“What is your name?”
“My name is Ayoka Boahinmaa.”
“Beautiful name. What does it mean?”
“Ayoka means a joy bringer and Boahinmaa means one who has left her community.” He waits for more explanation, but she is not ready to give that story. “It’s a long story.”
“Well, my name means simply one who sees the truth.”
“Ayoka Boahinmaa, I would like to take you out to dinner, but I don’t have much time to court you properly.
“What is the rush?” He ignores the question.
“Can I offer you something to eat from the kitchen?” she nods. N’Jadaka sends word to the chef to bring something special.
Not that Ayoka doesn’t feel like she would make an awesome lover for any man. This man is the King of Wakanda. She couldn’t help wondering out loud, “Why me?”
N’Jadaka seemed to be shocked by her question. “I like your energy. You make me feel good; at ease. And, you are gorgeous; my kind of beautiful. I don’t expect you to fall in love with me overnight or anything, but I must warn you,” he says smugly. “I expect that you will fall and there will be animalistic lovemaking, marriage, and babies.”
“Whoa! In that order?!, Ayoka jokes. “You have all this figured out.”
“What would be your preferred order?”
Looking directly into his eyes, Ayoka says, “animalistic lovemaking.” *long silence*
N’Jadaka laughs hardily.
“Hey. I’ve never had sex with a western foreigner. I’m curious.”
“Well, they say in my country that curiosity killed the cat and I assure you I plan to,” N’Jadaka says with a sly grin. “You don’t want to have my babies?”
“Honestly, I’ve never pictured my life with babies. And, marriage is an unnecessary technicality.”
“Nah, that’s just because you never met me.”
Smiling at his cockiness, “Why are you so interested in starting a family?”
His whole demeanor changed. “I’m afraid I may not be around long. I must leave a part of me behind.”
“Are you ill?”
“No. Some of your people are not happy I have taken over the throne, you know, killed the King. They don’t agree with my plans for Wakanda refusing to listen to reason. My way is the only way.”
“What way is that?”
“Liberation through war. Freedom must be taken.’
“I don’t understand. Our people are already free.”
“Yes. Wakandans think they are free and safe; their freedom is based on a fallacy. The fallacy that is hidden in this pseudo-freedom. They have believed in this way of thinking for centuries; to hide in plain sight while the rest of the world burns. Many black people across the African diaspora are not free due to lack of resources. Our people have been kidnapped, sold, enslaved, killed, and under continuous discrimination. They are in desperate need of Wakanda’s help. Acquiring the throne was the only way to bring aide to my people. America is sick with racism and my fellow African-Americans are suffering tremendously. I feel like I’m talking too much. How do you spend your days?”
I force myself not to flood him with questions. “Well, my life is not as politically driven. I am a piano instructor. I teach 4th to 7th graders at the local preparatory school how to play the piano.”
“The piano was my father’s, first love. He insisted that I learn under his tutelage. Luckily, I grew to love it and now I can’t live without it. Unfortunately, he is unable to play piano like he did when he was younger. Do you want to learn to play the piano? I provide private one on one lessons.”
He smiles, “nah, I’m musically inept. Believe me. There is no hope for me.”
“You would be surprised. I’ve heard I’m quite magical. There has never been a student incapable of learning under my instruction.”
“You are so sexy. ”
“Why do you say that?”, while blushing.
“Your confidence. It’s always been my weakness. It can be hard to find a woman with true confidence back home. Our society does not encourage unapologetic black women to be confident, especially not plus size women.”
“Plus size? What does that mean?”
N’Jadaka realizes that Ayoka doesn’t understand some of the American vernacular. “A woman’s size is heavily policed and judged in my country. Women feel so much pressure to be thin that many opt to get surgery to change their appearance. Europeans dominate media. They flood our minds with images of white beauty standards. Even our hair in its natural state is frowned upon when attempting to attain employment.”
Ayoka gives all of this a lot of thought. His home sounds so sad and oppressive.
Suddenly there is a knock at the door. The chef brought an array of traditional West African dishes; jollof rice, beef, plantain, fufu, peanut soup, and puff puff for dessert. N’Jadaka waits patiently while she washes your hands in the bowl of water sent with the dinner and then he does the same. The King waits while she picks out her dinner choices. He went for the obvious; jollof rice, beef, plantain. She eats her fufu and peanut soup for in silence; digesting their previous intense conversation. She looks up and catches him watching her dipping her fufu in the peanut soup. “Do you want to try my food?”
He looks up with mischievous eyes. “As a matter of fact, I do. But, I’m not sure how to eat it properly. Show me.”
What a shame. She moves closer to him, she pulls a piece of fufu from her plate and then dips it into the peanut soup. She slowly brings it to his mouth. Staring at her he eats the food right from her fingers. She waits to see if he likes it, “Nandi, kunene?” And, then he leans in to kiss her gently on the mouth. “Indeed, delicious.” She is shocked that he knows her language.
She pulls her focus from his piercing eyes. “Now, you try it. You must use your fingers.”
He leans over to pull a piece of fufu from her plate, dips it into her peanut soup and brings it to her mouth. “Zidla.” Her heart is racing and embarrassed at the possibility that she may have sucked his fingers a second too long. She looks down blushing and clears her throat. “Well, as you can see I love to eat.”
“I see. I love to eat as well,” grinning.
He brings her attention back to the puff puff waiting to be devoured. “Let’s not forget dessert.” They both stare at each other hungrily.