Vice & Virtue: Noa

Chapter 2

The return trip back to Wakanda was quick and uneventful. Four years spent living with my mother’s family on the outside, and now I’m back. My father allowed me time to see the world, before I’d be forced into a loveless marriage with a sword wielding, “mandingo” warrior.

I don’t mind the “mandingo” part, I have an issue with the “loveless” part, and the part about “marriage”. I’m just not ready for all that. “Noa!” My ma-ma, beautiful as always is acting a fool on the front steps of our home. Grinning like a cheshire cat, I’m off of my horse, and running to her open arms.

It’s a scene from “The color purple”, Celie and Nettie’s reunion, one of my favorite movies on the outside. We both do the “you and I will never part” clap and song together, my ma-ma is a trip. I love her, and that’s why I chose to return. I love the outside, but I could not bear, to never see my ma-ma again.

“Come in, come in...” She says, ushering me into our home. “Where’s pa-pa?”

“Gone again, on some infernal business affair.”

“Yeah, she got the “affair” part right, pa-pa’s been keeping company with other women. One specific one that ma-ma should have put foot to butt to, a long time ago. Now he’s in love with her, and ma-ma has to share his love.

It’s till death do us part with the Kubu clan, literally. And that is why I say that “marriage is for the birds”, it is not for me.

“I have some good news for you.” Says ma-ma, over dinner. The server refills my wine glass, as I wait expectantly. “Your father secured you a few good matches before he left.” I nearly choke on my wine, the liquid goes down hard, and a fit of coughs ensues. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” I respond, patting my chest as I clear my throat.

“It is not so bad, Noa..”

I definitely don’t want a Kubu man...”

“Bite your tongue, your father is a good man.”

“I never said that he wasn’t.”

“Well first there’s my personal favorite, the Jabari tribe.”

“Jabari... those men are colossal, they’re huge...”

“One can only hope...”

“Ma-ma...” I state, in reprove.

“They’re protectors, warriors...who wouldn’t want that?”

“What am I going to do with all that?”

“One can only imagine.”

“You’re not helping.”

“Well then you have your choice of the border or river tribes, your father has found a few promising matches from them.”

“Then you leave me no choice...”

“These are the terms for you to stay here, you must marry one of them.”

“I was born here, I shouldn’t be held to the same standards as an outsider.”

“But I wasn’t and so you aren’t.”

“This is ridiculous...”

“Yes, it is what it is... We leave at first light, to meet the Jabari King, your suitor, and his family.”

“I just got back.”

“We should have been married you off, but with my pleading your father waited. I thought that you would find a husband on your own, but your getting to old, and I guess your father was right.”

“About what?”

“You not being interested in men.”

“What? I’m not gay... I like men. I was seeing someone on the outside.”

“A man?”

“Of course, he was my first.”

“First what?”

Sorry to burst her bubble. “I’m not a virgin.” I have to bite my lip, to keep from laughing at her expression. A deer caught in headlights.... “I am to old to be toting around a cherry pie, this ain’t the ma and pa days.”

“Well we can remove the Jabari from the list, they’re traditional.”

“And you can cross off the the other ones also...”

“We’ll meet the border and the river men tomorrow. I want you to stay here, and this is the way.”

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