1.) After I drop him off at school Monday morning, I walk back to the metro to catch the 45 train home. A man with stale coffee breath and more lines etched in his face than years I’ve been here won’t take my silence as rejection and stands too close. I forgot my pocketknife at home. As he continues flirting, I inch towards the rails, past the warning lights. I told Q I’d miss him at school today. He said “Don’t worry, I’ll see you soon.” The train is coming. I step back.
2.) Tuesday we listen to the news on the radio. Marissa Alexander looks at a possible twenty years for shooting into the ceiling as warning to her abusive husband. Q waits for a pause in the report to state, “That’s not right.” I agree as he continues, “No one should ever be punished for protecting themselves.” He makes sure he has my full attention when he finishes: “She shouldn’t have had to protect herself in the first place.” I’m not sure he’s talking about Marissa anymore.
3.) When I tell him, “There’s no point in sending kids to their rooms as punishment cause they have everything they could possibly want in there.” he begs me: “Please don’t send me there when you’re upset. Locking me in my room makes me feel like you’re throwing me away.”
4.) Thursday he won’t apologize to Mr. Sol after telling him he’s glad his son, Jake, is at home sick today. I apologize for him. After Mr. Sol leaves, Q says, “Jake isn’t nice. I’m not sorry he won’t hit me today.”
5.) Q stays under the covers Friday morning even after I yell “IT’S TIME TO GO!” Q thinks the dead are sleeping. He won’t get up unless his great grandfather gets up too.
6.) On Saturday, Q asks about you, Grace. I tell him that the boy you’re with holds your heart, I still have to ask to hold your hand. Q thinks for a moment, then shakes his head no. He tells me,“her eyes like you best.”
7.) After Sunday’s sermon, after everyone politely hurries out of church for Sunday brunch, I kneel in the pews. beg God to unbroke
me. After a few minutes, Q kneels beside.
with love because he knows I can’t remember how.
By Alexis Smithers
Alexis Smithers is a twenty one year old explosion of messes. They are queer black writer that was published in a book about how horses heal (Wild at Heart by Heather Kirby), and has work that can be found on theEEEL. Fun facts: they tied a pillowcase to their back and tried to fly after seeing Sky High, their mantra can be found in Wreck-It Ralph, The Babadook, or Orphan Black (depending on the day) and they’re terrified of mostly everything but art makes the fear easier to hold.