What do you know about Brooklyn? Maybe you know that the Dodgers were Brooklyn long before they were L.A. Maybe one of your fancy tutors made you read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." Or you rented the movie with one of your blond, sophisticate ex-girlfriends to feel highbrow and intellectual. Maybe you know it's something called a 'borough' in New York City. Congratulations, you read a travel guide.
And maybe, just maybe, you see Brooklyn in my face.
Maybe you see it in the way I walk too fast past the Wyndham's windows and don't look up at the people around me.
In the way I tense when a bottle breaks or get misty when a fire hydrant explodes into fountains of rushing, white water.
And maybe you hear Brooklyn in my voice.
When I give you attitude that isn't as nasal as the Bronx but still strident. Sassier than the calm, cultured tones my mother tried to cultivate in me and Marcus so that you *wouldn't* hear the neighborhood in my voice. So you wouldn't know where I came from...that I was different.
But you can see that on my face, too.
Because Brooklyn is just under my skin...the black IS my skin.
Do you think about that, Prince Nikolas? When you're holding me curled against you at night? Do you see how I look in your arms?
Do you touch the kinks in my hair--my power, my pride--the thick, oily, dreadlocks, and do you feel dread? When you bury your face in the ebony, do you wish for pure ivory instead?
Do you look at how your Greek tan is darker and how your burden is lighter? Do you wonder if that's fair? That your olive skin comes with privilege and my "blackness" comes with baggage? The slamming of doors. The heritage of slavery. The glass ceiling. The opportunities that I could have at Columbia along with the stigmas I can't escape no matter where I graduate from.
What do you know about Brooklyn?
What do you know about me and where I come from?
Who I am?
I ask myself this over and over, Nikolas.
I tell myself, you cannot know....that you could not understand...that you are a white prince....metaphor and re.a.li.ty.
And then you call me "princess." Me. Brooklyn and Black. Princess Me.
And you mean it.
And I ask myself if you're just naive and color blind and too wrapped up in gothic family drama to notice what's different between us.
"No," your smile tells me, "I'm just in love enough to see how we're exactly the same."
I should push you away when you smile like that.
I should push you away and remember who I am. Who you're not supposed to *be*...not to ME.
What do you know about Brooklyn? Maybe you know that the Dodgers were Brooklyn long before they were L.A. Maybe one of your fancy tutors made you read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." Or you rented it with one of your blond, sophisticate ex-girlfriends to feel highbrow and intellectual. Maybe you know it's something called a 'borough' in New York City. Congratulations, you read a travel guide.
Congratulations, Sweet Prince.
Brooklyn is just under my skin. Black IS my skin.
And you...you're my mirror.
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