Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Africa Night" and Other Things

As salaam alaikum,

Wow, I've written the most that I have in a long time. I probably wrote 30 pages of my story in the last week, easy. Pretty crazy...I haven't written this much since NaNoWriMo 2007. I can't believed this much life has passed! What can I say, I've been busy...

But thank God for friends, man! Thank God for friends and their significant others for being such militant blacks/Africans and coming up with the idea for this African/African Diaspora book club!

The book club is actually called Children of the Nile, and we actually never read books. Given that all of the members of the book club, which I have affectionately nicknamed "Africa Night," are Harvard and MIT graduate students, we don't really have the time to read a book every month. So instead, we watch documentaries, after which we discuss what we've watched, which usually turns to my friends' boyfriend getting on his soapbox and not leaving concerning his vision for Africa, with one of his friends joining him in disagreeing.

And then, it's midnight, and the train stops running around midnight thirty, so I usually have to leave at that point.

The book clubs, of which I've attended four now, I think, are always at my friends' boyfriend's place on MIT campus. Mostly MIT is represented, thus the predominance of males.

So I don't remember when the first book club was held, but I feel like it was late 2009. We watched this film called, Rabbit Proof Fence which is about the eugenic efforts of the Australians over the Aborigines in the early 20th century. I came and I was immediately impressed with the intelligence and insight of the group and looked forward to participating in the future. So far, I have not been let down.

My friend and her boyfriend/fiance (they're technically engaged, but she wants to keep that on the DL, so that's fine) are traveling with her family to his country insha'Allah in about a week's time, so they won't be hosting Africa Night anymore. However, they would like me to co-lead the group with another member of the group "who seems to come consistently."


I've been set up by people twice this year already. People think they're being sneaky, but seeing as I am the queen of sneak, the supreme emotions obfuscator, if you will, I usually can tell right away when someone's trying to be crafty. And making me and this dude co-leaders is sooo obviously a set-up.

...but we already like each other, so it's okay.

This entry would have been more explosive, but I gave in and told my mother the whole sordid tale. Sordid because...at 25 years old, I'm still such a kid when it comes to me liking someone else. I do this weird thing where I use unisex language...it's not that I'm necessarily trying to be orientation equitable at those times, I just for some reason never admit...that it's a man. I usually use language like, "What I'm looking for in someone," or "Someday, I'll have somebody." I couldn't even say aloud, "What I'm looking for in a man." It sounds too...ugh...

So yeah, this is interesting.

So I first met him when we watched Rabbit Proof Fence. He seemed like a nice, outgoing guy...friendly. Not my type, so I wasn't checking him out like that. [Ugh, talking about it like this already makes me feel silly.] But we watched the movie and we were laughing at each other's commentary and essentially had our own running commentary going the whole time. I was intrigued that he was finding so many things funny. As I got to know him more, I was impressed with his intelligence, how well-read he was, how up he was on so many things...and it was so easy for him. He carries himself easily with it, and he seems like a down-to-earth guy.

Ironically, my friends were trying to set me up with this Muslim dude, but they didn't understand...he was so conservative a Muslim, our conversation would not get very far past, "So, looking forward to Ramadan this year?" Once again, Muslim Relationship Dysfunction set in, and that went a whole lot of nowhere.

So I saw this guy a couple more times before he indicated that he was going to Asia, but the last book club that we were at together...I don't know, there was something about the interaction, and us, and I could tell...something was going to happen, sooner than soons ever been for me (for example, soon for me has been 10+ years...that takes too long to explain).

So months pass, he comes back to the States, I come back to Boston, and this is our first time seeing each other in months. I see him, complement his hat... And then during book club, I notice he keeps making a concerted effort to sit next to me. When there's no room on the couch, he sits at my feet. When there's finally room on the couch, he's sitting so close...

...and instantly, I have a flashback to the last time I've known for sure that a guy liked me. The year was 2004, and the venue was organic chemistry structured study group...and then a review for our exam. [Yes, it's actually been 6 years since someone not a street random has liked me...at least enough to act on it...wow.] It's happened other times, too far back to really recount.

And it was happening again...except, this time, I'm 25, not 19, and a whole lot more mature to know, okay, this is what's going on.

So he and my friend walked me to the T stop so I could catch the train prior to midnight thirty and then he blurts, as I get ready to go down the steps, "We should hang out." And excitedly, thinking finally, a guy making a move, I reply, "Yes, we should!"

So on Saturday, in celebration of Nigeria's 50th Anniversary of Independence (yes), we're going to this gala held by the Nigerian Student Association. Yes, because we are just that gangster that there are so many of us here, we can't just have an African Student Association, it's Nigerian.

At this point in the conversation with my mom, she asked me what his name was. I grinned, though she couldn't see it over the phone, and proceeded to tell her that his nickname...which is the same as my father's nickname.

...and she proceeded to laugh at me for a long time.

And so suddenly, in the course of 72 hours, I'm getting ready to go out with this guy who effectively has the same name as my father by extension of his nickname, a Nigerian, something that everyone who knows me knows I've never felt bound to do...

But it's not like I'm ending up with him. We're just hanging out...

But if my intuition serves me right, I have a feeling...it's not just going to be hanging out. Especially since we're book club co-leads now (in 72 hours, craziness has happened!), we're going to be in each other's lives for a little bit more.

Being such the girl that I am, as I rode back on the T smiling like I haven't smiled since the last time I saw MQ on the campus of UMich (like the Cheshire Cat, I used to say), against my better judgment jumping ahead to, oh my gosh, what if we start going out, and then, he meets my family, and then he introduces himself with the name my family knows my father by.

Maaannnn...of all of the men in the world, I'd have to start liking someone who, unfortunately, in some way, reminds me of my father. Me! Queen of the Anti-Elektra.

Serves me right!

So I said I wouldn't actually say anything until things panned out, but...the week is moving too slowly and too much is happening, so I say it now. Yes, he's Nigerian. And...no, he's not Muslim.

How do I feel about the latter? Hrm...ask me when it seems like for real we're going to be just more than friends at the end of this.

So, for the first time in my life, really, I'm celebrating Nigerian independence. So as MQ was the initial catalyst for me to become more Muslim, shall this man, who needs initials...I'll give him initials if anything exciting happens...make me more Nigerian?

Vamos ver, a gente!

1 comment:

  1. I swear, Chinyere, Our lives are like freaking mirrors in so many ways!
    ------ I too met a Nigerian boy once upon a time over there...and MIT was MY SPOT...lol... (totally appreciate the time I spent there).

    ok, enough nostalgia, Good luck!
    new (love--- dare I say it) is exciting!