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Angela Osuji


Ima Akwa

(voiceover for digital story)

Fabric—that intertwining, threading, looming bolt of beauty formed and fashioned from strong, flexible, delicate hands.
Fabric—that foundation of the family that symbolizes the women of my village.

Fabric—My fabric she has been the moment she walked into my room on that cold March Minnesota morning of my first year of teaching in the land of my sojourn—my mentor, coach, teacher and friend she has been. She weaved me into the fabric of the Minnesota school system with a weave ever so tight that covers me with warmth and brings a smile to my face.

Fabric—I gave her on her retirement from serving the staff and students of Minneapolis Public Schools as a science teacher and mentor. It was to honor her importance in the fabric of my life. I still envision her face as I gave it to her—the joy, the smile—I will always hold dear in my heart. She walked the halls wrapped in the fabric. I knew deep down in my heart she understood somehow about the symbolism of the fabric and the wrapping of the fabric even though I never told her.

photo of Angela presenting her digital storyFabric—The epitome of all gifts an Igbo woman receives. In the fabric her essence, womanhood, joys, sorrows, accomplishments and disappointments are personified and celebrated.  But the quintessence is when the woman is presented with the fabric at a public gathering and her fellow women wrap the fabric around her. My people call it Ima Akwa or Iwa Akwa.

Fabric—that which the women of my native land, my mother land, wrapped her in that August afternoon at the Oboama Women’s Annual August gathering. It was my way of weaving her into the fabric of my native land just as she had earlier done for me. Eighteen years of friendship were cemented with that visit to my village.
Fabric—They made her and she morphed into my mother, my sister and still my friend.

To crown it all with crystals so clear, she says to me just the other day as we finished a lunch date together by the tiny Lake Calhoun eatery: “Your friendship is important to me.’’ This time, it was my turn to smile. Her fabric, I have now become.

Fabric—we have become as the threads of our intertwining lives become so woven into one piece of the same fabric. 


photo of students in a hallwayThe Hallway

Bell rings, motion
Cacophony of sounds, wavelengths and frequencies changing
Molecules moving, intermingling
Mixtures, homogenous and heterogeneous

The hallway
Couples coupling
Interactions, reactions
Synthesis, single replacements,
Double replacements, even decomposition

The hallway
Students collide
Impact, nothing
Impact again, nothing
Impact again, again, bam
Activation energy reached, disorder,
Reaction, violent reaction
Energy released, system cools
Calm, minimum energy realized

Order restored.