She is all of 90 pounds. She sits in the McDonald’s at one of those tables anchored to the floor. Behind her is the only electrical outlet in the place, to which she's tethered her laptop. In front of her is a bullet hole in a window looking out on the corner of Hull Street and East Commerce Road. She is the only white girl in the place, dressed in her Prana pants and mud-stained Vasque boots. Pop music blares over the speaker system at a decibel just loud enough to be distracting, loud enough to distract her from any fear she knows she ought to have. Not of the men in stocking caps and rough beards tinged with gray, shallow cheeks and raspy voices when they speak to each other. The fear of what her parents would say if they knew she was here.
Why was she here? Why not, she responds to the critic in her head. It’s just a place. Just a place with wifi. A place with patrons drinking their coffee, having conversation, reading the newspaper. One of the men has had skin grafts. White skin grafts around his ebony eyes and magenta lips. Another speaks of his brother who was killed and his daddy who jumped off a bridge. “He just couldn’t take it.” Just a normal conversation you’d overhear at any old McDonalds.
A steady flow through the parking lot. An ambulance racing through the red light, sirens blasting. A pretty young black girl walking in the door, braids and heavy hips swaggering. A man in the corner filling out lottery tickets. A cigarette in the rim of another man’s knit hat.
It is good to be here, she thinks. Good to know this world exists. Good for her to be typing on her laptop. Good for the hike she’s about to take along the river, just minutes from this urban hub of dreads and ball caps and saggy jeans and being sober, just for today, maybe just for the morning.
Christy Jenkins can't write just two or three sentences about herself. Yes she can. No she can't. She wrote this piece in ten minutes, about ten minutes after she learned about this website. Thank you for giving me a reason to take ten minutes to write something.