Fumnanya Pt 1
The '7 Souls' Of Ra' Bookstore with its deep indigo wood framework, bustling cafe and holistic one-stop centre sat nestled between The Lunar Incense Emporium and Vegan Bliss at the end of Calentra Street. It had been a busy week for Fumnanya , owner of the community hub that drew in a steady flow of eclectic souls' and colourful characters through its doors daily
and now an additional new venture as Neo-Soul radio show broadcaster was stretching her across her entrepreneurial length.
Fumnanya looked down and left to where the world clock sat on her laptop, noted the time and gently rubbed tired eyes as a yawn escaped.
" It is never five-thirty' She mumbled, exacerbated by her 'just a few more minutes and am done' routine " I should have taken a break ages ago" A headache now building Fumnanya pushed herself away from her desk as her doorbell kicked out a random chime.
" Ay wench, open di door"
The smart-mouthed comedic tone broke the headache's point of origin briefly as Fumnanya let out a soft chuckle , negotiated the stairs two steps at a time and pulled the front door open to see best friend and confidante; Arjana.
" Okay. Number one. I am not anyone's wench and two, aren't you usually trawling the online personals around about this time looking for unsuspecting men to foist yourself upon"
" You know what. I swear if you was one'a dem street girls I would'a beat you up long time. Mind yaself"
Fumnanya could not help her laughter " So What's up. Why are you bugging me on a Sunday when you know I have deadlines to meet?, not that there's a particular day you should or shouldn't bug me"
" I promised ya mum I'd check up on ya. She's still in Dubai, as you know and is worried with your new workload that your trying'a commit entrepreneurial hari-kari before the age of thirty-five"
" I'm fine. I've just got a few more bits and pieces to prepare for my show"
" And when was your last break?"
" I've had a break"
" That's not what I asked you Nanya"
" Okay, so I had a break just over two hours ago but I'm okay, and......."
" just over two hours.......okay, get dressed cos ya skylarking . We're going out"
" But am okay am almost done"
" And almost done was probably nearer three hours ago right- You're priceless. Listen, you're mother is not going to put my backside in a sling because her prized possession decides that wearing a stroke or a heart attack from nervous exhaustion might possibly be a good look today"
" Okay, okay already. You're insatiable"
" That's why you love me cos I look out for you so now put arn yuh clothes. We are going out"
Fumnanya filled her lungs with a rapid burst of air and exhaled slowly
" Never mind the breathy histrionics that's what little girls do when they discover how the power of the drawn-out-sigh can control daddy in a myriad of ways. Aint gonna work with me"
" Whatever A.J. Where are we going anyway cos I'm not leaving my house for foolishness on a Sunday"
" Well, seeing as your mum as the major shareholder in '7 souls' authorized my promotion to Arts Coordinator I thought I'd try something new tonight"
" A new spoken word showcase called 'All On The In-Breath' It works on the principles of 'Ajjayi Breath' which allows you to still the mind and flood the body with vital energy. Only, on this occasion the poets are going to be sharing sentient dialogue that falls on one breath"
" Almost like universal meditation on life's emotive narrative?"
" There go"
" Actually that sounds kind of amazing"
" Proper tings sis. Totally sold out in two days"
" No way"
" Yes way. So. Throw on something cute, and lets shoot"
The blistering heat of the day had barely warmed to a cool that evening as a healthy buzz of artistic souls' decorated the earthy two storey bookstore. The flavours of lemongrass and mint, char-grilled edibles and sandalwood and vanilla incense coating the air. Respite from the punishing heat presenting itself in the form of the spacious air conditioned basement bar where ebullient souls' continued to gather for the evening entertainment. Blue note jazz creating a mellow mood.
" You know what?"
" Thank you" Fumnanya threw her arms around Arjana in an appreciative embrace and placed a friendly kiss on her cheek
" This is amazing, it is jumping off in here tonight. I'm loving it. I can tell from the energy that it's gonna be a good night A.J"
"And so this is......." Her sentence briefly interrupted Arjana turned to capture the clean-cut features of the striking figure that had just bumped into her.
