Short Stories

Different Shades of Black.

He sat at the bar with his buddies, hovering over a watered-down shot of patron he’s been taking sips of all night. His friends were taking shot after shot after shot, but he was working on the same shot and bottle of beer all night. She didn’t like him to drink. She was supposed to be there tonight. The bar was dark and empty for a Saturday night. That’s also how he felt–dark and empty. Every time he wanted her to meet his friends, the boys he grew up with and attended college with, she had an excuse. Maybe he chose the wrong social settings, but now he’s thinking that maybe it’s just her.

 

He slipped away from his three best friends without notifying them and without them even noticing. He blended in with the blackness of the bar, and his demeanor mirrored the quietness of the facility. He’s always been a quiet, black guy. He always held his tongue, allowed others to say horrible jokes about his people, and he prided himself off of white people telling him he’s different from the others. She said it to him all the time. But, tonight is the third night she’s stood him up, and now he feels she sees him as the same.

 

He pulled his phone out of his pocket and he had no messages. She didn’t even bother to give an excuse as to why she couldn’t make it. He thought about calling, but she probably wouldn’t answer. He put his phone back in his pocket and went back to the bar to get through the rest of the graduation celebration. They started off at the school at the senior festivities where they vacuumed up the free food and cheap champagne, then they made an appearance at the club to give hugs and goodbyes to friends where they forced themselves off the dance floor, then per request a strip club visit where they thought saying they were graduating would get them a free lap dance, and now they’re ending the night at their favorite arcade bar where the security and bartenders know their names and orders.

 

She was supposed to meet up with them at the bar. He’s invited her every week they come for the past year they have been dating, but she has always had a believable excuse: there’s no girls there, she didn’t like partying, working late, homework, at her mom and dad’s house in Sacramento, sick, on her period, at church… He would believe anything she said, that’s because he loved her. They met the summer before senior year on a month-long trip they both went on with the school’s nursing department to provide medical care to a village in Africa, and he said the magical three words for the first time on their three-month anniversary, after they went out for brunch and he watched in awe as she devoured nineteen of the all-you-can-eat strawberry pancakes.

“Davon!” his friend shouted, walking over to him with a pool stick swaying side to side in his hand.

“Sorry, had to take a leak,” Davon sighed.

“Thought you were ditching us.”

“No. Just was seeing if Samantha was coming.”

“What will it take for you to realize she’s not into your blackness, a bullet?”

“She is. She wouldn’t be with me if she wasn’t.”

“So, she’s into your blackness? Fetish? Trophy? Piss off her parents? Or she genuinely likes you?”

“You always have to be a complicated dickhead,” Davon scoffed.

“Just looking out for you.”

“You’re jealous.”

“Whatever, Davon. We told you to stay away from those white girls,” he shook his head, extending the pool stick and pushing it into Davon’s chest like a bullet.

“Shut the fuck up.”

“I bet her dad cringed when he said your name. Did he shake your hand?”

“It’s 2017. Shut the fuck up.”

“No. You wake the fuck up.”

“Fuck you.”

“This is why African American Studies shouldn’t be an elective, you need to educate yourself, nigga.”

 

Davon sprung up from the barstool and got in his friend’s face. He never fought before, and he didn’t plan on fighting tonight. But the small portion of liquor he had begun to dictate his body. His friend looked down at Davon with a smirk, both of them had ragged breathing and a bucket of adrenaline. The friend’s mouth opened wide to let out a laugh. But it was ceased when Davon grabbed the pool stick from his chocolate-colored sweaty hands and broke it in half with his knee.

“I’m leaving.” He said throwing the snapped stick back to his friend.

“I hope you learn before it’s too late!” his friend yelled as he stormed out the door.

 

He got to his apartment and there she was, sitting on the floor with her back against his door. She was in a robe and house shoes, and she smelled like strawberries and seduction.

“Samantha.”

“Davon. There you are,” she smiled as he helped her raise from the ground, dusting her robe off.

“What do you mean, here I am? I was at the bar, where were you?” he said, irritated.

“Davon,” she said, emphasizing the two syllables.

“Why didn’t you come?”

“Let’s go inside.”

He unlocked the door and pushed it open to let her in first. As he stepped into his apartment she pushed him against the wall and began to kiss him. She untied her robe and pushed it off with her thumb and index finger as her other hand wandered through Davon’s hair. He kissed back weakly, full of confusion and a little hurt.

“Stop trying to distract me. Why didn’t you come?” he said, putting his head down to stop the kissing, but she just started to kiss his neck.

“Let’s go to the room.”

“Samantha.”

“Come on, baby,” she whispered in-between kisses.

“Samantha! I fucking said stop!” he screamed, making her back her naked body away from him. Her blue eyes grew wide and her heart beat quickened.

“Davon.”

“Why the fuck didn’t you come?”

“Why are you being so violent?”

“All I did was say fuck.”

“I don’t like it.”

“I know another thing you don’t like.”

“What is that?”

“Black people.”

“I don’t hate them, but I just get uncomfortable around a lot of them.”

“Why?”

“I’m like a tiny piece of cotton in a pile of nails.”

“Don’t ever use a cotton analogy when talking about black people.”

“You get what I mean though, right? It’s uncomfortable.”

“You’re talking about my family, my friends. We couldn’t get married, you’d be uncomfortable at your own wedding.”

“I get uncomfortable. I can’t help it!”

“Welcome to my world.”

“They make you uncomfortable too?”

“No. I meant welcome to being the minority for just a few hours of your privileged life. To having your skin be so loud that it bother’s people eyes. I endure that at school, at work, restaurants, everywhere.”

“You don’t hurt my eyes.”

“And, it’s actually worse for me–to be black in a sea of white people, because your people fear me, abuse me, hate me, use me, and kill me. But my people, even when there’s just one of you and twenty of them, they’re worried about impressing you and accommodating you and trying to exist in a space around you just to feel human or accepted or to prevent from being killed.”

“Sorry for mentioning it.”

“No thank you for mentioning it. A talk about race always shows true colors. We should break up,” he sighed.

“Because I don’t like black people?”

“I sat through a fucking dinner with your parents grilling me and a lion head on the wall staring me down, and you don’t even like me?”

“I didn’t mean you. You’re different.”

“Bye, Samantha.”

He watched her long, blond hair cover her face as she bent down to pick up her robe and tied it tightly around her body. He held the door open and let her walk out. They said nothing else to each other. He couldn’t even look at her, and that’s probably how she felt since they first met.

 

Thanks for reading! This was another story I spontaneously thought of that was sitting in my notes. I planned on it being a small scene, but it turned into a short story or flash fiction. Haha. Hope you enjoyed it! Be sure to comment your thoughts below and subscribe! Happy Thursday! 

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