“The first time I heard it, I was barely a teenager,
hardly even aware of the concept of race.
I saw that my skin was sometimes darker
and sometimes lighter than some of my friends’,
but similar to the way that raindrops felt cold
and the way that the sun shined brighter some days,
that was just the way that things were.
my crush was a pale boy with long brown hair,
and his eyes were the same color
as the mud he slashed through on his dirt bike
at three o’clock pm every friday.
I sat on my porch sometimes and watched him
go up and down the hill across the street,
up and down like the teeter totters at recess.
he’d run inside and grab an umbrella when it rained
and we’d share it as we walked to our friends’ houses
just so we could all come back
and jump on my trampoline together.
he moved away the next year,
and I moved on until one night
when I ran into him at the skating rink.
we sat down and talked
over split cheesy fries,
and somehow, I mustered up the courage to tell him
how the sun cowered under the light of his laugh,
and how his eyelashes made butterflies
hate their wings.
poison oozed from his lips as he said it,
and something inside of me broke –
or maybe something awakened.
I started to see my blackness as an obstacle
that would never go away,
like a dark cloud
constantly raining over my head
that everyone else saw
but couldn’t handle,
as if they had to do anything more
than bring an umbrella.
– i’m not into black girls”