I lived in New Mexico from the age of 10-13. I hated it. I was going through puberty, found my adoption file in the garage, and developed severe insomnia for months. If you think you know what the fuck i'm talking about, please let me know.
Georgia in New Mexico
Georgia stands with her mouth open to catch the rain. I want to kill her. She’s been throwing rotten things at me all night. My eyes are bruised, and I’ve chewed my cheek bloody. She knows I will not leave my bed because there are monsters that might bite my feet. Every night is like this. I am nine and we live in New Mexico. There is a drought and the land smells like burnt toast. Mama and papa keep talking about a fresh start. “ Just give it a chance,” they say, “ you’ll make friends in no time.” I build tents in the back yard and ride my bike to the corner store. The boy down the street, Damian, throws rocks at me when his parents are not looking. The girls at school won’t let me play softball with them, “black meat attracts flies,” their leader, Sheena hisses. I start to bite my nails real short and sit reading books at recess. Then one night, Georgia shows up. Sticky hands pull me from my dreams, and I don’t sleep for months.
“Did you forget about me?” she says smiling sweetly.
At first, we are like sisters. Georgia tells me all about home. How the light leans crooked off of rooftops at sunset, how peach pies supposed to taste. She even claims she knows my real mama, the one that gave me away.
“What does she look like?” I ask Georgia one evening.
“My real mama. Is she pretty?”
“ Yea, you know, she looks regular. Like a regular black woman.”
I don’t know. I know the pink color of the Sandia Mountains at sunset, and the roundness of my own dark cheek, but I don’t know any “regular” black women. What do they sound like? What do they smell like? What do they wear to church on Sundays? I start to ignore Georgia when she comes to visit. I don’t even know where she comes from, anyway. I lock my door and all the windows, and still I find her sitting on the edge of my bed, getting her sticky hands all over my yellow sheets.
“Go away.” I try and tell her. She just grins and sticks out her tongue.
“Don’t be mad, just cause you talk like a white girl.”
“I do not!”
“Yes you do. You talk like spoiled white girl who never got slapped. You need to get slapped.”
That’s when Georgia starts throwing rotten things at me. Tree branches, peach pits, and manure. During the day mama asks me why I look so angry. I shrug and tell her I’m just tired. Then Georgia starts feeding me nightmares. I begin guarding my parent’s door, checking the locks, hiding knives under my pillow. I keep my eyes open until the burn, check under the bed for murderers and rapists.
“ Your mama didn’t want you cause you’re ugly,” Georgia says to me now, as she turns away from the downpour with that evil look of hers. I am parched. This is the first time it has rained in weeks and I want get out of bed and stand in it. “ Your mama told me, you looked like prune when you was born. A shriveled, ugly, black prune.”
Georgia thinks this is the first time anyone has said something so nasty to me. She roars with laughter. She thinks she knows me. Everyone thinks they know me.
“ I don’t care about her,” I scream at her, “ I don’t need her.”
Silence. Georgia is a shadow above my head and her arms are huge cotton trees. She smells of home. Of hospital sheets and lavender.
“ I told you not to forget,” she booms, and I keep my eyes wide open as she slaps me into morning with her sticky hands.