That

food red sweet raw

He loved taking me places and was proud to call me his own

He loved my quirks, he loved the Mohawk I wore, he loved me

That day was a baby shower of a co-worker

I wore a pretty dress covered in cherries with equally red lipstick

He wore a suit and squeezed my hand

I felt beautiful

I greeted everyone warmly, thanked them for inviting us

They greeted us with equal warmth

Called me beautiful

As I turned to the kitchen to grab a drink just out of view

I overheard something that I know I wasn’t meant to:

“I didn’t know his girlfriend looked like that

And it felt like the most precise blade stabbed into my back

Unearthing old insecurities with a surgeon’s precision,

Was it because of my dress? Was it too quirky?

The mohawk – an echo of Janelle Monae – too loud?

Was it this skin that I live in? Too brown and stark in the sea of white?

Was it… me?

I spilled some of the liquid from my cup, fumbling to grab napkins

And soak up the mess I had no intention of making

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