Seventy-two hours after leaving the east coast, Yayuk and Sebastian were ‘home’ in Stonetown... on the concrete steps at Jaw's Corner, sipping coffee arabica among an amiable crowd of mutually-imbibing Muslims—whose tacit welcome was as warm as the family with whom the couple again stayed. Being ‘a little bit familiar,’ Zanzibar now held extraordinary appeal for Ms. Kertanegara, whose happiness reached full bloom—plucked by her companion and worn like a boutonniere, Sebastian having cajoled milady into donning her rose-colored pantsuit, then savoring each double-take by those who had mistaken her for a boy. Yayuk was not a boy; in fact, dressed in women's clothing, there was nothing male about her—the obviousness of which made Sebastian wonder at her gender ever being misperceived, even in her usual duds, though pleasant it was for doubts to be erased, if only on this rare occasion.
    To reward her choice of attire, Sebastian bought Yayuk three chocolate bars at a nearby shop, inspiring a grin and giggle of boundless jubilation. It was this quality that most endeared the younger to the elder—Yayuk's effusive enthusiasm in stark contrast to Sebastian's lean reserve. All wrapped up in one pint-size, excitable, adorably pink package, Ms. Kertanegara was daughter, lover, and spouse... when things were going well... as they were in Stonetown... auspicious, insofar as introductions were about to be made once back on the mainland, a phone call confirming that the Lawrences had returned from New York, and, though George had flown to Nairobi for some sort of U.N. workshop, he was due back Saturday. Yayuk and Sebastian booked passage on the M.V. Muungano for Saturday night.
    Time, therefore, was growing short on Zanzibar, nostalgia settling in, even before their boat to Dar left port. Already they missed their warm-hearted hosts Ali, Mabruk, Abdullah, and the other Abdulqadir family members;
        missed the bicycle vendor who sang "Woe-woe" each morning while pedaling his basket-full of wares;
        missed the slice-of-life view past their room's rickety window shutters, textures layered over centuries of repair, decay, and repair;
        missed getting lost, turned around time and again on streets entangled like yarn in a kitten's paws;
        missed the food, said Isle of Spice living up to its savory reputation;
        missed the acrobatics of young men diving each afternoon from harbor's edge into the risen tide;
        missed sunsets sinking under congregated clouds preparing to dump their rainy-season payload on distant Tanzania;
        and missed the coffee at Jaws Corner that invigorated brain cells and transcribed quaint phenomena into author's ink.

 

I'm drifting...

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