“Dance for me Adira.”
Adira was shocked at the request. She turned her neck to look up at her lover. Derek’s hazel eyes were trained on her with so much intensity that she felt her insides melt. “What?”
“I want to watch you dance. Preferably something from your homeland.” When she did not move, he added, “please.”
Adira sighed and raised her head from his laps. “You make the strangest requests Derek.”
She connected her phone to the stereo system and selected the music she had always used to dance whenever she was alone. She stood in front of Derek as the music started with local drums beating in a steady pattern. He smiled at her but she just rolled her eyes suddenly feeling shy.
The song started with the sound of many drums then the rhythmic sound of other local instruments followed streaming into Adira’s ears and flushing the shyness from her system. The movements started from her feet and when the singer started singing words she knew by heart, Adira found herself moving her lips, arms and limbs to the familiar voice that sounded like home.
Derek watched her, his eyes taking in those movements that could only be magical. He had never seen Adira do anything that said she was African. Watching her sing in her tongue and dance, Derek confessed in his heart that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He was sure he had fallen for an African goddess.
Her dada were flying around her and she danced like she was lost in a trance. Even when she locked gazes with him, it was like she wasn’t seeing him. Her body moved in a gentle flow syncing with the local music. How could a dance be so beautiful? Derek wondered.
Adira was moving her upper body in a motion that Derek realized mimicked the waves of the sea. Her arms were undulating as she whined her wide hips gracefully to the rhythmical beats of the drums in the movement of ocean tides. Derek sucked in a breath as he watched on in awe. The song of her land pulled at him. It was as if the woman who was singing was coaxing him to join Adira’s dance.
Derek stood up and took small steps towards her but Adira stopped. Derek ran his hand through his brown hair and scolded himself for moving. He didn’t want her to stop dancing so soon.
“I’m tired already,” Adira said pausing the music. Derek missed the sound immediately it stopped.
“I danced. Are you happy now?” Adira asked with a smile.
“You have no idea.”
The girl dropped on the couch like a potato causing Derek to shake his head. Derek sat too and placed her head on his laps, resuming their initial positions. “It was like watching a goddess dance. I couldn’t even look away if I wanted. Does the dance have a name?”
“Ekombi. It’s the dance of my people.”
“Efik tribe,” Derek said.
Adira smiled at the fact that he actually remembered. “Yes. It mimics the movement of the ocean waves. That’s because were live along the coast,” Adira explained.
“The dance is beautiful just like the ocean.”
“It is Derek. You should see the Efik maidens dance it back in Nigeria during the Calabar carnival. It’s a sight to behold. The ladies are dressed in colourful atires and adorned with makeup, beautiful beads and golden combs,” Adira rambled. “Only the vigour from the drummers would make you jump on your feet and dance because you can literally feel the music in your bones.”
Derek played with one of her thick dark locks. “Do you miss home?”
Adira sighed. “More than you can imagine Derek. I miss Nigeria. I miss my mother’s food, I miss playing with my father’s afro, I miss my siblings, I miss seeing so much green. I miss dancing with my sisters. I miss home so so much.”
Derek watched Adira talk and smiled. Ekombi, he tested the sound on his mind’s tongue.
“I want to watch the carnival. When is it?
Adira sighed wistfully. “Me too. It’s in three months time. I can put my family on a video call and we could watch it with them.”
“No Adira. I want to see the carnival in your country. I want to see it with you.
Adira shot up from Derek’s laps. “You want to travel to Nigeria?”
“I want to travel to Nigeria with you.”
“Stop joking o.” Adira was fighting a smile now.
“I’m not joking o.” Adira laughed at his horrible attempt at mimicking her accent. “I’ve never been to Africa before. I would love my first trip there to be with the woman I love, my African goddess. I want to watch the beauty of your people with you.”
Adira was touched by his words. “My family would love to meet you.”
Derek grinned widely. “They’ll meet me alright. You better start preparing my love. We’re traveling to Naija.”