My Black mother. My black sister and me. Eight years old.
Walk into a high school named Benoni. My sister, a black drum majorette, watches my mother hand me a tiny plate of finger food. Knowing how much I love sweet things. My mouth salivates and my big eyes widen with joy.
I hear a whisper from my sister in horror: “No Mama, they’re gonna think we don’t have food at home.” These big eyes scrunched up in confusion. “Of course we have food at home. Why would someone think we didn’t?”
My eyes, still big, and tongue savouring a mini chocolate éclair, scanned the room.
White faces, blonde heads. White eyeballs surveying us from the sides of their sockets.
Move towards me, an eight year old, in a pack. One face proceeds with an open mouth to say “You know you can’t take those home with you right?”
The rest cackle. I feel the delight of that eclair in my mouth spoil, expire.
2002- My first taste of a space not made for me. My sister, the black drummie danced on though, she has the trophies to prove it.
2002 or 3.
Me again. Still a little girl.
In a room full of other little girls and boys. A party for the old people in the next room.
I laugh, I pleasure my sweet tooth once again and against my quiet nature I interact with the other kids quite well.
And somewhere, like magic, dark magic, the lights were switched off.
I feel slime on the side of my neck. It reminds me of the sensation of a slug crawling up against my foot. I feel something else, warm and alive touching my chest [where there was nothing yet to be touched] and another near that triangle between my legs.
The tongue and the hands of a ten year old boy. Who whispers that he set all this up just for me.
I run out of the room feeling dirty and ashamed not knowing what I did to make him think I wanted slime.
2002/3- The first time a space I owned felt like it didn’t belong to me. Like what was mine, wasn’t.
2004 or 5.
My bedroom. My first all-girl, non-relative sleepover. My best and only friend at the time.
Excitement and junk food and I think a T.V in the background.
I can’t remember how or why but I remember my lips on hers. Feeling naughty. Giggling. Excited.
I thought it was fun practice. For what? I don’t know.
Our teeth fighting each other and confused tongues swimming around trying to find their way.
A door opens and a head pops in, it’s my mother. A smile turns into shock and confusion. For the first time I feel death in my chest.
I wonder what she thought.
I remember us both carrying on with life like it never happened and so I buried it, until I found a different set of lips to try it out with, a reminder.
2004/5- The first time I jumped into a space that felt as natural as breathing.
All these spaces; spaces not meant for me built with fences. Spaces that belonged to me- invaded. Spaces that I wanted to enter, interrupted.
Informed these black waters that I try to swim in.