NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 18 Issue 1 - Winter 2018 - Page 78

2008 . Omo River , Ethiopia . — Karo Villager
excerpt From: Another Kind of Madness: A Novel By Ed Pavlić (forthcoming in 2018 with Milkweed Editions) The song ended and Shame appeared from the kitchen, handed Ndiya a white towel You dry, ok? If you can’t find the place for something, leave it on the stove. She took the towel from his outstretched hand, walked into the kitchen and took a plate out of the dish drainer. Wiping it with the towel, she noticed Shame kneeling down at the stereo. I guess two can play this game, right? She kept at the dishes with two fingers wrapped in cloth sweeping inside a wine glass. Shame chants to himself, Six minutes, six minutes… uh, uh on — He raised up and Ndiya, without turning her head, watched his back as he walked the length of the apartment to the bathroom. The back of his head went from shadow to light, back to shadow and back to light just before he disappeared. He closed the door but left it ajar. She heard the bathroom fan, the slink of curtain rings, and the shower spurted into action. She heard his “six minutes” foolishness. Everyone their age knew “The Show.” But, that was a decoy. Then synth bells float in an empty space of cymbals — Ndiya’s eyes immediately begin to sweat. They feel exactly like her ginger-ized fingertips. And then a voice, “Whisper-ing-ing in his e-e-ear… and that the-ere’s nothing too good for us.” Tears now streaming, she thinks like Hell two can play. Echoed in how the singer’s voice broke the word “there” over different dimensions, Ndiya found herself in three places at once. She was drying dishes with slow-burning, ginger fingers, in tears, standing in Shame’s kitchen staring at the steam in the stripe of light next to the bathroom door he left ajar. Her mind blew back to her sublet table with the oatmeal and the meditation on the Bic Lighter phrase. Standing in these two places, she thought that Shame couldn’t play a game to save his life. He clearly didn’t know how to play. She thought, wrongly, that passing up all kinds of preliminaries and going straight in for the kill must just come naturally to the man. It wasn’t the even kill part, it was the “straight for” of the thing. But, straight for what, and for who? And from where? The ways he arrived at where he came at her from weren’t, what? Regular? Predictable? It was beyond that. They