she smiles at me. from across the room. i spot her. instantly. we are the only two black people here. our color. catches each others eye. her smile, spreads across her face. until there is nothing left. but teeth. her hair. a natural rose on her head. strands wrapped neatly like a gift. she is the perfect package. i smile. i want to. i am also. the bartender. her bartender. she walks to the bar. my smile is her invitation. to come. to the bar. she does.
hi. how are you?
i’m nervous. i have a really weird request.
there is no such thing. what you looking for?
you sell hot chocolate?
we do. but you have to go to the cafe to get it. i only have alcohol and soft drinks here.
well. i would like a shot of whiskey in my hot chocolate.
YES! black angels begin singing and dancing to “brand new day”, from the movie “the wiz”, in my head. this is a woman after my own stiff and stale heart. what’s better than chocolate? real chocolate! with the cacao that’s over 50% real chocolate. we carry 80%. rich. robust. so good that it is called a super food! what’s better than whiskey? she made me call on somebody’s jesus. somebody’s black jesus. in silent praise and adoration. warm tears heat the corners of my eyes. there is an old man that lives inside of me. and all he wants after a long day. or a short one. any day actually. is a shot of bourbon. wild turkey. bullet. or even a maker’s. neat. or an old fashioned. oh my black jesus! now i want an old fashioned. and a remote control. maybe some chips. definitely a remote control. and the bottle.
i want to take her. and wrap her body in my own. until i smell kentucky and west africa. seep from her pores. our ancestors are kin. i am home. i want to sip on her sighs. of the amazon. venezuela. and feel the tales in them. i want to hear the languages. of the indigenous people. from her lips when she whispers. sweet somethings. at the edges of my ear. i want to play in the sweat of her red dirt. and smell the spirit of our people. traveling across the lands. when we were the lands. i want to hear bluegrass. and drums. when we dance. a chocolate whiskey dance. richly intoxicated. with each other. on each other. i want to drink more. yes. mine eyes have seen the glories! the merging of perfection. i am here. i am witness. to all that is holy and pure. i thought i would die and never see the promise land. i have made it. it is in her. she loves the lands. as much as i do.
i have to go get that hot chocolate from the cafe. in the mean time. you have a preference of whiskey?
no. well is fine.
NO! the angels weep. the evil wicked witch of the west imprisons all the people that thought that were free. in her death. i apologize to black jesus. for not needing him. and taking him away from the black lives matter movement. false alarm. my bad, black jesus. maybe we need to be saved, more than we need to be loved. the old man in me. digs his grave. he is ready. he thought he could be buried. beside her. with the belief. he is not alone. that this. all of this. was worth more. that he was worth more. and not a random chance. now. hope is gone. i shed invisible tears. sobs linger in my throat. my soul has grown deep. i have failed. my ancestors. i get to see the land of milk and honey. that i will never drink from. that i will never swim in. i will grow old. wither. to smoke and ashes. no dust. i’ll become fire. to blow past. the mountain tops. that i’ve only heard about. i have failed.
well whiskey? well? my heart is split. my face falls. i can’t see her anymore. anyone who would say well whiskey. is someone. i must not see. they obviously don’t know the goodness. the earth is capable of. for them. just for them. the gardens of eden. that calls us. that we recreate. that is chocolate. that is whiskey. (and i love corn in any form.) sadness. is out of reach. i feel something. much deeper. i feel pity. i’m half tempted to give her a tasting. of all the bourbons. so she never says. well whiskey. again. we don’t even have a well whiskey. if you know nothing else. about bourbons. you should know which bourbon. you like. and why. she chose the well. i am broken. she’ll probably want the packet. for her hot chocolate. why have i been forsaken?
we’re out of hot chocolate. any other options?
gin and juice. it’s okay if you use the well gin.
i should just bury myself. cover myself. in gray dirt. i will never make it home. i could have made her beautiful. WE could have restored ourselves to our former glory. to our native glory. swallowed the seeds. of the mother earth. together. always. in the nude. swaying. body to body. in the songs of the people. as we gorge on the earth. and it’s endless bounty.
i grumble that my fine and flair. my class. is being forced to make gin and juice. i’ll be damned. if i ask which juice. i am redeeming us both, for someone else.