By Jan Knappert
Read or Download A Choice of Flowers. Chaguo LA Maua: An Anthology of Swahili Love Poetry (African Writers Series, 93) PDF
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Additional info for A Choice of Flowers. Chaguo LA Maua: An Anthology of Swahili Love Poetry (African Writers Series, 93)
I was one of those terrible women who wait, tight-jawed, for their partner to finish speaking, then roll their eyes at his friends. But what he said embarrassed me sometimes. And often he’d say the words so slowly, with long pauses in between, like he was barely able to form a sentence. It wasn’t that. His brain had jumped to an unconnected thought that was more interesting. His mind was a butterfly, flitting from lilac to daffodil as the mood took it. I found that charming, then I didn’t. I’d always be marching ahead, wanting to get somewhere, and he’d be lagging back, enjoying the scenery.
All the potential heroes in the carriage looked away. What was I going to do? Quip, “Aren’t you big and brave, picking on me”? No way. Fear told me to change cars, and I did. Afterward I was cross. Why would anyone be like that? How dare they? But I was annoyed with myself, too. I’d run away! Why didn’t I stand up for myself? What could they have done to me in a carload of people? Stabbed me and jumped on my head, apparently, but I was spitting that I hadn’t fought back, not so much as a squeak.
Let them. Who was next? I scrolled, unamused, through people’s secrets. That day I wasn’t myself. I respect our applicants, I feel humbled by the trust they put in me, Nige, and Claw (especially in Nige and Claw). Mostly their quirks go directly to my heart. Our faults are part of what makes us unique. When Nick and I chose the diamond for my engagement ring, I picked an imperfect stone. I think Lavinia, his mother, was secretly appalled, but why would I want a flawless gem, with nothing to distinguish it from any other stone on any other woman’s finger in the whole of the Western world?