seemed to arise from another dimension— Then all that vanished behind Ndiya, age 10, in bed beneath her eight-hundred foot deep blanket, listening to her favorite song. The soft beat and synth chimes leading her into sleep. The voice wan, slight, and heavier than the blanket pinning the V of her legs to the sheet, “I’ll only be here for while,” and she wonders what that means. The singer blends “I just got to be me” and “I just got to be free” until you can’t tell the two words apart. The song rained portraits of women on her floor: her mother and her mother’s sisters, all her aunties, to which of whom she had no idea how or if she was actually related. The song rained women listening to the song. Singing along with the rain raining themselves listening to each other sing, listening t XX\Z[]ٝ]HYZ[[Y\HYXH]]]H[ HH[YHH\[Hۙ]]8'Yx'HYX[ ^x&Y[YX]8'YYx'H[\ x&YX\X]]ۈYYH\›YY[]\ˈ^HYYB][[Y x&YX\YX]]\ZH[H\]X\H\BY[]ۙH]\X\ً\ۙ[[HXܙ]܋[[ۛۈH[\\\˜[Yˈ]\[YYHX[[&][HY\[H]Y[Hܙ8'Yx'H[8'Yx'O”H[Y[X\YZ[[X]B[[[ݙXXHZYو\[] YYH\[\XHZY][\Y[HXHوY\ ]Z[YY[ۙ]][\Y\\B[]^H\H܋[Hۙ]Hܛ[\\ۂ[K[[KY[YY^HHX\\YHوHܙ\^x&Y[Y[ܛ^[ۙ ]\XZH\[\H^H]Y][&]]\ˈYZ]Y\Hx&YY[Z[[™]\][)H[H[[[H[Z[\[ۙ\Y[ݙ\YZ[œXHY\وHۙ[[]XY ]ZYY[\XHZYx&YX\ \X[HYK\X[BY[[\H[ H[YH][[[\][X\[”[Yx&\\ˈ]\H\˂H[Y]H]H܈Z\H[[ZY\۸&][Hۙ˜][]\[HܛHۙ™Y&][X] Hܛو\[B[[]X[۝HۙY\Y HH]H܈[[ۂZ\Z\HHۙHۙY BHXX\ۈZ[\[\[][[܋Y\[\Hۙ]\ۙY&][˂Y\[\\[\&\ۙX\H\[\ݙY\ۙ˂[Hۙ[]و]XH[[\[ZHH\YYY\[^Xx&\[\]\YKB%[ܙHX\H\HوY[H][ۙ™\\\[[Yx&\XK^XBY[\[YHݙ\\[]\›وZ[H[[ [\[X[K[HXKHY\\X\[XݙHH]K]\Y܎ ˈ[ Hۛ]8&\B\HY\ۈ[ۜHY] H\۸&]ۛHۛ] H\YXH[[]\\X\ˈ\YH[\˜\\Z[]\[\\YHY&]YH\[]X H\Y^H\ˈ[^[\BZ[[\Y[ Y\Y[BHH[Z\\[\H\[[ܚX\]H܈\H\۸&] [H[YH\[[]^K\B\H[^\ܙˈ[ H[^\™Yٙ[ۙ^KH[Y[X\BXۛوܛܙY[[ˈ[ H[Y[X\H^H\[\H[ۙ^HH\YK[B\[ݙ\\[\]]]\\X\KHۙ\[[YZH^XH[^\ۙ]š^H]و^Hو\[\&\™^Y\[]\\YH\\KHܙ]Y[\\[\B[^\X][H]H[ˈ]\›؝[\\][[][[ܙB]\H\[^\Y][™[H[ۋHYYXH] BYH\KAӘ]Y\[H]\HB[XYHY[][H^Z[˂\\[Y[\X]H ]\X[X\HۛX]\B\[\\\[[H8'[Hšۛ]8&\X[X\'HH]\]BY[YK[[\H\و[\Y]وHۙۂ[Yx&\\[[]]و\›ZHY]Y\K\B[ZHH\H[\Y[]ۛ[ܘ\\]H[HY]\H]XˈHX[XY[[HY] X[BHHX[\ˈX[]BܘZ[[]\ZH[[XYBXZ[][[H܈ZHB^H[ ][YH\YY\ B[XYHY[[]HY\وBܙY[[[[[\H[\HXۚ^Y\[H\ۙHو\\KX\Y\Y[[ܚY\ˈ] ]Y\XY\[YH]HؙBو\Y[\]Z[x&Y]\ۛۋ]\HY[[Y]\HZ[\^Y\ˈ][ZH[\[[[X[H H\[\X\KYY]]Y\\وY[[˂A[x&\H[]H^H[[[]\H[\ H۸&]\HY\\\\š[[]^\H[Bݙ\\KAx&\[YH\\KAx&\Y[[Y ۛBYH[ܙKAX\Hx&\[œYH\˂HZ[[\\H\H܋x&\ۙ\[]8&\XX[X]YZ[\܈^Xx&\YB[\\[HY\XH\\[X]\ˈH[Y[HY][Hۈ\X] H[H[H[\\و\™\YH] HY[و\[Y\]\[[^\XZH\Y[\Yx&\\\ˈH\YY\]^H[]H[وZ\\\Y[ HY]^H[ ^[ۙ] [\X[\وX\XZYܘ^H]H[ˈHX\\[HXx&\ٝXKA\KYKHۛ\x&\›\H[[ ]\%^x%H%H[&]\8%B۸&][HYH[ۙx&[[˜[]˂V[H\[¸%8'Yx'BBB[K[\[