Forgive. Forgive like the murderer who has ripped apart a family with the pull of the small, but mighty, trigger in his unjust hands. Kidnapping a prize that he will never keep, and I cease to enjoy. Forgive like the way we convince ourselves that kale is like cake, when cake is not like kale. The lies we thread between our teeth to cleanse ourselves of the guilt we perceive. Forgive. Like an ex love who cannot release stress without the caress and imitated love felt by a stranger. Like a band aid that will not stick, the sorry’s and I love you’s just keep coming.
Tired. The kind of tired you feel when you have lost your job and have an empty fridge sitting in a house full of kids. Like the kind of tired there is when you have defended yourself time after time to be questioned yet another round. Like the child bullied for the condition of their sneakers, or the tattered look of their clothes. Tired like the young woman, sleeves pull tight to her thumbs, lips sealed like the promise to the monster at home. The kind of tired that fetches for answers but always comes up with the average turn away. The ‘one step from falling’ but still holding on kind of tired. A word so easily used, but packed full of meaning.
Normal. Like the clear cut definition of a person whom nobody knows. To the standards held up by a lynch just waiting for the few kids who fall short of it. Normal like the subtle twitch to my eye as the kid next to me insults my entire being. Like the family he grew up in, he is nothing but normal. Normal like the yellow dotted line separating the oncoming traffic from what could be chaos. But chaos is normal, right? Normal like the child sitting in his home, witnessing every needle, substance, and pill ingested by his guardian. Like the powerful rumble in his stomach, too loud to forget, too normal to fix; hunger is normal for them.
Black. Like that extra melanin racing through your body, into your soul, it’s a high maintenance detail to the eye. Black like the entrance to a room where everybody can’t help but notice your appearance; where the people not only look at your skin, but your hair, your lips, your clothes, and your company eager to make assumptions. Black like memories we shall not remember but must not run from. Like the ones with strange fruit, hanging in trees and families torn apart by a single penny. Black, like the mention of the word as you walk careful across a bed of egg shells; a culture so delicate to mention but so craved to express and understand. Like the cover to a beautiful leather book you are so uneasy to open. Black like the relaxer, pressed into our hair. Like the long locks dangling down our backside, commonly conceived as a red flag to some.
Love. Like an overplayed, overused, and underrated emotion we endlessly search to acquire. Like the excitement felt as a young child, reading about our prince, desperately waiting. We Know a Desperate Love. Love, a cover word for mistakes and wrongdoings. Like the love felt after bruising the brow of a young woman, “I did it because I love her.” Like a space bar on the keyboard, we are programmed to “love” without fear. Love whomever and whatever just to learn that love, is not the love we are hoping for. Like the leftover batter from a chocolate cake; the taste so delightful until we have had enough. Love like a battered child, captive in his own normality of love. Beat on a daily, a heart torn from affection, but he knows no other kind of love.