The only girl in my group of black girlfriends who had a boyfriend was dating a white boy who was white enough to have a family that hated black people. We would sit squished in a row behind them with all of our smirks perfectly even as they drove us home.
The year before I graduated college, black boys started dying on TV: Trayvon Martin, then Eric Garner, then Michael Brown, then Tamir Rice.
We live together in a small studio in Chelsea, where we cook dinners and take showers.
We ask each other about dessert options and call each other good-looking even though we have gained weight.
He was gentle in a very straightforward way, pulling out chairs for me at restaurants and picking me up after work to take me to exhibition openings, where he would look at me instead of looking at the art.
After nine months, my black savior, the neuroscientist, had broken up with me and left me with no words to cry over.She was looking to me for advice on raising a fatherless child, considering my firsthand experience. It was like that for a while—dismissing every suitor who resembled my father.We rolled down the windows in her beat-up car and took in as much air as we could. Every black girl I knew was saying, “Get yourself a white man,” as though they were selling out quick.It was only when he started saying things like, “They’re all wondering why you’re with me,” while gesturing to a group of black men, that I realized he was doubting himself, too. We got stared down in every bar that we entered, and approached with unsolicited offers for company, as though our relationship could only be sexual, as though we needed more than each other to be satisfied.These were the days that he learned how to hold me when I cried.It felt too ironic; the first black man who I dated had left me in exactly the way that I feared.