In the dark, I imagined the worst, as one is prone to do when female, abroad, and alone. I had locked the door from the inside, and had checked on all the windows. But this was India; taking a door off its hinges probably wouldn’t be that hard.
On February 18th, three white students competed on College Jeopardy. In the second half of the show, which, thanks to the Internet, can be viewed on YouTube, the contestants sped through five of the six categories, which included obscure topics such as “Weather Verbs” and “International Cinema Showcase.” For 10 minutes, I waited for any of them to choose a question from the sixth category labeled “African-American History.”
This July I was standing in a dusty schoolyard in Nansana, Uganda listening to Icona Pop’s “I Don’t Care” at a party for the NGO where I worked for two months. My stomach was full of a mysterious barbecued meat and the Ugandan equivalent of PBR my boss had purchased for the occasion. I asked my friends who had been cooking what I had just eaten.
One of my closest friends called recently after a bad breakup. We hadn’t spoken in a few weeks, so when I picked up the phone, I felt that familiar yet uncomfortable sense of separation caused by more than just physical distance.
Watch the balloons sway in the center of the slick dance floor. You are here and you are not here, swaying yourself on too-thin heels and much too much mixed drink. Tie your hair back. You’re hopped up on hoping the ending of your night will deliver what the beginning has promised since you fished your junior prom dress out of the dorm closet you’re sure has moths.
The way it came to me was in a letter. I think a lot of people got them, but I don’t know. It was from Dean Rapelye or maybe Malkiel, and it said something like “you are one of the particularly outstanding students admitted” and to “please consider coming to Princeton.”
Although we are excited beyond comprehension, we are silent. The wings of a fan turn with purpose; we breathe in this moment while attempting to wrap our heads around the magnitude of a man who commands a room without words, commands a nation without recognition, commands respect without force.
Rarely is one so revised by experience, which like a river washes away the calcified sand of the soul to describe itself there anew. Rare, too, is the ability to recognize this revision. School had just ended, its shoulder-weight just … Read More
“In my moments of dogged hope, I would play “Moon in the Water,” an acoustic ballad where Goldsmith proclaims that ‘Love is for the fighter / Born to lose but never quit / Swinging for the moon in the water.’”