There Was This Girl

There was this girl.

There always is, isn’t there? A girl, a dream, and some magic beans to make it all turn out the way we want it to, or at least that’s how it seemed to me. It’s funny how, when you’re 18, 19, 20, the world seems so small, the possibilities so large, how everything is within your reach, even when it isn’t.

So there was this girl. She wasn’t typically someone I would go after, because I thought she was well out of my league. Imagine on a scale of 1 to 10 — she was a 9 — I only trusted myself to go after 6’s and 7’s because I hated rejection, and most 9’s would dismiss me out of hand. It was okay. I knew I wasn’t 9 material.

But this girl…

She was beautiful in all the ways that counted, though I barely knew her. She was like Juliet, this wish list made real, but so dangerous in pretty much every way. This was obvious almost from the start. She wasn’t religious at all (and if she had been, it most certainly wouldn’t have been the religion I had been raised in), she was a very good dancer (or so she said), and she didn’t know she was a 9.

Isn’t that fascinating? So often people don’t recognize what they look like to others, how they’re perceived by the people they come in contact with. Usually 9’s know they’re 9’s because of all the attention they receive, but that’s not always the case, especially if they’ve “grown into themselves.” They’re used to being 5’s and 6’s so that’s all they see when they look in the mirror. Continue reading “There Was This Girl”

I Met This Girl…

I met this girl on the ferry headed toward Camden. New Jersey, that is. Her name was Donna, or Dana, or Denise. We were both headed somewhere that would be loud, on a ship with a couple hundred people we didn’t know who were going for the same reason. There was this band. There was … Continue reading I Met This Girl…

Me & Siobhan

SiobhanIt was ’93 and me and Siobhan were doing nothing. We never did nothing on lazy summer days on the avenue, waiting for the rain to drive us back inside. And it rained a lot that summer. It seemed like we were always tiptoeing through the raindrops on our way to nowhere. We would skip in the puddles like we were six years old, but we knew better. It was our last summer together, although we didn’t know it at the time. The summer of us.

The new movie theater had just opened up halfway down the longest block on the avenue, and there was a Taco Bell in the plaza downstairs. It cost three bucks for a matinee and we had money from our allowance burning holes in our pockets. Plus it had air, and air was in short supply on the avenue, even in summer. Ma said it was on account of black folk being our own air conditioners,what with being dark and all. I never got what she was saying, and I sweat like a hog, but none of it ever got us air. So I learned to use a piece of paper like a fan and not complain.

Siobhan lived three houses down from us, in a building that was s’posed to be abandoned. Lord knows how long that sign was in the yard out front. But her ma said it was wrong, and one day she painted over it with white paint left over from the rehab center’s new rec room. Said it made the yard look special, but all I thought was that she should have just pulled it out of the ground. No matter. We never spent time over there anyway, on account of her ma being a drunk. I never asked about it, and Siobhan never said nothing about it, but it was as clear as day. Continue reading “Me & Siobhan”