What would sex be like if we were never taught that our bodies are dirty and sinful? What would it be like to make love if you believed my body was pure and full of light, and I was convinced that yours was just as sacrosanct?
You showed me; that night in Dakar. Remember? It was the afternoon you picked me up from the airport. On the surface, it’s such a cliché. Ours is a story about a woman searching and a man showing up with a map to guide the way. It’s one about getting grooves back and last holidays and sankofa. And as familiar as it may sound to anyone else, of this I am certain: There are few people in the world who find God in the sweat and embrace of a total stranger. I think if they did, the world would be a very different place.
I pick a taxi at random at LSS International airport.
“Bonjooo. Puh-too m’emmenerrr à la Casa Mara?” I know my French is broken and horrible and has remnants of Wisconsin where I’ve lived for the last 25 years and a sprinkling of Ghanaian as a garnish, so I anchor the question with something that will make my tongue sound less labored. “S’il vous plait?”
You laugh and I am offended. But then you explain that most people in Dakar are bilingual. We could speak English, if I prefer. I feel my heart rate return to a steadier beat and accept your offer to put my bags in the boot. You are tall and dark, like every man I have seen in Senegal so far. But there is a light that radiates from you…and a heat I cannot explain. And no, I’m not talking about the oppressive equatorial sun. I begin to fan myself vigorously and pant. I am actually panting. You catch this visceral reaction as I’m staring at you and ask a question I am afraid to answer.
“Water,” you explain. “I keep cold bottles of water for the people I pick up at the airport.” You hold one up and shake it at me. I grab it and flop myself into the back seat of the cab. I ought to have said thank you, but I am unnerved by the idea of thanking the man who has made my mouth dry and the small space between my legs very, very wet. The devil is a liar.
I can see you studying me through the review mirror as you make polite conversation. I have already steeled myself for the question I know is coming. It’s a natural question, but I am afraid to answer.
“What brings you to Dakar?”
“My father is…was…Senegalese. He and my mother divorced when I was young. He moved back to Dakar and we never saw him again.”
“So, you’re here to meet your father, now that you’re a woman?”
“My father died last year,” I say flatly. I rush through the next words. “I’m here to meet my father through the city of his birth. I know it sounds silly – at least that’s what everyone back home says – but I think… I don’t know. It’s dumb.”
“It’s not ‘dumb’ at all,” you say. “If I can be bold enough to take a guess, you think maybe you can understand your father if you understand his people? Understand what would make him abandon his family and never look back?”I nod and blink away tears. Tears that come far too quickly and hotly nowadays. I resent you for drawing them out of me…but I am amazed by the power you already have over me. And I’m frightened too.Somehow, you read my thoughts and smile at me through the mirror.
“Welcome home, sister.”
Thirty minutes later, we’ve reached my hotel. You want to know how I’ve picked the place.“TripAdvisor.”You laugh again, but this time, I’m not offended. In the half an hour we’ve spent together I have come to know that you laugh easily and that your laughter is not mockery. I also know that you are not a taxi driver. Not really. This is your brother’s car, but he’s ill. His children still have to eat, nevertheless. Doing his rounds today is your way of helping. You aren’t doing a very good job at that, because you’ve just offered to show me around the city. “But how will you make enough money today?” I am genuinely concerned.“These things always work out. Besides, God is control.”Now I laugh, because those are words favored by my very devout, very Ghanaian mother. The same one who thinks this trip is madness and outside of the will of God. Now, I am convinced.
You take me all over Dakar.
You take me to the markets and palatial mosques.You take me to the ocean to watch the fishermen pull in their nets.
You take me to Le Monument de la Renaissance Africaine, a place I could only imagine in my dreams. Here is the family of my dreams.
When I have wept and spent myself, you take me to your bedroom and I go, because God is in control.
Your hands, though powerful and expansive, are soft. I shrink at your touch, but you are not offended. You nod at the wall of leather handbags, satchels and shoes, things that you have made by hand and I understand. I allow myself to melt into your skillful hands, anticipating what they may transform me into. My nipples are hard, piercing through the cotton the forms a thin shield. Gently, you thumb each of them pausing occasionally to ask a question that I’m too afraid to answer. I groan instead and take your mouth in mine, drinking you in, tasting every word that has passed between us and those yet to be spoken. I have such an urgency to have you inside of me, but you insist:
“Don’t rush. I trust you. Trust me too.”
There is a half moon outside of your window, and by its light you describe a body I have never seen before.
“Your skin is light the surface of a river…smooth, glossy…a ripple here and there.” You touch the stretch marks that I’ve always hated when you say “ripple”, but I am not offended.
“Your lips are a feast. They’ve fed me with your honesty and your faith. And this…” Then you guide your hands away from my mouth, trail them past my navel and under my ass where you grab hold firmly. “…this is an angel. A messenger. This ass has beckoned me all day.”
I want to snort with laughter, because that has to be the corniest line I’ve heard in my entire life, but you’re so sincere when you say it so I don’t. Instead, I run my palm down the length of your cock, rigid and unyielding and threatening to bore a hole in my thigh. You shudder in response, because this is the first time I have dared to touch you. Your cock bows as well, ready for its sheath.
I place you inside me, slowly at first, testing your girth. Yours is a strange penis: narrow at the tip and vast at the base. Together, we oscillate between gasps of pleasure and astonishment my tightness and your firmness creating unexpected changes in pressure, shock waves that overtake us through out the night. Now that the half moon has given way to the light of gold, I see you staring at me – and in your eyes I see myself staring back and in that reflection I see God. Your middle finger slips in and out of me rhythmically and I cum on it, hard.
“The shower is at the end of the hall to the right,” you call from the kitchen, where you are frying eggs.
I don’t bother to hug a towel around me, because last you told me my body was holy and a pure thing. Why would one ever cover such a beatific thing? You have a shelf where you hold all your most precious things: awards, certificates, pictures of your loved ones. I see a little boy in brown shorts and checkered shirt; obviously you. Beside him is another little boy similarly dressed. Behind them both is a face that is familiar. A face I have seen before. A face that I have not seen since it left my home in Wisconsin two decades before.