- Milena's Wedding
The first time Milena spoke of Crawford had been at the affair at the University, a tea welcoming the new English professor, Professor Grossman, myself. Over the clatter of tea things she pursued me humming Wagner and speaking of Crawford.
I had come to Ghana for peace. Yet there Milena was after me speaking of loving and wanting to marry March Crawford; Crawford the brilliant swaggering Negro sociologist from Chicago, one of those highly extroverted men who is always followed about by ranks of students, a brutal dynamic captain, obsessed with his work. I admired him. And I noticed that he stared at me a great deal....
....He stared at me the way Blake Hall had stared at me a year ago. Yes the class had been reading Kafka. Blake had sat in the last row. He had looked younger than his eighteen years, all paleness, his body slender and of medium height. He was fair-skinned even whitish, that whiteness that is peculiar to Negroes that are light skinned. To add to his paleness he had golden hair, straight hair, that he wore short and cropped close to his head. His most endearing feature was his blue eyes. He had not spoken in class unless the Professor forced him to speak. His voice was soft. Most of the time he sat quite erect, his shadowy blue eyes fixed on me Aaron Grossman. Several times I followed him out of Butler Library, then down the long walk but always at the cross-section I hesitated and watched him vanish. I began to consider it a miracle that I had taken that course in General Studies. Then one morning between classes I had seen him in the drug store on 116th and Broadway. I was sitting alone at a table in my dark suit drinking coffee wearing my usual dark glasses and smoking a cigarette in my usual short quick puffs. I couldn't imagine how such a lucky thing could happen as to find him alone in the drug store.
He had come right over to my table and burst out, "I think you have the most brilliant mind." I acted as if I didn't hear him. Then with my left hand I very slowly removed my dark glasses, took in Blake appraisingly and then as if something caught in my memory I lay down the glasses and let a slight smile come to my thin lips.
"I'm in your English class," Blake said.
"Oh yes, yes," I drawled out the words. "Yes." I sprang up, very quickly, pulling out a chair for him, immediately, calling the waitress, ordering coffee for the two of us and immediately launching into a discussion about the class.
"Yes," I said, "I don't really need that class because I've studied the violin since I was a child but the curriculum at Julliard insists that everyone have that disgusting theory." Blake only stared at me.
"Is this your first year at Julliard?" I asked, pushing his coffee to him. Blake explained in a quiet voice that we were in the same English class, that he did not go to Julliard but was in pre-medicine at Columbia. I allowed my face to turn red and laughed slightly.
"Oh," I said, "Jesus am I sorry." Then I explained to Blake that I was a violinist, that I got so mixed up, that I was terribly sorry and I could have sworn he was in my theory class. I told him it turned out that I only took one class at Columbia, that I had grown up in New York and my mother and uncle were violinists, and my uncle was at one time rather well known.
I played in the Julliard orchestra (and did he know a Negro played the drums), I had given recitals yes sometimes it was exciting, but actually I was getting a little bored.
We became friends, sitting in the drugstore at 116th street or in the Lions Den at Columbia, drinking cup after cup of coffee we discussed our favorite subjects. I did most of the talking while Blake sat abjectly. We...