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Acacia

Acacia

Tendai Machingaidze

Publication Year: 2014

Acacia is a strong and independent woman whose heart and heritage lie rooted in Africa, while her reality in contemporary America finds itself in a very different time and place. In living her life, she must breach the distance between her current space and the ties that bind her. Straddling two sometimes opposing worlds of medicine and dance, Dr Acacia Graeme must find the balance between feeding her mind through work and study, and nourishing her soul and spirit through dance. And what happened when the music stops? Because it does, often. How will she get through the silence of her every day? This is the story of a flawed heroine whose intentions are pure, her truth perhaps less so. Torn between the enduring innocence of her first love and the life-long search that is her longing for one true love, she is compelled to come to terms with her own free nature and independent spirit and, in so doing, turn tragedy to triumph. - See more at: http://www.africanbookscollective.com/books/acacia#sthash.BuYmFTFv.dpuf

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote

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Prologue

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pp. 7-

Staying together was the obvious, easy, natural course to take. But it would have been unfeeling – on my part, anyway. I could not continue to be with Tony without actually being with him. Holding him close, yet keeping him at a distance. It was too cruel, too unfair. Come what may...

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Chapter 1: Happily ever before

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pp. 8-14

A Greek-Italian boy who carried the sea in his blue-green, changeling eyes. This is my only distinct memory of my first day at Cornell University as I sit to write my story. It is almost thirty years later, but I can still see him. I can still feel his presence deep inside...

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Chapter 2: Defying destiny

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pp. 15-16

True to form, in our academic solidarity, Tony and I had applied to, and interviewed at the same medical schools. It was a brutal process. Riddled with bureaucratic hoops designed to batter morale, even the most dogged applicants grew weary. Having a confidante was a treasure. I was Tony’s...

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Chapter 3: Valedictory voyage

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pp. 17-22

“Want to go see the Taj Mahal?” A classic opening line! Three weeks after graduation, back home in New Haven, when I was starting to miss Tony so much my body was retaliating physically to his absence, he called. “Tony!” I bubbled...

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Chapter 4: Female audacity and general awesomeness

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pp. 23-25

The night after Tony and I said goodbye, back in my childhood bed in New Haven, I cried. Wild woes! I cried because he was in love with me. I cried because I was not in love with him. I cried because I really did love him. I loved him, but not enough to keep him...

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Chapter 5: A heroine without a hero?

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pp. 26-29

Emancipated from Tony, I was all set to do battle with the world. Give me the streets of Manhattan! Shaking off the shards of shattered innocence and soaring on the wings of hope, I was anxious to situate myself in a new province of experience, far beyond the ruinous reach of destiny and the...

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Chapter 6: Tea, friendship... And a cadaver

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pp. 30-34

“Want to come over for tea?” I asked jauntily one afternoon after our first long day of lectures. “Huh?” Taylor looked at me as if I had randomly burst out in a clicking African language. “Teatime. Four o’clock,” I replied in a how-can-you-not-know-that...

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Chapter 7: A skein of lies

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pp. 35-37

I’m not sure why, but that Christmas I thought of my father more than I had ever before. He had never been a part of my life. And yet, somehow, he remained an integral part of it. His absence was his presence. His not being there was always with me, defining me in an intangible and...

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Chapter 8: Things fall apart

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pp. 38-44

I had noticed before leaving for winter break that Taylor was behaving oddly. Nothing major, but definitely dodging me here and there. I was disturbed, but I didn’t want to pry. It wasn’t anything I could put my finger on so I simply let it go...

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Chapter 9: My Saharan Sanctuary

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pp. 45-49

Less than six months earlier, I had been blissfully happy with Tony on our adventure to the East. In the days that followed the massacre that was the Jenna encounter, I missed Tony so much, I felt as though I was suffocating. An unceasing bane. At the end of each day, I would fall into...

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Chapter 10: Mama said there'd be days like this

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pp. 50-52

Felicity was just not mine to have in my savourless second semester of medical school. I longed for liberty, and found it transitorily in Sahara’s dance class. But outside of the studio, I felt stagnant and stale. A ubiquitous listlessness. A perilous pining. A mangled madness...

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Chapter 11: Birth of a monster

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pp. 53-59

Since Taylor and I were not seeing much of each other any more, I started to spend more and more weekends at home in New Haven. It was so close, I couldn’t resist. Mum and mbuya could tell that something was wrong, but they never pressed me. All I had to say to them was: “Long...

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Chapter 12: Mama Africa

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pp. 60-64

If continents have genders, then Africa is indubitably female. Perhaps, that is why men have made such a mess of ruling her. She has a rhythm and a flow that cannot be terrorised into submission, dictated to, or swindled, without dire consequences. One has to feel with her, listening...

