Not Black Enough

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: May 22, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 22, 2017




Natahlia Galvan About 2240 words
120 E Silver Spring Drive
Whitefish Bay, WI 53217








Not Black Enough

A story by

Natahlia Galvan


“Argggh” I groaned as I slammed my fingers on the cold glass screen of my iPhone repeatedly. A clear 7:45 displayed across the screen. “Craaaap” I huffed as I jumped out of bed. The chill autumn air met my skin and stripped me of the comforting warmth my bed gifted me. The large mountain of laundry that was so elegantly balanced on a small wooden chair migrated to the floor while I frantically dug to find an outfit. 

“Angelique! If you wake up late one more time I swear on your grandma’s grave I’m just going to leave you here and you can take the bus to school!” My mother screamed across the apartment as I stuffed roughly forty-two pounds of my black hair into a bun.

“I’m going as fast as I can woman!” I yelled back. A bold choice of words if I do say so myself. I knew I would deal with her wrath later for my slick ass mouth.

After about seven minutes of dodging cars and speeding across downtown, the car came to a harsh halt. I bolted out the car and through the halls. Slithering through the small space left by Mr. Edison’s door, I flung myself into my seat. He didn’t even notice. While Mrs. White voiced Carter High School’s morning announcements over the loudspeakers, Mr. Edison scribbled “Introduction to Anatomy: Section 2:  Cells” in red marker across the white board. Struggling to keep quiet, a heavy pant escaped from me as I pulled out my notebook and pen.

“Three minutes, that’s a new record,” Natalie snickered.

“What can I say, I got talent,” I laughed, clearly still out of breath.

“Okay class, settle down. Take out your cell worksheets. I’m going to check those in while you finish the notes on the board,” Mr. Edison bellowed. He grabbed his bright-blue clipboard from his desk knocking over several sheets of paper. He stepped over the mess and began to strut down the aisles hovering uncomfortably close to students.

“Hey Ang, we are going to take our senior pictures at the aquarium right?” asked Aliyah. She had a small smirk plastered on her face as if she was trying to hold back laughter.

“Wait what? When did I say that?”

“Oh right. That’s what we talked about at Varsity last night but SOMEONE decided to skip out and be a lame ass and do homework instead!” Natalie reprimanded and hit my shoulder with her fuzzy pink pencil pouch to punctuate her sentence.

“Girl, it’s only two months into the school year, I can’t be slacking and catch senioritis already.” I said as I pulled my homework from my folder. I turned to Natalie and Aliyah and bargained, “I’m totally content with going to Varsity tonight if that will make you feel better.”

“Content? You really can’t just say you’re down to come? Why do you always have to act and talk so white?” Aliyah teased.

And of course, not far behind, Natalie adds, “Yeah, are you ashamed of being black?”

Before I said something I would have regretted, Mr. Edison loitered over my shoulder until I flipped my worksheet to see both sides. His unique aroma of Doritos and cigarettes lingered after he walked away. The combination of my friends’ ignorance and the stench of Mr. Edison’s lung cancer sticks gave me a headache. How could they honestly think that me speaking proper English and having a vocabulary that is more than one-hundred words make me any less black? And why was Natalie so concerned? She isn’t even black. The bell rang and I fumbled to get my materials together. The rest of my morning class went similarly to Anatomy. I turned in the homework, took notes, and spent the rest of the class time proving my blackness to myself. Before I had a good defense to present Aliyah and Natalie, lunch period came around. I decided to be the bigger person and let the subject go. I placed notebooks in my locker and grabbed the brown paper bag sitting on the top shelf. Taking my time, I strolled to the cafeteria. I pushed open the cafeteria door as if it weighed a ton and walked toward my lunch table. Eye contact was made with Natalie.

Aliyah waived me down and jingled her five over-sized bracelets on her thin wrist making an obnoxious wind-chime sound. She shouted, “Hey! What took you so long?”

“Oh, I’m not feeling so good,” I exhaled. It was a lot harder to lie to my friends than I presumed. I continued, “So, do you guys still want to go to Varsity tonight?”  

“Yeah I’m down,” Aliyah shrugged.

“Same. But I’ll be bringing Trevon,” Natalie said as she stuffed several leaves of spinach into her mouth.  

“Okay, sounds good,” I said as casually as I could. “I’ll text you guys if rehearsal is rescheduled again and I can’t go.” I pulled my phone from my back pocket an added Varsity hangout to my calendar. My phone was slipped into my back pocket as I began to chew through my ham sandwich. I was supposed to be laying off the carbs for the musical but considering I had to rush this morning to even get here, it’s pretty impressive that I even remembered to get a lunch.

Everyone simultaneously stood up and walked toward the exit.  I didn’t hear the bell and I was only half way through my sandwich. Too frustrated to power through the rest of it, I decided to tossed the stub of bread and ham into the trash and made my way to AP Biology.

When I walked into class, Mrs. Ortiz handed me a packet and pointed to a lab table across the room. It smelled of iodine blue staining. I looked back to the four-page lab in my hand and a wave of disinterest came over me.

“Mr. Ortiz, may I used the restroom?”

Mrs. Ortiz gave me a puzzled look and responded with the mediocre-teacher-response, “Yes, if it’s an emergency.”

