Category : Stories

She had stopped in her home bathroom, then at the car, and now she stood outside of the bar, balking once again.
Who did she think she was, anyway?
She turned around just in time to see her Uber driver pull off. She was in it now. She touched up her miniskirt and entered, her walk full of feigned confidence.
She would often forget her place here, while drinking among the elites.
The elites, white men, the ones she had learned about but never was allowed to touch and was afraid to look at, and now here she sat, guzzling stronger and stronger drinks and making jokes they laughed at with their whole chests.
She had had more contact with them than people that looked like her were allowed. Comfort at her level was uncommon, which both made her a welcome anomaly and quite uneasy at once.
She played the part well, very well, when drunk, curious, and intrusive white men touched her, or cornered her, or insulted her while laughing into their Yaeger bombs.
It had been a long journey to this bar. No one could know that without having a sit down and a tea.
A long journey to be able to lightly giggle and brush off the casually racist jokes, or more the blatant sexist ones.
Awkwardly replying, “um, thank you…” When they announced their secret, apparently forbidden attraction to black women.
Expertly side-stepping the questions about her hair, or her ass, or where she learned to dance like that.
Playing the part so well that her performance earns her an invite to brunch the next day.
Feeling passively accepted. Forgetting to feel like she didn’t belong. Hearing “you’re cool” and reveling in it.
She was so ashamed at how good if felt to hear that. Fuck them for making her realize that she secretly wanted their approval.
It’s funny how much she had wanted this, to be here, and funnier how much she hated it now that she was.
Cool enough to eat at the cool kids table.
To move through a sea of white, a lone spot of melanin, nearly feeling them wonder why she was chosen.
Side eyeing the side eyes undoubtably questioning her worthiness.
Her friend Tony was no more than arms-distance away from her the entire night. His closeness offered her a strange feeling comfort, though she suspected that the purpose of her invite was ulterior.
For the night, however, he was all she had.
Plus, he’d bought her two drinks so right now, at least, he was an ally.
His friends were friendly enough, crop-cut and carefree.
Of course they were.
They asked her what her drink was. She answered “whiskey, straight up.” And smiled back when they looked impressed. So she sipped it ceremoniously, even though it was bottom-shelf, and even though she was nervous enough to down it like a shot.
It was a narrow bar, shaped like a long hallway. It was impossible to pass through the crowd without making full body contact with at least five unwilling strangers. It was full of sticky heat that ran down the center of her back, pooling on the top of Tony’s hand which was resting on her naked lower back.
TV was probably the culprit, isn’t is always? Because she was adventurous and too curious for her own good she had found herself all alone in a big city for two years, of which at least a collective 18 months was spent watching her Netflix account. It knew her so well at this point, suggesting more light comedies around carefree groups of white friends where color didn’t exist at all.
Light comedies that were never interrupted by oppression, or being poor, or crippling anxiety and depression that seemed impossible to climb out of.
Who wouldn’t want that? Who wouldn’t give up all that they were in order to be invited?
She missed her black friends, and black friends in general. She never quite fit into the narrow Black women tropes that her friend groups tried to emulate. She didn’t gossip enough, snap enough, fuck enough, pray enough. But she missed them. Even though she’d always wanted something else, too.
What else, she wasn’t sure.
To play the token?
Tony’s hand was still resting on the small of her back 1.5 drinks in. It relaxed her. Maybe it shouldn’t have. But if he thought she was sexy then she had a little power, and the more powerful, the safer.
Maybe this is what it was like. Having a little power, all the time. Maybe this is what she had been reaching for the whole time, and was sacrificing her lower back to get.
She adjusted her sequined miniskirt, distracted for a second by the flecks of light reflecting around the otherwise dark room.
A friendly bartender has brought her a large, pink drink in a frosted glass that she didn’t order.
The Panty Dropper! She’d exclaimed, ignoring how painful those horrible words escaping her mouth felt.
She hated what acceptance did to her hardened principles.
she didn’t even belong here. She must make some concessions.
The bartender, a slim girl, looked surprised as she stammered in agreement. Her eyes were full of judgement.
But she is lily white, thin, and gorgeous. She doesn’t have to understand.
So she stood there, with her pink drink and miniskirt, listening to her drinking buddies try to out un-racist one another. She sighed through her strained smile.
Panty dropper.
She stared down into the glass as she took a long sip.
His hand was moving down now. She ignored it.
Took another sip.
Now he seemed to grab her with expectation.
She forced a giggle.
A clear invitation, he would trumpet in court months later, standing behind his lion of a lawyer.
He asked how the drink was. He told her he had sent it. Her definitely not racist drinking buddies all laughed.
Her empathic nod of appreciation would prove “knowledge of intent”, or in layman’s terms, she was fully awake that she was being drugged.
Probably wanted it, why else would she wear that tiny disco ball as a skirt?
You know these hot black girls.
They are hungry for a party.
She wasn’t.
She just wanted an in. And it dangled in front of her that night, closer than it had ever been.
That’s why she didn’t try to leave when the room started blurring,
and then spinning,
and then tilting.
She learned on him. It was an implied request for support, not intent! her lawyer would argue loudly, as she sobbed quietly behind her.
Just like that night, she would put on makeup and her best clothes, change her hair three times, wonder if her lipstick was too much.
She would stop in the mirror
Then at the car
Then at the door.
She would pass the eyes that wondered why she deserved to be there
And ones that come up with their own reasons why.
Everything was the same as that night.
Before he waited for her gulp it down
Watched her relax
And grinned to his friends as he asked for a dance.
Just like that night, she would tug at her skirt as another white man decided whether she was worth her own dignity
or the trouble.

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