March 15th, 2007 - Racquel Henry
It’s the end of spring break at USF and I am learning for the first time how a heart fractures and splits. He is the first guy that I fall in love with. At the time he feels like a mixture of music and energy, a song I want to listen to again and again.
I waited a long time to fall in love. Aside from school, strict Trinidadian parents made it difficult for my teenage self to get within even a mile radius of the opposite sex. It takes me until my third year of college to even attempt.
What makes me love him are ordinary moments like when we sit in my apartment for hours listening to music and analyzing lyrics. Or when he teaches me to make easy meals like seasoned Ramen because I can’t stand cooking. I never quite get that dish down.
But the Ramen isn’t the only thing that I never get. I don’t get him either. Today, his love is now sharp and I only notice the slits it leaves because I’ve now counted the second other woman.
We sit on the floor of my room and try to figure us out. We haven’t spoken much in two weeks. He lies on his back and stares up at the ceiling. I keep looking at him, wanting him to look me in the eye, but he can’t. I wonder how many apartment floors he sits on and how many eyes he’s had to avoid.
Everything about him is different, and I am instantly aware of how pressure blisters between us. We could combust at any second, so I choose my words carefully because I’m afraid of the burn.
I have to know though, so I demand that he defines us. What are we? I want to know. He can’t give me an answer, just shrugs his shoulders and tells me that he doesn’t know what I want him to do. This is how the end starts and I know it. It’s the wrong answer, but I strain to hold onto it all. I open my computer and turn on Michael Buble. We listen in silence and never talk about it again.
In this moment, I become a universe of broken stars and dark matter. Eventually he will leave behind his cosmic dust and I will have to figure out how to sweep it up. I don’t understand it then, but the magnificent thing about the universe is that there will always be dust, but there are always new stars too.
Racquel Henry is a Trinidadian writer and editor with an MFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is also a part-time English Professor and owns the writing center, Writer’s Atelier, in Winter Park, FL. In 2010 Racquel co-founded Black Fox Literary Magazine where she still serves as an editor. She is a contributing editor for Burrow Press' Fantastic Floridas, the nonfiction editor of Fairleigh Dickinson University's alumni anthology, and a board member for The Jack Kerouac Project, an Orlando-based writing residency. Her fiction, poetry and nonfiction have appeared in places like Blink-Ink, The Rusty Nail, Lotus-Eater Magazine, The Best of There Will Be Words 2014 Chapbook, UCF Creative Writing MFA Blog and Moko Caribbean Arts & Letters, among others.
Racquel urges you to learn more about the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking. The FCAHT fights to improve and provide outreach and services to victims of human trafficking throughout the State of Florida by developing support programs, networking, coalition building, training, service delivery, and referrals to victims in need. Visit stophumantrafficking.org.