We always felt halfway to a crime that we could never commit.
We were two people of color, the passive transgression, but the responsibility of leaving our races still clung onto our chests.
Our family is a classic case of women and the black men who left them versus the white men who stayed.
I remember being 6 and slapping my white uncle in the face to figure out why his face turned bloodred.
There was something about watching a black boy murdered from the comfort of my home that made me want to go out and love a black man as hard as I could, as though somehow it could resurrect the child in him.
I started dating my first official black boyfriend, a neuroscientist, shortly after.
The only girl in my group of black girlfriends who had a boyfriend was dating a white boy who was white enough to have a family that hated black people. We would sit squished in a row behind them with all of our smirks perfectly even as they drove us home.
The year before I graduated college, black boys started dying on TV: Trayvon Martin, then Eric Garner, then Michael Brown, then Tamir Rice.
It didn’t feel like love at first, more like companionship at our all-time lows.
We were open with each other; he had been warned to stay away from black girls, and I was advised to not date men of color.
I didn’t date for two years following that breakup.
I cleaned myself up: I got a well-paying job; moved to the city; got my own apartment and painted it yellow and got plants to place on the windowsill. I joined Tinder on a whim to break the routine of eat, work, eat, sleep.
Our portrait was perfectly hung and constantly dusted for shine.