20 December 2007

11:00 p.m.

My uncle has a Bible and he’s reading Hebrews with a man who moved up from Benton Harbor after a few felony charges, to start a new life, and who tells me that the work I was doing in Sudan is needed here in town. College kids with dyed black hair are reading and smoking and discussing intellectual books. When we first came here in high school, three of us from white middle-class families feeling intrepid because our other friends were a little scared of this part of town, these college students seemed old and knowledgeable about the world with their artfully draped, faded, expensive clothes, and now they seem young and like maybe they are mostly just trying to seem smart. Smoke hangs in the air and permeates my clothes. I no longer flee upstairs to the nonsmoking section. I look at my glass and wish for just one more swallow of the perfect mint mocha, but I drank it down in the first ten minutes. There are people talking loudly about threats and reactions and what they will and won’t tolerate, and we are ignoring them and focusing on the board and the letters. We don’t have an official dictionary, so I’m asking J. about the words because he knows more of the dictionary, and he’s letting me get away with zaggers, despite, I’m sure, its failure to actually be a word. He beats me, by 23 points, and my uncle is disappointed, because he’s told everyone how smart I am, but I don’t mind, because I’m not that great at this shuffling the letters around to make words, and I don’t know the little sneaky words yet. J. offers to give me a 100 point lead next time if I will pay him a penny for every point he beats me, but I would rather lose fairly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

HOORAY! I'm there in spirit :)