professor and poet-cum-doctor, it was hardly surprising to find my head stuck in some novel (or two), my imagination propelled into adventures and storylines miles and miles away from my suburban environs.
The first time Sadia and I ever met, we ate gourmet donuts and lamb chops, and imbibed three rounds of fancy cocktails. We spoke of Isabel Marant, love interests, and our backgrounds, all of it in an irreverent tone that suggested a familiarity that pre-dated our meeting. The Germans call it “kismet”; Sadia calls it “a radical belonging.”
I think bell hooks wishes she had thought of that idea first.
If we are to believe the late, great Michael Jackson, Liberian girls have a history of coming and changing one’s world. Unsuspecting suitors and laymen, alike, fall susceptible to the enigmatic personas and ethereal allure of these “precious pearls,” forever altered. Certainly the stuff of love songs, but in so many ways, Jackson’s tale was pointed and true.
I never met the very Liberian girl I was named after. She was to make her homegoing years before I was to make my entrance, but my parents assured me she was a woman to know.
Whip smart, popular, outgoing, friendly, a presence; she was putting herself through law school and was the only woman my parents could conceive as my namesake. A feat, as I come from strong lines of matrilineal descent on both sides of my family tree.