" My queen. I'm really Sorry" His light touch upon her upper arm steadied Arjana as their eyes made contact. " Really. It's buzzing down here and I have been trying to avoid like about the ninth sister from asking me for my phone number, not that a man's complaining but then I inadvertently bump into you so I really do apologize"
" Don't worry. I get it. You are beautiful that's why the sisters are rushing you" Arjana watched the strong jaw-line accommodate a coy smile " And a brother who appears to have no ego either. Wow. I'm Arjana. Arts Coordinator for 'Seven Souls' and this is my partner-in-crime. Fumnanya. Owner of 'Seven Souls'
" I'm Jelani" He offered his hand to a firm handshake from Arjana and lukewarm from Fumnanya as she felt the deep brown eyes study her "I'm good friends with Omowale your resident poet"
"He's definitely 'good people'
"For real he's been telling me about 'Seven Souls' for the longest time and I'm seriously impressed. Venues like this with this type of informed programming is what the arts circuit and the community needs and thirsts for. I mean I read constantly about how packed out your programmes are, especially your community mentoring schemes
" Thank you. It's been a lot of hard work, mainly for Nanya, but we're getting there"
" It's impressive, no doubt. You guys should be proud of yourselves and I guess this really isn't work for you Fumnanya,? beautiful name by the way"
"Thank you-it's work if I let it become work. I have some amazing people around me who help me make this place relevant for everyone and fun for me to project manage."
" Am hearing that"
" So. Here for the entertainment or performing?"
" Well I had just finished a performance in Cape Town"
" Yeah I know, the spoken word scene out there is lit and raw but then Omowale told me about this showcase and urged me to come down for the emotive dialogue which is where my heart is. I write. Perform. Run beginners poetry and spoken word workshops. Breath work classes for enhanced stage presence. Web start-ups for short-story and film short collaborators and last but by no means least I blog about the essence of a woman that all, and I mean. All men should actively search for. I'm all about new connections that's why I'm here tonight"
" Damn. Je-la-ni. Bruh. If you are single I'm putting a ring on it. We could name our kids. Let me see. Black Opal. Sirius rising and Ubuntu earth works" Arjana's forward declaration drew hearty laughter. " You are perfection, no wonder the sister's are rushing you. Dayuum. okay, so listen. Two things, Nanya has some amazing spoken word pieces that she's just sitting on"
" A.J. stop"
" What stop? I'm not speaking out of turn here Nanya. Two. Jelani, let's all have a discussion after the evening's done about getting you proactive in this place. Babes I really think you could benefit from doing one of Jelani's workshops. Get your confidence up, work on your stage presence. Get into the meat and potatoes of the poetic formulation of words"
Once again Fumnanya filled her lungs with a rapid burst of air and exhaled slowly.
" Oh, the breathy histrionics again"
Fumnanya found herself laughing out loud this time round at the peppery statement " What breathy histrionics wench?" Both women now caught up in the hilarity of the moment
" I'm sorry babe" Now Arjana could not help her laughter " But, you're artistically altered ego that meets this emotional crisis whenever there's a strong possibility that your work could be aired somewhere in the cosmos is priceless" Arjana placed the back of her hand to her forehead in mock impersonation of a Shakespearean tragedy " Thence Heretofore must I go as my crazy alter ego needs me so. Sis. Trust me. It really ain't that deep"
" For you"
" Jelani. Arjana the sane one. Checking in here. We will all talk later."
Fumnanya's almost palpable apprehension was not lost on Jelani some weeks later as she slipped into a chair at the back of the 'Soul Frequencies and Spoken-Word Sessions' class room, enthusiastic newbie's arriving and gelling with one another before the start of the class.
Fumnanya looked up from her preoccupation with making sure her pens were lined-up neatly to see the deep brown eyes upon her.
" Jelani. Hey. Listen I apologize for not being able to get to the other workshops you arranged. Things have been really hectic but I made myself a promise to come to this workshop, and I love the theme as a lot of my poetry deals with the vibrational energies we as humans use to tune in to each other. You know, those codes that sit in our heart's DNA and allow us to function on a higher level"
" Like releasing the spirit to find its purest level in another?"
Fumnanya felt the smooth counter rob her of breath momentarily and looked down to gather her thoughts before meeting the steady gaze
" I'm no expert that's why I'm here" Fumnanya watched the handsome features wear an easy smile
" I know, and you'll be fine-No A.J?"
" She was on her way and got called down to '7 Souls' to deal with some admin issues so you've got just me tonight"
Fumnanya noticed the coy demeanour resurface. Heard Arjana's words from the 'All On The In-Breath' evening circle her thoughts ' You are perfection, no wonder the sister's are rushing you' his depth had pinned her to a brooding internal narrative she did not expect to be having with herself. 'No one is perfect but he moves me to question the authenticity of a two year relationship'
(c) Sy4ndene Jahia