“You don’t get it. Other populations know white people better than white people know themselves,” she said in a candid hushed way.
His eyes snapped to hers. He was oddly still as she continued. He couldn’t help but catch the humoring pitying head shake from Cody as she continued.
“See America isn’t built where you have to figure out how to constantly avoid people of color, or LGBTQs, atheists, Muslims. Name a none Christian religion or sect, or even women. Your spaces are already set up that way. Just the hint of having to tolerate or stomach another sends average over 30 white folks into a tizzy,” she threw out casually.
She then pinned him with the intensity of her eyes as she finished. “However, every corner and facet of staying alive and living as free as I can manage has literally depended on how well I can navigate straight white Christian male spaces. Looking like this.” She loosely gestured to herself.
Colan stared at her. In that moment, he couldn’t really imagine anything or anyone to be more beautiful. She rendered him speechless. He didn’t know how to relate that. The gumption of the woman was stunning in a number of ways. She stood in his house serving him his booze and then shot out her truth regardless of the consequences.
“You are exhausting,” he finally admitted.
“So, I’ve been told,” she countered. “What I just said is long speak for no rest for the weary. I don’t get to turn it off or tank it down. Look where I’m standing.”
He did just as she asked. He could find no reason whatsoever as to why she shouldn’t exist or be in his house. However, he was honest enough to admit that there were a ton of people who could and would actually think it was valid that she not only shouldn’t be there but that she literally shouldn’t exist. It sickened him. Mostly because he had gotten to be the age that he was and it had never crossed his mind. He had done what was easy. He had rendered himself blind just like the masses of ‘polite’ white folks that pretended not to see color. The thought was actually the most offensive thing when you really thought about it.
“I see you, Fiona,” he said in a low measured tone. “I see you,” he repeated forcefully.
Stunned Fiona just stared at him as she felt her heart expand and her eyes tear. She didn’t know why that sentence was so impactful. Right now, it was almost enough to drop her into a puddle on the floor. She could see it in his eyes. They were a clear grass green. They met hers without flinching and without shame. No true judgement, not looking down on her, not pitying her. He just looked at her as another human being with thoughts dreams goals and more than all of that with inherent value. Cody clinked his martini glass to hers. That finally broke the spell.
“As usual these are delish, love,” he said sweetly which gave away how he felt about what happened.
She looked over at her best friend. He countered with an even sweeter smile. She returned it and he leaned over to kiss her cheek.
Colan turned and grabbed the popcorn. He went to sit gesturing for the two of them to come over. “This is a new one opening in a month and a half starring Dwayne Johnson,” he tempted.
Fiona lit up. “The Rock? Hell yeah.”
Colan smiled. “I did expect the Texas girl to know him as a wrestler,” he said densely.
“I’ve been to shows where he was the main event,” Fiona confirmed.
Cody was staring at the heavens. “Dear God are you also a wrestling fan?” he asked in an exasperated fashion.
Fiona clucked. “Cody is originally from Michigan, he doesn’t get it.”
Colan smirked, “I did think it was just state policy in Texas.” He watched Fiona with barely banked appreciation and asked. “So, you have no problem watching one of his films?”
Fiona plopped next to him in one of the leather recliners with Cody hot on her heels. Cody looked at her in an expectant fashion. She squinted at the challenge in his eyes.
Non-plussed she responded like she often did when they talked about the man known as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. “I’d watch that man make toast,” she said with relish.
Cody smiled and whispered, “The balls on my girl,” then gingerly sipped his martini.