Excerpt 40

She traced her way back in time, giving Nono the complete history of her mishaps from walking, running or biking with her eyes closed. As a freshman in college she jogged directly into the Central Park Carousel while in operation. The collision left a permanent dent in her right shin and dragged her for a full revolution before the attendant stopped it. Nono mused over the impression in her shin and made a mark in the dust.

She told him about the time she’d fallen down the front steps of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on a school field trip and received nine stiches to close the gash on her left elbow. Her teacher explained that Kak needed to watch where she was going. Nono inspected the scar and made a mark in the dust.

Before that? Kak described breaking loose from her mother’s hand at Battery Park and running blindly until she fell into the Liberty Island ferry docked there. While escaping serious injury, she chipped a permanent tooth which an orthodontist repaired by bonding a piece of tooth-colored composite resin to the broken edge.

“Let me see the tooth,” Nono said.

She bared her front teeth in a pretend smile, pointing to the replacement. If he tried, she knew, he could just make out the shape and orientation of the chip before the repair. He made a mark in the dust.

Once she began, it flowed from her. By the time she finished detailing the eight mishaps and accidents she’d experienced from running around willingly blind, the dust in the wooden divination tray had been touched eight times by Nono’s fingers. He leaned back and, over another sip of rum, surveyed the pattern he’d created.

“The spirits have been trying to speak to you since you were a little girl,” he said.

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