⪧ We left our life in New York City to make a new one in Provence ⪦

August 24, 2012

Harlem.

She was staring. It was intense - with big bulging eyes. Had the look of an 80's aerobic instructor, compact - tight, wearing neon. She probably had been that - she was the right age. I thought she was seesawing her head up and down to get a better look at the street sign to see which avenue she was at. I was right in front of the street sign. And she was looking up and down to get a better look alright - but she was staring straight at me. Colette was in a sling sitting on my chest. Wide, popping eyes, accusingly: "IS you white?" I looked confused. I was confused. Repeated, "IS YOU WHITE?" What? I kept walking. She replied to herself in two loud syllables, "OK." Vindicated for something.

I felt injured walking away. I wanted to reply, "It isn't that simple anymore." It felt like an idea out of a story from the past about Harlem. Here in Harlem, it isn't - that simple anymore. We are a mixture, something I appreciate and seek out. The antecedent to my pronoun isn't clear though - and I am not even sure if I can situate Colette in her baby carrier and myself in that "we." I thought about Colette growing up here. Lots of questions, schools, the neighborhood, the subway up here. The fact that most of the kids on our very residential street in Hamilton Heights go to private schools in other neighborhoods of the city. Yep, we're white. But I so want it to be more complicated than that. The complication is redeeming. But then the question is for whom and maybe the answer is convenient for me.
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