More Like Her

Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz

Of course she sat at the front of the bus. Chewing gum, lips smacking loud. Every so often, she’d say something. Maybe she was talking to the driver, but he had the good sense to ignore her.

“Lord, I hope my check comes in today,” she muttered.

I grunted. When you work, you know when payday is.

“I need to get to the sto’,” she continued, raking her nails against her scalp. “Get some shampoo.” She flicked whatever from beneath her nails into the air.

I bristled.

Her pants legs rode high, her unmatched socks (one, black; the other, navy blue) visible. Her brown skin had an ashy cast and I thought to suggest she add lotion to her shopping list.

“I hope I got enuff left over to get my hair pressed.”

At her words, my hand touched my newly coiffed hair. I’d have suggested my stylist, but I was sure she couldn’t afford her.

At the next stop, a white woman got on. She was wearing a smart baby-blue suit with a pillbox hat to match. I loved the style, but couldn't see myself in it. My skin tone doesn’t carry light blues well.

The woman deposited her fare. At the sight of the woman up front, her face curdled. She stepped around her as she searched for a seat.

My eyes met hers, but the white woman’s expression didn’t change. I was hoping she’d see that I was more like her.

I hate niggers too.


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