Kenya. She said her name was Kenya.
And then she laughed. I couldn't hear it, not over the music in the bar, not over the shouting of everyone around us. But I saw the laugh, starting in her stomach, and traveling up and out of her mouth.
She leaned closer and said that her parents had grown up with Black Power and Africa awareness, and decided to name her Kenya. That they had grounded her the first time she straightened her hair.
Her voice, the part of her voice I could hear, had a huskiness to it that really appealed to me. I managed to find a part of the bar behind the speakers, further from the noise, and we sat down. She had a sly smile, and it was all I could do not to gawk at the beauty of her. And when she talked about her job as a lawyer, I felt stupid, pointless. Why she was talking to me, why she traded rounds with me and laughed at my poor jokes, I couldn't say. She was her own person, not needing validations, not needing justification. She could talk on subjects beyond her type of phone or the latest celebrity mishap, and that appealed to me. She was most certainly a woman, and not a girl.
And in the bubble of relative silence we sat in, I saw our life unspool. A few weeks of tentative conversation, leading inevitably to sex, at first uneasy, but soon becoming joyous. This would eventually level to the comfortable relationship, and in a few years together we couldn't remember being apart. But the humdrum of it all, the crushing finality, that was what would end us. I saw this in a second, and I decided to spare her of this. That's the problem with knowing.