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He was gentle in a very straightforward way, pulling out chairs for me at restaurants and picking me up after work to take me to exhibition openings, where he would look at me instead of looking at the art.
He supported my work and called me Butterfly; our relationship was nauseatingly blissful. I posted photos of black love on every social media account and considered myself as part of a larger revolution.
I wondered how men with such delicate bodies seemed to be the only ones who could endure the storm. We bought crop tops, tight jeans, and earrings so big that they touched our shoulders.
When my cousin on the all-black side birthed a baby girl whose father had become abusive, we took a long ride to a shopping mall. On the ride home we were quiet and I decided I would never date a black man as long as my feet touched this earth.
We ask each other about dessert options and call each other good-looking even though we have gained weight.
Our family is a classic case of women and the black men who left them versus the white men who stayed.
I remember being 6 and slapping my white uncle in the face to figure out why his face turned bloodred.
The only girl in my group of black girlfriends who had a boyfriend was dating a white boy who was white enough to have a family that hated black people. We would sit squished in a row behind them with all of our smirks perfectly even as they drove us home.
The year before I graduated college, black boys started dying on TV: Trayvon Martin, then Eric Garner, then Michael Brown, then Tamir Rice.