She was laying on top of me, almost like she was praying. Her arms were at her sides, facedown she buried her head in my softness with her knees at my hips. The tightness of her curls found their way underneath my fingertips and I asked if it was okay; I always ask if it is okay.

White people never ask if it is okay to fondle something — how abhorrent, how horrifying, is the process of objectification; of severing humans into pieces — that is Other. She is not Other to me. I don’t want to touch her curls because they are DIFFERENT I want to touch them because I used to say they felt like an endless supply of bubble wrap. Bubble wrap that never popped; never ran out.

This is stupid. I’m not saying what I want to say. I never say what I want to say. People say that they can tell I never say what I want to say, that I have MORE to give, that I HAVE MORE TO GIVE but I want to reserve it, I want to reserve the recesses of my Self to remain unexpressed.

Maybe this will begin to express it. I want you to fall in love, with me.

She gives me permission and I touch them. They are springy and I squeeze one sideways and it springs back and I laugh a little. I should go to Oklahoma more often if it means she will be the one doing the missing; if it means she will be the one doing the lavishing. I squeeze her curls and massage her scalp. I can smell the oil from her head and I know that I am prolonging her life. Science tells me this.

I am more in love with this memory than I am with her, because it contains Hope; I wish I didn’t have to savor, but it feels better.

Her head slides up to my chest, first the middle; “No, that’s too hard,” she says, moving to her left; then the breast, “That’s better.”

Then, “Your heart is beating really fast. Why is it beating so fast? It’s gonna explode right out of your chest.”

I laugh. “Reasons.”

She doesn’t press me. I am thankful.


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