My Name Is Roshni

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I sneak out of the house sometimes when my Daddy is asleep, when Rhoda is too tired from rocking my niece to bed and Kelso is too doped up to care where I'm at. I run away to the tracks down the street. If I walk it's a good twenty five minutes, but If I run I can make it there in ten or less depending on the strength in my legs. Usually I make it there in ten and when I get to my favorite spot I just stand and watch everything. I watch the little kids peddling along the street, the ones who should be home and safely tucked into their beds, I see prostitutes with their head hung low and their shame heavy on their beaten shoulders.

I see all of this and remind myself that I have it good compared to them. I have a Dad even though he spends every minute awake at his job or shooting dice at that stupid hole in the wall around the corner from our sad shanty named Ruckers. I have a sister, well when she's not sobbing about how much her life sucks and burping Kizzy. And I have a brother, never mind that he dopes himself up so he can't remember that his best friend was murdered in front of him a couple years back.

I should be happy. So I smile where I'm at right now though it feels like nothing more than tired muscles moving. The wind can feel my misery, my anguish, my hopelessness, it cries with me, sighs with me and it dies with me. Tonight the world is as silent as a ghost town, no tumbleweed rolling, no children throwing rocks at each other and surprisingly no weathered prostitutes. It's just me.

It's just me alone and by myself.

Crazy isn't it? The things I do I mean, the insane things that nobody else is going to understand, like me standing on the tracks and watching the world go by. Watching my fragile community disintegrate even more and watching my culture, my people die because of themselves.

I'm black, but according to my Daddy there's Choctaw blood in us and according to my Grandma her mother in law had the highest cheekbones and wavy hair that didn't have even one kink in it. I tell my friends this and they laugh, "Nigga you darker than I am."

Yeah, so what?

I'm black.

Or is it African American?

American?

Nigger?

Nigra?

Which one?

My skin says that my lineage dates back to mother Africa, but...does it matter? Does anything matter?

I chuckle to myself and shake my head at the thoughts running rampant through my mind. They plague me all the time, my Daddy says it's because I'm a 'Thinker' like my mama. He told me the other day that she used to use 'big' words and talk all white and stuff like I do. When I told him that I talked 'proper' and not white because you can't talk 'white' he told me to put myself to good use and 'retrieve' him a beer.

"My daddy."

I love him...and sometimes I wonder if I'm a few centimeters from hating him because we are so alike. Us being similar though, it's not a good thing, not in the least. I used to be his doe eyed princess back when I was younger, but I grew up and realized that if Rhoda could sneak out of the house to screw behind the bushes and if Kelso could smoke weed in the back yard then I could speak my mind.

And since then I haven't stopped.

For right now I'm going to forget about all that, I'm going to spread my arms out wide and take in the view around me. I'm going to smile at every weathered house on this street and I'm going to bless the corner store where the old Chinese man they called 'Chink-Chink' got shot and killed a year ago and I'm going to sing. Because that's all I can do.

After all,  I'm just a Black girl.

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