I put my books down on the table nearest to me and walked out of the room. Considering I never skipped a class before, the only place I could think to go was the library. As I walked down the long halls I thought to myself, is this black enough? Is this what they want? I reached the glass doors and yanked the door handle but it didn’t move. Of course the library would be closed the one time I skip class. I reached for my phone to check the time. To my surprised, I wasted 15 minutes just walking around. After making a stop to my locker, I decided to go back. The entire class stared me down when I walked into the classroom twenty-five minutes after I left. Unaffected by their stares, I picked up my lab and scurried to the one microscope not in use. Mrs. Ortiz was fairly impressed when I handed in my lab with several minutes to spare.

The dismissal bell rang and marked the end of the school day. I walked down the first floor hallway toward my locker. Natalie and Aliyah were loitering in front of it.

“Hey you ready to go? Or did you forget again?” Natalie said while swinging her keys around her finger.

“No, I remembered. I just need to get my bag,” I said as I shoved my binder into my locker and tossed my bag over my shoulder.

Natalie pulled her black Audi around the corner and stopped in front of Aliyah and I. She sat shotgun and I sat in the passenger seat. As usual, Aliyah was DJ and I was navigator.

“Siri, take me to the nearest Varsity.” I annunciated into my phone.

“You do know that there is only one Varsity in Atlanta, right?” Aliyah teased.  

“I’m sorry, I didn’t get that,” The automated voice calmly said. I pressed the home button and typed in Varsity into the search bar on the maps app.

“Head south on North Avenue. You are on the fastest route. You will arrive at 3:27 pm,” Siri said.

“What music do you want?” Aliyah asked me. I ignored her and pretended I was texting someone on snapchat. She probably got the hint I was mad because she knew damn well that I had no one to text anyway.  

She was just in the middle of playing her third Drake song in a row when Natalie pulled up to Trevon’s driveway. Like clockwork, Aliyah unbuckled her seatbelt, walked around to the back passenger seat, and buckled herself back in. Trevon sat shotgun. Like every guy in existence, he leaned his seat way back but, I was already irritated today so I pressed my foot on the seat and shoved it forward.

“Not today Trevon. Not today,” I said in a monotone voice.

Natalie gave him an apologetic look, shrugged, and just drove off. After a long 15 minutes of driving and awkward silence between the whole group, Varsity’s sign reflected off window. It was a Monday but the whole parking lot was packed. Trevon held the door open for all of us. A roar flooded the entire restaurant.

“What’ll ya have?” a short girl behind the counter asked us as soon and we stepped in the door. We all shuffled toward her and struggled to decide on our meals. Eventually, Natalie and Trevon got bacon burgers, Aliyah got a chilidog, and I ordered a chicken sandwich.

“Okay, that’ll be $21.47,” the short cashier said as she excitedly extended out her palm. After we paid, I walked toward and empty booth at the corner of the restaurant while the rest of the posse filled their beverage cups. Trevon came back the large red bag that had all of our meals. He tossed my sandwich and I quickly unwrapped it.

“See, isn’t this better than being at rehearsal?” Natalie said and everyone waited for my response.

“Sure.” I said without breaking eye-contact with my phone.

“I don’t understand. You’re black, why do you even like theatre anyway? That’s a white people thing,” He had the audacity to say.

“What the hell is everyone’s problem with my damn blackness today?! Why does everyone think I’m so white?!”

Natalie backed Trevon up and quickly added, “Why the hell are you yelling? And no, girl, you’re not. Yes, your skin is ‘black’ but you are light skinned, you have green eyes, you talk white, you do white things, you don’t even like rap, you-”

“Just because I don’t talk like a bunch of people stuck in the Stone age like you guys doesn’t mean I’m not black. I can’t control the fact that I have a lighter complexion and I have green eyes. How the hell is that my fault?” I yelled.

Aliyah yelled over me, “I don’t understand why you’re mad! We have been saying stuff like this since freshman year. You need to chill, alright?”

I could feel my blood pressure rise quicker than my temper.  “You know what? I don’t need this right now and I couldn’t care less about your irrelevant opinions. Irrelevant is spelled I-R-R-E-L-E-V-A-N-T. Write it down and look it up when you get home. I will be walking my black-ass home now.”

I stood up and marched out of the door dramatically. I ran even though I had no idea where I was going. I just ran. Before long I found myself under a bus stop. I sat down and I my face began to burn. While I panted I fanned my face to try to cool off. A sharp screech came from the bus breaks. I stood up and confidently stepped in.

“Where are you going young lady?” The bus driver said with a big warm smile.

I just stared at him for minute and mumbled. “I don’t really know. Anywhere but here.”

I sat down on the first seat I saw. I pulled out my phone and a notification that read “15 missed calls” displayed on the screen. As I pressed delete, tears rolled down my eye uncontrollably. They were warm and heavy. I attempted to text my mother but it stung my eyes to try to look at a bright screen while I was crying.

After about an hour and a half on the bus, I managed to get off about ten blocks from my house. The short walk in the crisp fall air helped bring the swelling of my eyes down. I reached the porch of my house and pushed the solid wooden door open. I stomped up the stairs to my room. I glanced up and caught the terrifying image of myself in the mirror. Anger suffocated me and I struck it. In defeat I threw myself onto my bed and tears soaked my pillow.

The next morning, I woke up early. Just before I stepped into the shower, I turned on my Spotfy and let Tupac’s voice fill the room. Soon after, I dried myself off, let my natural hair down, and finished off the look with a red bandana. I stood in front of my mirror with pride and my refection stared back at me. I’m finally black enough. 

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