She was beautiful as shit, and very well-endowed, in her humanity. But the one thing that had made me fall for the creature — head first against the tiled floor of an empty pool (SMACK!) — was her ability to always say what she meant and to say it with the precision of a sniper: (POW!)
There was a gap though — a space where she lingered while choosing her words carefully and squinting her dark African eyes at her speaking opponents. Half a generation older than me and so many exotic heritages apart, she had patience — in spades. So, while I would be stepping on toes of the speaker — some over-read academic whose fear of our female flesh would make him work overtime at spewing out big words with which he hoped to dominate and conquer — while I would be wedging in my objections and stuttering with my youthful wrath (and with having so much to prove!), my girl would just hold there. She would hold her fucking ground, my brothers and sisters — like Joan of Arc before her tribunal — and she wouldn’t fucking move!
It was so bloody impressive — it gave me a hard-on! It was like watching one of those big cats at their hunting game: You know better than to intrude, because you suddenly become aware that that cat’s evolution has not been contaminated by a century of junk food, bad decisions and hedonistic behaviors utilized to shut out its guilty conscience. The cat is on top of its game: It’s perfectly equipped — on point! — and it never has to work hard at proving jack shit. And you know, for certain, that when the time is right for that one outrageous pounce — meant to capture, never to just tease — the poor victim won’t have enough time to even utter a prayer.
Well, it was like that, with this girl. She would watch the poor sucker who overcompensated his boner with words, words, words — BULLSHIT! — and she would seem so chill. Her glorious brown body appeared perfectly relaxed. There was no verbal jab in the world that could make her shiver with wrath; no words capable of making her lose her composure; or even shift your weight. Okay, maybe — may-be! — occasionally she would raise one eyebrow; but even that was barely noticeable. You had to be in dire love with her to notice that change. Which I was. So — I did.
And when she would pounce — OH, LORD JESUS! — it was so much fun to watch! If the asexual academic had been presumptuous at all about his vocabulary and degrees, the moment my girl unleashed: She destroyed the fucker. Because you couldn’t tell by her youthful face, which she insisted on wearing without any make-up, but she’d had years of education and a lifetime of reading to back her up. She studied language for a living, working as an editor at every publishing house with its focus on radical writers: female and foreign and black! (FUCK!) And just for fun, on weekends, when others got busy shifting around their patio furniture for barbecues in Brooklyn — she wrote poetry.
Some shifted the mundane — she displaced the real.
And she would win. Always! Because she wasn’t too hung up on the meaning of words. Language, to her, was meant to be played with. Otherwise, it was all dead. So, true to that same feline fashion of hers, she played a gentle tug o’ war with concepts — tapping them, scratching the surface, or sinking her fangs into their gist — like a bored cat amusing itself with a caught prey before feasting on it.
Don’t get me wrong: She had her truths. Better than that: She WAS all truth! Love, dignity, sex and ethics — those were non-negotiable. Not a thing to play with! But words themselves — those little rodents and birds — were way too much fun to not fuck with.
Back then, I had once confused a man for the love of my life and I worked so hard on earning him. At first, I tried on my ultra-feminine version: All high heels, and eye-liner, and ruffled skirts that carefully ended at my knees. I thought:
“Maybe he would love me more that way! Maybe if I’d waxed, tamed my eyebrows, painted my nails in pretty pink; if I spoke with Americanized inflections and curtsied when he picked me up at Grand Central. MAYBE!”
But after a year of still not being enough — of all that uncertainty and self-doubt — I began forgetting that I always hated make-up, especially in pink; and that I treading daintily — just wasn’t my style. So, I gave myself a boy cut, loaded my closet with flats, white tank tops and tight jeans; and began taking the train into Manhattan thrice a week.
One day, my girl and I had stepped out onto Madison Ave, to do some hunting. It was one of those spring days that breathed down New Yorkers’ neck with warm air and smells of budding cherry trees — but the sun had yet to come out. We strutted southbound. My girl lead the way. Despite the promise of spring, she had zipped-up her hoody; and not tempted for a second to absorb the one New York season that reminds its natives as to why they choose to suffer there for the rest of the year, she hurriedly strutted to our decided destination.
A Nuevo-Rican had come from behind us at a pedestrian crossing and studied our asses, in creepy silence; and when he realized my girl was one hot number underneath that zipped-up hoody, he began to whine, nasally:
“Fuck you!” my girl shot him down over her shoulder and stepped off the curb, long before the light had changed in our favor. POW!
“So, what was your definition of ‘forgiveness’?” Just like that, she was back to me. She was back — with me. MINE! I’d been out of breath for thirteen blocks by now: from trying to catch up to her, like that poor Nuevo-Rican doubling over behind us, at the street light. Not waiting for my answer, she resumed:
“Forgiveness — is like courage: It is only committed for your own sake.”
“Forgiveness is like courage,” I repeated in a half-whisper, as if asking for her hand in marriage.
“NO!” she threw over her shoulder again, like a fuck-you to those who were unable to catch up. “Forgiveness IS courage.”
And off she went: strutting, leaping, pouncing and leading the way, half a generation ahead of me and through strange, exotic histories in between; running every red light and giving me the most generous go-ahead of my life.