The shape that my t-shirt forms as my tummy curves its shape around the base of my abdomen looks like I had too much of them beans last night. I can’t get my belt to fit in quite right – it’s too tight and I use the next hole. The no-show socks I don slide out under my feet after I take a couple of steps to pick my nose in the bathroom and I wonder who cares if I walk all day with the feeling of something sticking under the soles of my feet. I forget to brush my teeth, but the bus will leave in five minutes and I have to hijack the elevator and look at the people inside and think on their behalf that we might all miss the bus because I did not wake up five minutes earlier. My lips – they dry up as soon as I step into the street because I forgot my balm, and now I squeeze the Vaseline on my skin and massage them lips. The one walking in front of me seems to think that they own the path and so I frolic to the side of the road where no cars pass. I’m suddenly hungry even though I already had Lucky Charms for breakfast. Okay, I’ll admit I had ice cream topped with Lucky Charms! But all in all, I’m suddenly hungry. I watch as the one seated across from me on the bus sips some coffee, or is it tea, or hot chocolate. Who knows, there could be vodka in there for all I know. I could really do some vodka tonic right now. I’m playing Sevdaliza, but I change it to Bethel – a testament to the dilemma of my living. Another stop and we trudge out of the bus. You could draw us, paint – all of us and felt out the lines on the canvas to finish your masterpiece entitled “from bus to class”. Everyone with something pocking in their ear, with book bags and heads bowed to phone in hand, trying to mind our own business – the business of getting to class. The sun peeks out of the clouds and my eye strays to my foot – to where my ankle meets my shoe, and the tone that my skin takes is ashy brown and almost charcoal. I step into the Duane Reade and grab some Nivea. Though it costs $4, I still take out my rewards card. One day I imagine that this accumulation of points will come bear fruit. While there’s not yet plenty of people in the library, I slide my feet out of my shoes and play with the feeling of new things, the sense that new things give to the self – to being baptized by a product that hasn’t been through and witnessed my past, my slips and doubts. I watch my reflection on the full-of-smudges laptop screen. My hair looks a little too shoddy and I slide out of my chair and dance my way through to the bathroom. One person is busy on the urinal and the toilet is occupied. I squeeze the comb back into my pocket and picket in silence then open the door and out I go, shaping my hair with my hand as I imagine it to be the perfect afro. Someone has grabbed the seat opposite me at the table, and I don’t want to look at his face. In one brisk movement, I bring myself to grab my things and go, almost whimpering as if it was something to do with the obvious intimidation that was permeating from that someone. I cannot do intimidation. That simply is not in my repertoire. I walk into the coffee shop and pick up the drink I ordered. I don’t like the paper straws they give me, so I walk into another coffee shop just to grab a straw – the plastic ones because I’d rather sip my drink for maybe an hour on end that to taste paper in my mouth. Ask me about sustainability. In class, they are talking about how Christians have killed many people in the past, and I want to tell them that we are not living in the past and that believing is a beautiful thing if you can only see. But then again, seeing is believing and I think they will ask me if I am supposing that they are blind. Africa! Has 55 countries! All with their own histories and people, and so please be specific. We are in an institution of higher learning and the point of being here is to fight stereotypes and the word Africa isn’t helping. The class ends, and I say bye to the professor and no one else but I meet everyone else in the elevators down and I ask generic questions. They talk about professors being horrible before noticing the one professor sharing at this moment in time with us, and the talk turns to whispers and then to smirks and finally silence once again.
Show some decency!