He was gentle in a very straightforward way, pulling out chairs for me at restaurants and picking me up after work to take me to exhibition openings, where he would look at me instead of looking at the art.He supported my work and called me Butterfly; our relationship was nauseatingly blissful. I posted photos of black love on every social media account and considered myself as part of a larger revolution.We live together in a small studio in Chelsea, where we cook dinners and take showers.We ask each other about dessert options and call each other good-looking even though we have gained weight.It didn’t feel like love at first, more like companionship at our all-time lows.We were open with each other; he had been warned to stay away from black girls, and I was advised to not date men of color.Our portrait was perfectly hung and constantly dusted for shine.
I would stretch my hair every inch that I could, to make it appear longer. There were days when we fought and said things to each other like “That must have been from how you were raised.” We got assaulted on the street by men who would yell “Black and white don’t mix” and smash their shoulders into ours.I wondered how men with such delicate bodies seemed to be the only ones who could endure the storm. We bought crop tops, tight jeans, and earrings so big that they touched our shoulders.When my cousin on the all-black side birthed a baby girl whose father had become abusive, we took a long ride to a shopping mall. On the ride home we were quiet and I decided I would never date a black man as long as my feet touched this earth.I had stopped knowing who to count out at parties or open bars, and so I winged it.I found myself on a first date with a guy who was born and raised in Yonkers, with a family from El Salvador.