I stumbled off the Light Rail onto Lake Street sometime after my flight from Dar Es Salam. I had on a beach dress and some beaded sandals, and a woman suggested that I put on socks. I was still in East Africa, toe nails drenched in a deep orange henna. Zanzibar sand had crept into my backpack, and kinyarwandan phrases were attacking my American English. A man on the Light Rail stared at my oversized backpack. "Hope you don't topple over girl! It's cold today." I met Minneapolis with an unsure smile. The air stung my skin, even after changing into jeans and a t-shirt. My friends were celebrating, because it was April, and they hadn't come into contact with this much heat since October.
The first night, I went to the 2011 Voltage fashion show. I took a taxi, and the driver asked me if we could go back to the coast together. He had a brother living in Dar. It seemed like a possibility. I got out, tipped him, and bought a ticket to the show.
Raul, who serves as both a third or fourth mother to me and a dear friend, was sewing for weeks to finish his Spring line for the show. I appreciate the gay spectacle that fashion provokes. It was also nice to see the productive side of Raul, in addition to the Raul that spends too much time watching Mexican telenovelas in bed.