Proposed Alternatives to the “we were kings & queens” Narratives

Corona Chronicles, No. 2

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9:53 am – Sunday, April 5, 2020 – Breakfast Table

Eric and I were discussing our predictions for a post-Coronavirus world last night.

Eric has known me since sophomore year of college – back when I first started assaulting his inboxes with far-fetched predictions about U.S. socioeconomic institutions – so there was no reason for me to be measured with my thoughts. No need to be “realistic” now. I cracked my knuckles, straightened my back, and sent text after text about society’s dizzying acceleration toward the matrix.

A third political party emerges!

VR gyms! VR nightclubs! 5-star vacations through augmented reality!

The first generation of children to evolve past the need for physical contact!  

And depending on how long this goes, I said as my final mic drop, sex robots becoming a lot more socially acceptable!

I was expecting to see a string of *mind blown* emojis the next time my phone dinged.  A Wee Bey gif or something to show that his third eye had officially been opened. But I knew as soon as I picked up the phone that he wasn’t buying it.

MFs can barely figure out how to mute the microphone in Google Meet, he said. We’re far from a cyber dystopia.

What could I say expect a hearty touché?

But Eric wasn’t Mr. Logic and Reason with his post-COVID predictions either. Instead of a cyber dystopia like I was predicting, he was thinking more along the lines of The Walking Dead.

Two of my co-workers have family in Detroit with COVID who are showing signs of mental and emotional issues, he wrote, ominously. Maybe it’s the start of the crazies.

I was like wuuuuuuut and suggested that it might have something to do with isolation and perhaps those folks just needed time to readjust, but I didn’t push it. Or judge. Like our G-Chats from the problematic years of 2008-2012, our texts are a safe space. But I wasn’t about to take that highly suspect, anecdotal, third-party information seriously either.

That was, until this morning, when I saw my dad.

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Corona Chronicles, No. 1

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Sunday, March 8, 2020 – 12:33 p.m. – Cherie Flores Gardens

I’m proud of myself.

Even though Arnez had to work,

Even though Roc couldn’t join,

Even though HR fucked up my first full-time paycheck,

Even though whispers of pandemic were slowly starting to turn into shouts and screams,

I went.

After months of being in the house – waging a multi-front war against Jada F. Perfect with her measuring tape and Mean Girls caliber insults; Scary Spice Smith who pees her pants every time the phone dings; and Da Brat Tat Tat Tat who will turn over every jungle gym in this playground if recess ends even a second before she thinks it should end – I needed it.

I needed to see people. I needed to feel people. I needed to pass a mirror and behold something other than my ashy legs sticking out of a XXXL Jack Yates hoodie.

The last time I felt ready to be out in the world – a couple months after moving back to Houston – I went to a very Howard-esque brunch with a very Howard-esque nigga and revived a very Howard-esque part of myself. I drank a pitcher of mimosa, hopped off the bar stool, then did the bend and snap over a pair of make-believe winter boots.

“One thing about leaving the east coast,” I shouted over the brunch DJ, “you can dig deep in that closet when it gets cold out!”

I was looking forward to cold weather stuntin’. To stepping out at holiday parties like the worldly, intersectional, model-esque bitch I was. To ki-ki-ing about UBI in a leather pencil skirt. To bringing my best self to the world again. But December, January, and February came and went without me busting out one sweater dress. I hadn’t had nan interesting conversation. The world hadn’t seen me in months. Continue reading

Halle Berry

halle berry pic

Christopher moved to a place off campus right before we started our junior year at Howard. He said it was because he had “outgrown” student housing, but I was like, “nigga, you just couldn’t get student housing.” He smirked at me like it was cute that I thought I knew his business, but he didn’t try to refute my claim either. Christopher knew better than to debate me on facts.

He didn’t tell me about “the incident” at first because he didn’t want me to know that he was messing with some girl in the Annex, but of course Braden’s messy ass told me everything. How the girl had snuck Christopher in through a broken emergency exit, and how the two of them had fallen asleep afterward, and how they snuck back out at the exact time that Ms. Hadley, the resident director, happened to be lighting up a cigarette in the courtyard. Christopher came up with a semi-believable excuse about the girl having his asthma inhaler and him desperately needing to retrieve it at three in the morning, but when Ms. Hadley asked to see said inhaler, they both stood there patting empty pockets like “uhhhh, ummmm, I think…”

A week later the two of them got a letter saying their housing for the next school year was revoked. A little dramatic if you ask me, even for Ms. Hadley, but the decision was final and no amount of calls from Christopher’s parents could get him into a dorm. Fool spent the whole summer with his mom slapping the back of his neck every time she thought about it, and his dad telling him he was out his mind if he thought he would be spending any of his retirement reefer money to get him a “batchla pad” in D.C. “You out cha mind, boy. You better believe that.”

It was all talk though, because after two and a half months of uncharacteristically humble behavior, coming straight home after his internship and promising to pay them back after graduation, Mr. and Mrs. Beasley cut the check for first month’s rent and a deposit, and early that August Christopher hit me up saying he found a place in Northeast. An old brick row house that wasn’t too far from Gallaudet’s campus. The picture he sent showed a scraggly tree leaning in the front yard and some cracks in the mortar, but he said there was a fireplace and a basement and a backyard that had a “real romantic quality.” The kind of space that was just made for blowing L’s in the grass late at night.

“Cool,” I texted after he sent the pictures. “Congrats.”

“Thanks,” he said back with like 5 ellipses. “So, when you coming thru?”

“Never,” I answered with a single period.

He thought I was playing but the first week of school came and went, then midterms and homecoming and even Christmas break, all without me stepping foot inside “Hotel Montegro.” Christopher and Braden and the rest of the niggas he lived with started calling it “Hotel Montegro” shortly after they moved in, once it became hard to tell who actually lived there and who was just a friend crashing for the week. The name stuck and someone even made a social media account for it. They posted pictures of the towers they made from empty beer cans, wild shots from whatever party they had the night before, and stray earrings they found in between couch cushions the next morning.

I rolled my eyes every time he brought the place up and pretended like I didn’t have time for his lil den of iniquity. Like I was offended by condom wrappers or discarded blunt guts. Like I just didn’t fuck with Chris at all. But that wasn’t the real reason I hadn’t gone over there. None of those were the reasons at all.


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