Nighttime. A bungalow on the beach. Everything inside the house is white. There’s a screened back porch and I step outside to enjoy the breeze. Moonlight illuminates the ocean and I notice a bonfire under the palm trees. Around the fire, two circles. The larger one of men playing drums, the smaller one of women dancing and singing. Their silken black skins shimmer in the firelight.
On the bungalow to my right, a young man wearing a white linen suit leans against the porch door and lights a cigarette. He says matter-of-factly “Dont stare. They don’t like it. They’ve been known to attack onlookers for the affront.” His words confuse me. He turns around to go inside the house and I see that he looks like my husband when younger.
I don’t mean to offend the dancers so I decide to close the screen door. When I kneel to engage the bottom lock I see before me the hem of a multicolored kente skirt. I look up. A female dancer stands above me, her face full of rage. She starts yelling words I can’t understand while repeatedly slamming her fists on my head. I retreat and curl up near the french doors that lead to the living room. I call to my father. “Papá! Papá!” My voice is weak, but I persevere and remember that in my dreams, when I need to scream or yell, I lose my voice. As I uncoil from the fetal position, the woman starts hitting my head once more.
I summon strength from within, and as I rise I say “Mira, hija de la gran puta…”
I woke up saying the words and feeling her fists on my head.