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Half of my mother’s four sisters are married to white men.
We stood on the head of our warnings every day as we got to know each other. I knew I was a far away from the Latina girls he was used to with silk hair, milk-toffee skin, and sharp tongues: I had forgotten how vulnerable it felt to be black in the apartment building lobby of a potential love. Before every date I would always buy myself a new outfit or piece of clothing to impress him, as though being constantly new would distract from any shortcomings.
I would stretch my hair every inch that I could, to make it appear longer. There were days when we fought and said things to each other like “That must have been from how you were raised.” We got assaulted on the street by men who would yell “Black and white don’t mix” and smash their shoulders into ours.
It was only a month later that it struck me that it was over.
After nine months, my black savior, the neuroscientist, had broken up with me and left me with no words to cry over.
I had stopped knowing who to count out at parties or open bars, and so I winged it.
I found myself on a first date with a guy who was born and raised in Yonkers, with a family from El Salvador.
I didn’t date for two years following that breakup.
I cleaned myself up: I got a well-paying job; moved to the city; got my own apartment and painted it yellow and got plants to place on the windowsill. I joined Tinder on a whim to break the routine of eat, work, eat, sleep.
I had hushed conversations in the corners of cafés about how important it was to keep feeding the black community with positive affirmations and how it began with loving black men.
I wore Black Lives Matter buttons, attended marches, sported hoodies, vowed to date only black men, and prepared myself to raise a son who might be faced with a death in the same vein as Trayvon, a name I had spoken so often that it felt like that of a brother.
He tweeted, "I got this car for Chris and would not have done so if he wasn't an awesome young man with a bright future.