a short story by Nakeysha Roberts Washington
Blood, bones and it’s encasement. Strangely, when I was a toddler, I was as dark as I am now with blond hair and hazel eyes. I have no recollection of this of course, but there is evidence in the many photos that exist in the meticulously kept albums organized by my grandmother.
Here are several observations that I have concerning my encasement, my skin, from my childhood:
I was raised in a virtual utopia. Race was never a problem, but, then, is it ever for children?
It is a summer day. We are in the backyard shaded by the apple trees of which we have two. One in my yard and one in Erin’s. Erin, I have known since she was born. Anita, Erin’s momma says she saw me peeking out at her carrying Erin home after she was born and she knew we’d be friends.
Anyways, it is Summer, Erin, Chris, Anita, Barbara and I are in the backyard. I am not yet in school. The kids, three of us, are about to hop into the pool. Everyone is lined up. Barbara is putting cream on everyone. I follow suit. Barbara and Anita are reclining in lawn chairs. The kind that have plastic strips woven on a metal frame. One is yellow and white. The other is yellow and brown. It is my turn to get the lotion. Anita and Barbara look at one another. I see they are thinking. Barbara says, “Keysh, you don’t need the sun tanning lotion.” Anita assures me, “You won’t burn like Erin and Chris. You have natural sunscreen in your skin that makes your skin that pretty brown. I trust Anita and the kindness in her smile that has always been consistent. I run to the pool and play.
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