Chasing having a girlfriend had become my white rabbit. That’s not a pun, but they were almost always white. My parents didn’t hate it but did their best to discourage it. My father ominously told me that liking white girls was the reason I kept getting hurt. He said that one day I would understand why. That was the last piece of advice he ever gave me.
Dating a black girl was next to impossible though. There was only one in my grade, and Latoya was crazy. We made fun of her then but looking back, I understand how tough it must’ve been being the only black girl at that school. It was rough enough being me, and women far too often have it disproportionately harder. As much as I love women, I thank God I’m not one. It would suck having to like dudes, and again, not a pun.
But I didn’t think it was fair. If dating in St. Clairsville was segregated, the separation wasn’t equal. White boys had way more options. I was slowly starting to realize the world of ‘white love’ was a place they were never going to fully let me into.
Alexis being with Craig was an exception that distorted my reality. I thought I could have a white girlfriend, no big deal. I didn’t realize yet that most parents would literally disown their daughters if they were to bring me home. So even when I could pull off finding a girl who liked me back, which wasn’t an easy task – I then had to somehow convince her that being with me was worth losing her entire family. My game was never that good.
The thing about being different than everyone around you is that because you’re looking at the world out of your eyes, you start to forget that you’re different. You think you’re the same as the people you’re looking at. But they like to remind you, when you get too close, you’re not one of them. Deep down, I know they’ll always view me as lesser, even if they’re not aware of this consciously.
If that’s not enough, I sucked at basketball. I tried out for the team my 7th grade year and was promptly cut. I don’t know why any school would cut any kid from any team. Like do y’all really care about winning so bad that instead of letting a kid play games with his friends, you’ll leave him to roam the streets and get in trouble? Well, that’s what they did to me.
Being able to have that camaraderie, not to mention exercise, could’ve vastly improved my life. But instead I was forced to just hangout Uptown, where the drug dealers would kick it by the pay phones and wait for clients to page them. They took a liking to me though and I learned about another type of game, but we’ll get to that.
I would have my revenge on the coach who cut me…
My dad never wanted me to go to the pool because he had a friend that drowned when he was young. He was also disappointed I wasn’t better at sports. Ironically, him keeping me away from water was preventing me from the one sport I would be good at. Luckily I didn’t listen to him, like I never listened to anyone.
I joined the swim team and unsurprisingly was the first black kid to do so. At first I was terrible, just god awful. I could barely swim one lap across the pool. But for some reason I stuck with it. I would go on to win first place in races! Perhaps my crowning competitive athletic achievement. To this day, I’m the fastest of my friends in the water. It’s still the only sport I’m good at.
There were no try outs, and because of this I was able to stay on the team, which allowed me to improve. Now I have a life-long skill that I still utilize as much as I can. Everyone knows swimming is the best exercise.
The basketball coach who cut me had a daughter a year older than me that was also on the swim team. She grabbed my ass one day under water. I took that as free reign to touch her back as much as I wanted. That whole summer I felt her up under that cold Allen Pool water. It was my first sexual experience, and it was amazing. So even though they wouldn’t let me into their homes or hearts, I still knew what that ass felt like.
Today, not much has changed.