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Chapter 13: The hysterical cackle of a woman deranged

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pp. 65-74

My summer in Zimbabwe was not all mulberries, pawpaws and guavas. All sweetness turned to sorrow when mbuya went into cardiac arrest about three weeks after our heart to heart. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were in Harare, at the house of Mai Tatenda, one of mbuya’s...

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Chapter 14: Conjugating irregular verbs

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pp. 75-85

Over the following three days, I avoided Taylor like the plague. One morning, I quite literally ducked into the bushes behind the library in order to avoid him. But despite my evasive tactics, Taylor showed up at my door yet again...

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Chapter 15: The naked truth

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pp. 86-92

Slowly, one painfully snail-paced day at a time, things changed between us. The anger began to dissipate. The pain. The regret. The trauma. Unshackled from obligations to another woman, my prodigal friend who had squandered my heart returned with the full force of his heart-decimating...

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Chapter 16: A thousand sunflowers and breakfast at Tiffany's

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pp. 93-98

After that night, I was always antsy to be with Taylor. A quenchless thirst. A craving akin to homesickness in its acutest and most maddening form. I could feel the onslaught of withdrawal symptoms even when we were apart for just a few hours. It served us well then that our schedules...

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Chapter 17: You give me fever!

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pp. 99-104

After that kiss, we had to get married pronto before Taylor made me his mistress instead of his wife. For the sake of my chastity – which I had promised mbuya I would preserve – we promptly set our wedding for 10 May, the weekend after our second year at Columbia ended, twelve...

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Chapter 18: A perpetually bleeding heart

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pp. 105-107

Marriage to Taylor Wolf was nothing short of ecstasy. Each day was a new adventure of exploring his multifaceted personality. A rousing odyssey. A breathtaking escape. Despite the pressure of our third- and fourth-year clinical clerkships, he was constantly surprising and thrilling me...

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Chapter 19: A boomerang of nightmares

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pp. 108-112

Not all great romances are forever loves. My husband’s body was cremated and I scattered his ashes from a hilltop in the Mohawk Valley. I couldn’t bear the idea of burying him, hiding his body underground, cloaked in soil and darkness...

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Chapter 20: Dance and decaf

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pp. 113-118

A few weeks after Sahara realised I was pregnant, I went to the dance studio to thank him for what I considered his divinely appointed intervention. I had been too vulnerable to call or see him before that. I timed my visit so that I would catch him just as one of his classes was ending, and waited for...

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Chapter 21: Waiting for the kettle to boil

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pp. 119-127

Nine months is a long time. Impatient and irritable, I felt like I was waiting, waiting, waiting for a kettle to boil. A low rumble. Swirls of steam. A hissing crescendo. The kettle will sing. The kettle will sing, and teatime will come. To soothe or...

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Chapter 22: Swagger and sway

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pp. 128-134

After I gave birth to Gray and I was no longer waddling, on the rare occasion when I made it out, Sahara and I would mess around in the studio after his classes, choreographing movements together – promenades, lifts, turns. So much of my life was now devoted to my son and to my...

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Chapter 23: He would have waited forever

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pp. 135-141

Sahara and I swaggered and swayed in each other’s arms until it was time for me to relieve Rebekah from her watch over Gray. When I was leaving the studio, Sahara asked me to meet him there the next morning on my way to the hospital...

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Chapter 24: Poetic justice

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pp. 142-149

After I completed my residency at Columbia, Sahara, Gray and I moved to Providence. I love New York, still and always, but I wanted my son to grow up in a less eccentric environment. I got a job as a junior surgeon at the Rhode Island Hospital, and Sahara realised his bold new dream of...

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Chapter 25: Smiling in the dark

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pp. 150-152

How does a woman describe a lifetime with a man she loved more than her own life? A longing backward glance that utterly defies words. The twenty-nine years I was married to Sahara were magic. Just like one of his dances. Passion, pain, and absolute beauty. The hallmark of...

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Chapter 26 - Destiny undefied

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pp. 153-156

A few weeks ago, before I sat down to write my story, Gray invited me to attend a Podiatry conference with him in Philadelphia at Temple University. I love that we both love medicine, and so though my days of academia are behind me, I agreed to...

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Epilogue

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pp. 157-

Ever so gently, Tony manoeuvred me away from his chest where I had buried myself, and turned my face up to his. His eyes glistening with a warmth that pierced my worn heart, he whispered the exquisite words that gave me the perfect ending to my story. The perfect beginning to the...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780992228576
Print-ISBN-13: 9780992228521

Page Count: 158
Publication Year: 2014

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