Asana has always been a very inquisitive young woman but in the weeks following her grandfather’s death she has found comfort in reading the many books that were left in his study. It was an absolutely beautiful room only meant to entertain the ‘righteous mind’ as her grandfather often said. Asana has made Pop’s study her own personal getaway, the study is in the back of their family owned coffee shop. To fulfill a promise she made to herself she dedicated an hour each day to reading the books in the study.
She grips herself as she prepares for school. Nana notices Asana staring rather blankly at the mirror on her vanity, “ He’d be so proud!” she says and picks up a wide-toothed comb and begins taming the thick, coarse hair of Asana’s that she finds both adorable and annoying. It was like Asana was born a fuzzy hairball with lips because her hair has always overtaken most of her head, luckily as she has gotten older you can make out her face or you would swear she didn’t have one. “ You really think so?,” she asks in between grunts of discomfort. “ I do, he gave it to you for a reason...you’re ready,” Nana finally stops combing and gets a handful of some oil, and rubs it into the freshly combed puff of corkscrews and kinks. Asana sighs in relief, “ I guess so, thanks Nana.” Still unsure but a bit more confident than she was before she gathers her things and leaves for school. She’s relatively new at the Shabazz Academy for Girls and happens to be youngest sophomore there only being 13 years old; which consequently makes her a target for ridicule. “ Aww, looks like someone stopped by the Grandmommy School of Beauty this morning,” Naima says at the sight of Asana getting books from her locker. Asana after 2 months of her new school has build up an immunity to the put-downs and often ignores them. She promised herself she would toughen up after the last incident. One day, Naima and her friends grabbed Asana after gym class punched her in the face so hard her bottom began to bleed and swell, they even knocked her down and stole her shoes, her favorite shoes. Boots that had zippers on both sides that Asana drew little orange ankhs on the back just above the heel. “Why is it always shoes?,” she wondered “It doesn’t make much sense why are shoes so important?” She bought those shoes with her own money but for some strange reason the kids in her neighborhood are always beating someone up or making fun of a person because a little ol’ pair of shoes some rapper or basketball player supposedly designed in Japan for 50 cents and sell them for two sometimes three hundred a pop. She cried in humiliation from the time the gym teacher found her to the time Nana saw her at their front doorstep barefoot and bruised up. She couldn’t decide if she was more pissed than humiliated but one thing is for sure she hated that it was all about shoes. Since then Asana vowed to never cry again, although Pop’s passing was an exception she never allowed herself to get that vulnerable again. Today, were presentations on “My Favorite Thing”, Asana chose to present the bracelet Pop gave her. When it was assigned Asana found it interesting that the entire project was centered around a thing, what is it with these people and things? It was like they were programmed to accumulate things so much so they had no meaning, just a status. If you owned a designer tote bag for your books or that flashy-gaudy bauble bracelet you were clearly a girl to hang around because you know all the trends and have the money to keep up with them. Asana being the only girl in the school who didn’t get or ask for either of those things for her birthday or Christmas was a social outcast. She had a knack for things that have a story or a meaning, so unlike the others she did hers on the bracelet Pop gave her, “It’s been in our family for at least 4 generations. My grandfather got it from his father, and he got it from his…they give it to whoever they believe is ready, I really don’t know why my mom didn’t get it but Pop gave it to me so that makes it my favorite.” The students seemed uninterested in the antique, mutterings of how Asana should trade it in for a bracelet much like theirs. Determined to not fall into the thing madness, Asana took a good look at the bracelet and agreed it could use a good scrub down so when she returned home that was exactly what she did.
Asana washed that bracelet as if it were a baby returning from the hospital, she was so gentle. As she rinsed off the dirt, she noticed something it appeared to be an intricate design on it, shaped like the sun with shiny red and sort of a burnt orange gems. In admiration of her fine cleaning work she slips the bracelet onto her wrist, she smiled as if that was the reason Pop gave it to her, because she’ll make it look as good as new. Nana inquires about the jewelry piece just before Asana proudly sticks her wrist to her, “ My, my,my! I haven’t seen it look like that in years!,” said Nana, “ the last time I saw that old thing look so good was just after Pop and I got married.” “Really? ,” replied Asana , They marveled at the bracelet for a little longer then Asana decided to place it in her vanity drawer.
Asana had another one of her crazy dreams, they have been happening almost every night for awhile now usually it was dreams that her hair finally laid like the other girls at school, more importantly that it seemed to have a wash and go quality to it that did not include Nana’s concoctions. Her dreams usually include her doing some weird montage of cutting off all her hair and parading around as if she were the Queen of Sheba free from the captivity of the dreaded wide toothed comb and no longer a slave to smoothing oils and creams. Or last week’s nightmare being choked by a Zhaka Noche bracelet and the tiny embellished charms turned into blood-thirsty monsters. That night terror had her slightly afraid of unicorns and rainbows until this dream, this dream was a ‘doozy’.
Asana is in another world walking around and admiring the scenery when she stops at a fountain to take a few pictures, she snaps a few shots and notices an inscription on the base of the fountain, “ the Sun does not merely warm the Earth,” As she reads the words her wrist begins to itch and the bracelet seems to tighten . Asana tries to shake the bracelet loose but that doesn’t help, grunting and pulling on it nothing seems to work. She gives up the removal effort just before waking up from the dream, surprised at the unusual turn her dream had taken she decides a glass of water will be the best thing to help her get back to sleep since it is the middle of the night.
In the kitchen she pours herself a glass of water and notices the bracelet on her wrist. “ I thought I put this in my drawer, before bed?,” she asks herself . She thought it was strange because she distinctly remembered putting the bracelet in the drawer, as she tries to remove the bracelet to put it back in its place she notices it won’t come off. She laughs and commits it to being so tired. The last time she woke up in the middle of the night, she swore up and down she saw Nana hovering over her garden in the dead of night humming some weird mantra over them and the flowers and plants swayed in agreement. Exhaustion can and will play some crazy tricks on the mind, Pop told her that so that is exactly what she believed. She drinks the glass water and tries to calm her mind a bit before returning to bed , as she sleeps the dream continues and Pop makes an appearance. “Asana, I’m glad you are taking good care of the gift I gave you, now that you have it, there’s something I must tell you about our family.” Pop grabs her hand and walks into a corridor behind the fountain, opens a door that leads to his study. “ All of the books and things I have here weren’t things I bought from my travels but were given to me,” Asana perplexed, “ Ok, so you have a lot of gifts from friends…what’s so special about that?” Pop smiles and says because these gifts including your bracelet are only given to the next heir to the throne. Asana wakes up, screaming. Nana rushes in help her, “ He told you…huh?,” Asana gasping to catch her breath “ Uh-huh”.