“One day you gone explode. I feel it.”
“How do you feel it?”
“Bruh, anybody with eyes can see that you fucked up. You just ain’t using yo anger right.”
Finally, I stop. We’ve walked off school property and are now on King Street near the gated neighborhoods. There are broad trees and shaded sceneries and silence basking the air like an oven. I can tell it’s autumn because the leaves are falling and they’re all sorts of colors. A red one floats down with the breeze and lands on Blake’s head. This makes me chuckle. A slither of light shines on my face. Blake removes the leaf and crushes it under his palm.
“That’s my favorite color,” I say.
“It’s a deep color. Very intense and passionate.”
Blake looks at me sideways and then nods efficiently, as if he’s figured something out.
“You have blue eyes,” he states, walking forward again. I follow him.
“Um, yes. Your eyes are black.”
“Black ain’t no damn eye color.”
“Well, dark dark brown.”
He stops. Looks over his shoulder at me. His eyes trail to my jaw, which he’s damaged with his enforcing punch. His body language reads apologetic, but he shakes his head and keeps walking. We’re shoulder-to-shoulder, keeping a persistent pace.
“If you don’t mind me asking,” I start. “why the hell did you hit me?”
“Because I don’t believe you tough enough.”
“Not tough enough?”
“Damn! Repeat all my questions.”
I glance at him and he’s trying to hide his smile. I have no idea who I’m talking to at this point.
“Well, I wouldn’t have to repeat your questions if they made sense.”
“Ron, lemme tell you somethin’,”
He stops and turns to look at me. My face is probably that of an exasperated adult trying to find reason within this random situation. How will he justify his reason for hitting me?
“One thing to know about me, is that I don’t do weak. The people that I fuck with, ain’t no sissy shit in they kitchen. They do as I say and if things pop off anywhere at any time, I can trust them all to stand they muthafuckin’ ground.”
I hear him and I nod. His eyes are staring into mine, checking for understanding.
“I-I hear you.”
“Do you understand me?”
“I think so.”
He shoves his hands in his jacket pockets and moves forward.
“Well if you don’t understand get lost. Get the fuck out my face. Be a punching bag for the rest of yo sorry life.”
“Blake stop,” I’m getting emotional now.
He halts and pivets on his heels to get in my face. It’s illuminated in the slither of the light.
“Why don’t you get mad bruh? I KNOW you want to hit somebody.”
“You don’t get it.”
“Yes the fuck I do. You just scared. You think you powerless. Man if you just demanded yo respect...”
“I can’t do that.”
“Bitch you don’t want to do that!”
“Don’t you fucking get it?!” I spat in his face.
His eyes have dangerously enlarged. My heart is pounding wildly and I continue to argue in the liking of my favor.
“This is why I need your help! This is why I want in on whatever you have going on because I’m fucked up, like you said. You’re the only person that’s ever acknowledged that I’m hurt and been hurt. Not my parents, not my fake ass girlfriend, no one else but you. So what can you say now?”
I’ve never been so passionate about anything in my life, and that’s kind of what the color red gives me. A confidence, a devotion, a wonderment. It’s so strong and beautiful that I get lost in it’s color when another red leaf (this one has a little more orange in it) flows through the air with the dancing of the wind. It’s a tense spot right here, and my heart is about to tear out of my chest. His eyes soften and I’m not sure if gang leaders are supposed to do that. What is up with Blake’s personality?
Just now, a silver Jeep drives by and I process we’re still outside. We’re not near a couple jogging together with exercise shorts. There’s no man walking his German Shepard while talking on the phone with whoever’s on the other end. In my reality, it’s just me and Blake. There’s the red of the leaves, the slither of light, the breeze rustling through my hair, and the intensity of his eyes. It’s this moment that feels more real than anything else.
Blake cracks his expected, amusing grin. He shuffles both feet, then keeps them firmly planted on the ground. He says, “Wanna go get some ice-cream?”