I wonder about it.
What I heard when you spoke to me that first time. We let our tongues loose on topics like travel and gender inequality in the workplace. You expressed scepticism over whether the latter really still exists, and I went to work trying to convince you with facts. I didn’t remember for long moments that you were a straight white male, that you had little knowledge or need for empathy towards those that didn’t look like you. The ones that carried more than your three monikers.
I only paid attention to your lips. Thicker than I expected. white boy, white boy. Just a repeated tune humming somewhere in the back of my head, waiting for the right moment to pounce. But we weren’t there yet.
Instead I listened to you peg me as a romantic after I revealed all the reasons why I couldn’t be anything but. And I swooned towards you because of it, pretended you were a mind-reader; maybe an indication of some soul connection we might have?
I often breeze past red flags as if they’re the beginning of the race, not the end.
I saw your eyes flicker below my chin, my shirt open slightly, carefully constructed that way to reveal just enough skin, but not too much. I had a hunch about you from the start, despite our conversation that filled the air with nothing. We listened to live music and took it as a meaningful surprise when a stranger’s fingers began to strum a guitar. We had both forgotten that performance was what the bar was famous for. Instead we were first-date-lucky, and working on something sentimental, probably. No one else had to know.
It was the first time I didn’t care about being the only black girl in the bar, because I knew there was a set of eyes on me, lustful and inviting. white boy, white boy.
We exited, knowing and not knowing where we were headed. That sizzle and snap between us left me foggy, sense seeping out of my ears as I listened to you make silly jokes with a relaxed, Aussie accent. You were from here, I wasn’t.
And I think I saw Captain Cook in your eye; eager to discover, and devour, and claim as your own, ignoring what was there before. So why did I want you?
Maybe I thought love was a reckoning, a reimagining of hell, a way to tear people apart so that once it was done, they could put themselves back together again, stronger than before, if they survived it. I craved deadness, even when I was surrounded by life.
Your tongue felt like mine, like I knew it, like it had always been in my mouth and this was as natural as breathing. My fingers tangled with blonde locs and a bristly neck, your palm cupping things below, pulling me against you, a ferocious tousle of hair and skin. And we stood this way, in between quiet train tracks, and I knew you wanted to ravish me, there and then in a public place we both frequented. So I pulled back and began the aching process of wanting you from afar, letting it engulf me again, more than before. I still had some control, though it was temporary.
You weren’t surprised, only satisfied with yourself, with what you’d left with me, the taste and smell of you, the flick of a grin as I backed away and walked the rest of the way home alone. I sensed you long after you were gone, already telling myself what a great time it had been. That I couldn’t wait to kiss you again, that that kind of fire didn’t come along very often. It had to mean something, right? white boy, white boy. Exactly as I imagined you, yet still surprised by how quickly you led me away from the things I have always known.