Wednesday, June 20, 2018

the last book I ever read (Venita Blackburn's Black Jesus and Other Superheroes: Stories, excerpt three)

from Black Jesus and Other Superheroes: Stories by Venita Blackburn:

T always knew better than I did about complicated situations, not so much the crushes I would get on other girls, but she understood people’s motivations, told me not to trust Mackensie in eighth grade because she just wanted to be my friend for my fruit snacks, Pilar in ninth grade snuck in on my locker space, and now Esperanza inspired reservations. T was always right. I liked that she gave me choices. Quit. Quit? Quit. Quit. Quit. Quit. Quit. Quit. Quit. Quit. Quit. Quit. Quit. Quit. Quit. The word tasted bad, made little since in the context of our lives when Daddy helped us train, sprints every morning, T’s shoulders like afire hydrant, unbeatable fastball, my sprint times unmatched, a duo so good Coach couldn’t believe it. He promised to take care of us now, made T break up with her almost-boyfriend, Dawan, a boy too stupid or scared to look grief or Coach in the face without lowering his long duck lips, unlike Coach always there, upright, actually seeing us, and to leave the game condemned us to invisibility, again. T still waited for an answer on killing or quitting, but I took too long to decide, so she hit me on the thigh with a wood ruler, a thick one, didn’t make me jump just send a deept sting through my muscles that showed me stuff, fibers in the carpet crinkling in waves under pressure from the AC vents, some cold and anxious force arced over T, the membrane of fluid around her eyeball deep enough to swim in, asking me for help, and I didn’t know why yet, but right then knew for sure we needed to quit softball.

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