“You must be new here.”

I’m warming myself in the sunshine, relaxing by an outdoor fountain, waiting for my colleague to return from the bank. I open my eyes and see a very tall, very lanky, very, very, very black man talking to me. I stare at his skin. It’s almost blue it’s so black. Both his eyes and his teeth seem unnaturally white, almost phospherant compared to his skin.

“Not so new, why?”

“Your skin, it’s too light. Why is your skin so light? You can’t have been here very long.”

I shrugged. “A couple of weeks…”

“I knew it. There’s no way you could be in Zambia and still be as light as you are. Look around. No one is as light as you. Stay here a while.”

I laugh. He asks me what I do. I tell him and return the question. He’s an artist, a sculptor, a poet, an actor. He tells me I’m going to see him on television one day and say to my friends, “Hey! There’s Nick. I met him in Zambia and look at him now!”

I hope I do.

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