All posts filed under: Fiction

Other Black Men

Looking at the floor, his eyes trained on the tiny specks of dirt that glittered the subway lino, Jacob moved his mouth into a smile. He had always been uncomfortable around people like him. ‘People like him’. Other black men. That’s who he meant. Other black men who laughed and gestured and let their natural selves echo around other people’s ears and assumptions, unapologetic. These three men on the subway, one older and two in their thirties, a combination of suits and sports wear, unashamedly entangled in conversation that made their mouths and arms move faster, wider. It wasn’t like he was embarrassed about where he came from. He was proud of his African American family, his roots, who he was in society. But there was an expectation, or certainly, he felt like there was. When other black men were present, like present, their cackles and back-slaps breaking the air, he had to acknowledge this, appreciate it, even. He had to appreciate his fellow man, as if to say, ‘hey, I’m like you so I get your joke, I get your smile, I …

Marnie 2.0

Her name was Marnie, and she lived in my head. That’s not to say she wasn’t real. She was real, alright. We were best friends. I met Marnie at college and she judged me everywhere. In the changing rooms, at the bar, in the supermarket. But soon she started judging me even when I was alone, and that was when the blurry switchover began. Marnie grew up into Marnie 2.0, a mellow, mature, thoughtful person and a brilliant friend. But the Marnie I’d allowed into my head still resided there, fully present, a vision of Marnie 2.0’s past, clear as day. So while Marnie 2.0 and I embarked on a flourished friendship, Marnie continued to be the spokesperson for all of my thoughts, the revolutionist changing my ideals. My insecurities refused to cut free the adolescent Marnie. They lapped it up, revelled in how much I looked to her, this now non-existent everyday monster. It was unfair on me. But it was more unfair on Marnie 2.0. You grow up, shed those questionable layers that defined you for just a speck …