what kills me is that i’ve spent my whole damn life resisting clichés; never, ever, fucking bought into them, but the night of the party my eyes did meet his across a crowded room, and we did begin drifting towards each other as if god’s hands were pushing us together, and even though my mind tried to wrestle me down, shouting girl what are you–? don’t you have any–? i did keep moving toward him, this lanky white boy with sea-green eyes, and him toward me, both of us slipping through gyrating bodies and veils of cigarette smoke and the pounding beat until we stood there breathing on each other. and, god, we did begin to dance, just like that, moving slowly although the music was fast, fingers intertwined, gaze like honey, and i had wanted to stop, break away from whatever this bullshit was, because i knew i knew i knew, it couldn’t be what it seemed, but when he kissed me, it was like all the fairytales i didn’t believe in. magic. an awakening. so, what the hell, i did go home with him and we did make slow love by candlelight, twice, and i did curl in his arms after, his warm lips on my neck, me tracing the veins in his hand with my finger. and given that everything in my life–my mother, my grandmother, the whole sorry-ass history of the world–had told me this moment could not be trusted, when he kissed my shoulder and whispered that he’d always wanted to make love to a beautiful black woman and it was everything that he’d imagined, i knew it shouldn’t have wrecked me, but it did.
First published in Snow Crow: the Bath Flash Fiction Anthology in December 2021.