But it was the third one that she particularly liked, and she read it a second time: The Touch
Something different, something true,
Otherly, something new
Very small, something extra large,
Quietly in charge
It is what you really are in your soul
Your start and your goal
Path, quest, your role
And it is, simply, you.
Someone touched her on her shoulder as she was thoughtfully reading that poem a third time. She turned around to see a young, very dark complexioned woman of about her own age peering questioningly into her face.
“Yes?” she asked, somewhat irritated.
“Sorry, I thought you were someone else. I’m sorry.”
Ada relaxed and smiled at her, then turned back to the poems. But then she was tapped again on the shoulder.
Quizzically she turned her head round again, a slightly confused, even more irritated look on her face.
The young woman hesitated again, then said:
“You look too much like someone I know –”
“I don’t know you –”
“Yes, no, yes I know. Actually, to be frank, this person is a man.”
“As you can see, I am a woman!”
“Please, don’t be offended … but … is your name Ada?”
Ada’s eyes focused sharply on the stranger. Her diction was clear and proper, she looked refined and was somewhat pretty, if not beautiful, with a small but african nose, a broad face and large, perceptive eyes. Her skin had that intense darkness that Blacks like to call ‘black beauty’.
“I beg your pardon – How did? -”
“See, I have a friend called Tony whom you resemble to a high degree and he once told me that he has a twin sister called Ada. So I was just wondering… if…”
Ada softened; and realised that everybody around them was paying close attention to their conversation; thus, simultaneously, she became self-conscious and shy. – of course!, Tony! Where was her mind! – such thoughts too raced immediately through her mind., reflected in her eyes, those treacherous windows of hers.
“You know Tony?” she asked in a lowered, nicer voice.
The young woman’s face suddenly lit up and she looked almost like a child. Radiant, naïve, open. Pure.
“Yes!” She struggled to keep her voice down. “My name is Ngozi. I knew him, er, in the university.”
“I see,” said Ada, feeling abruptly very uncomfortable. “Well, nice meeting you, Ngozi.” She turned.
Ngozi, confused, raised her hand to tap Ada’s shoulder a third time, hesitated, and then dropped it once more. Now she became aware also, for the first time, of the attention being paid her. She swept her eyes around and faces turned quickly away, conversations were struck up here and there, while a few understanding eyes surreptitiously melted friendly glances her way, then were gone too, and she was alone again…
Ada, in the seat in front, bent her head meanwhile into the sheets of paper in her hand, on the shopping bag on her lap, and, over and under, through and with the shudderings and other misadventures of the Molue, resolutely went into the assimilating of the fourth of the six poems – earthy moments…
– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.
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