“What’s your name, kid?” the deli owner asked her as she rested against the side of his building.
“Mink. Who’s askin’?” She didn’t like folks poking into her business. She was waiting on the bus and didn’t need to get hassled.
“Hmm. Interesting blue hair you got there.”
“Yeah…” Older people always had shit to say about the different colors, the piercings, the tats.
“You live up on the corner, right? I’ve seen you in the neighborhood.”
He better not be a perv. “Yeah. That’s right. How you know that?”
The way he laughed was a surprise and she frowned. “Settle down, Mink. Got no interest in a kid young enough to be my great-grandkid. I need somebody close to run errands and I’ll slip you a couple bucks.”
He was raised by a bunch of men who defined every valuable thing by the color of the man or woman who possessed it.
If a fancy car was driven by a white man, it was a sign of success and class. By a black man, it musta been stolen.
For the first fifteen years of his life, he didn’t know better. He thought the same, talked the same, and figured everybody else been raised like him.
Then he almost died. A man he didn’t know, a man owed him nothing, saved his life. A man with skin many shades darker than his own.
Racing the back roads, he flipped his car. A black man walking the road with a big pack on his back stopped to help. His girlfriend told him in the hospital the man trained as a medic in the Army.
Without him, without his skills and his mercy, he would have died.
He worshiped her.
Most days, it seemed like she almost hated him but he didn’t care. He was addicted to the smell of her, the taste, the texture of her skin.
Other than delivery people, she was the only person he ever saw or interacted with. It had been that way for almost two years.
Every time she appeared on his porch, he knew what she wanted and he wanted to give it to her. Like a junkie, he didn’t say no because he didn’t have the strength of will.
The shakes were too bad the moment she was within touching distance. He needed his fix of human contact, just for a little while.
Each visit, she brushed past him without a word, walked to his bedroom, and took off her clothes. Reclining on his bed, she waited for him to crawl between her legs and deliver as much pleasure with his mouth as she could physically stand to receive.
He never undressed. They never had sex. They didn’t talk.