He comes to me quietly, in the day to day nonchalance, until suddenly, I notice that his eyes are blue.
I know that I shouldn’t keep noticing how they follow me as I move, but I like the attention. I’ve always liked attention. And then I begin to notice more, like how his goofy smile is magnetic, like how he always smells like fresh soap, like how he’s genuine and open-hearted.
I have to hold him at an arm’s length even though I don’t want to because even though I like the attention I know that this can only go so far, we can only go so far. I’m older and wiser now, I’ve learned.
I’m not supposed to fuck with white guys anymore.
But I guess I haven’t learned anything because a few text messages and a Snapchat later and I’m sitting at a bar with him next to me, a beer in my hand. I'm listening to him tell me things I never thought I would know about him or want to know about him but, now I know and I do want to know.
Wait a second. Do I want him?
He shows me his tattoo and explains the significance, the connection to his grandfather, and we discover that we share an old Irish family name. Our ancestries intertwine like our fingers as I hold him close and he kisses me, softly at first, but then with more. He gives me more. I want more, more of him, more of it, more of us.
And yet, the next morning when the door closes behind him and I’m left with myself, I come back and remember that with him, I am only half of myself because there is only half of me that I can give. I am in two halves and I am forever choosing which one I will put on for the moment and which one I will put back. With him, I am white, a white girl in brown skin.
Do my African ancestors roll in their graves every time I fall for a white boy?
Do I disrespect the lineage of Black women who survived for my behalf every time I let him touch me? I’ve seen and felt things he will never understand, no matter how similar our upbringings. I have traumas and hurts, a burden of awakening that he is blind to. I avoid asking him questions because I don’t want to know how much he can’t know me. I avoid letting him in in order to keep him here and pretend this could be real.
I hide myself from him.
But inevitably the moment will come where I can’t stand the hiding anymore and she will come out in all her Blackness, and he won’t know what to do with me and I won’t know what to do with myself and white me will feel ashamed of being black and black me will feel ashamed of being white and the shame will turn into resentment towards him, towards society, towards the world, towards everything.
And he’ll leave, as quietly as he came, and I’ll stop noticing that his eyes are blue.
Michaela is a high school English teacher who loves coffee, pop culture, being outside, dance parties, and letting her extroversion bring her to unpredictable situations.
Share your story with Black Honey Collective! Learn more.