at the bar.
“you’re a beautiful black woman.”
i should just take the compliment and go on my way. but i’ll always wonder why she felt the need to tell me that. and she’ll never know that people like me, don’t need her affirmation to confirm their beauty in color. i should take the compliment and go on my way. hmm.
“JUST a beautiful black woman? not a beautiful woman?”
i am polishing wine glasses at the bar. this is daytime work therapy for me. i glance at her. her eyebrows have bent down to meet between her eyes. the prosecco she’s drinking, rest on the bar top with her fingers trying to figure out what to do with themselves. her smile changes into a look of discomfort and embarrassment. her eyes are telling. there is a glint in them, of pride. a pride that will not humble itself today. i am a beautiful black woman, only!, her eyes say to me.
she’s a boomer, probably a liberal. she thinks she’s doing me a favor as if i need a savior to rescue me in any way, in this very moment. she needs to believe that she is doing a thing to support a cause that obviously involves me. yet, that cause does not take into account that this isn’t what i need or want. it didn’t ask me a damn thing. it’s for her. she needs to feel comforted by her own actions. she needs to feel needed, to feel safe in her world of privilege. what makes her think i don’t live in my own world of privilege? that my entitlement game isn’t one that could best hers?
i look at the wine glass i’m polishing to make sure my own finger prints are not on them.
i didn’t mean to offend you.
i’m not offended. i am just wondering about your choice of words. my skin doesn’t truly make me a different kind of woman than you. our bodies literally do the same thing. am i just beautiful in the world of black women or all women? it’s something to consider, i think. i’ve never said ‘you are a beautiful asian woman or a beautiful mexican woman.’ it seems even the beauty amongst us, is divided. ”
she gulps that prosecco that she was formally sipping, her third one. i print out her tab and put it on the counter top for her. we both know that our time is up. she puts her card on the counter. with one hand, i swipe her card and return her card and receipt. she uses her own pen.
i should have just taken the compliment and gone on my way. i return to polishing wine glasses. i got over twenty left. i do not look up when i feel her leaving. i am not expecting a tip on this transaction.