A Short Storm - All The Pretty Birds


A Short Storm

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Nia Hampton | Monday June 12th 2017

Short Storm



I jump on your back tearing at your out-stretched arm. I’m trying to get my “City of God” DVD back. I found it in a now defunct chain electronics store when I was in middle school. It was on sale for 8 dollars. It was my favorite movie and the first DVD I ever owned. We watched it in your mother’s crème colored living room the weekend before last. Well the beginning of it. We started making out around the time Benny meets Carrot and asks him to buy him an entirely new wardrobe. By the time Benny is shot in the disco you were asking me if you could “put the tip in.”



The thing about hanging out with you was that we always planned to do one thing and ended up doing another. When we found out we both loved City of God we decided to watch it together. Somehow we both ended up naked in your mother’s living room. Me all brown and sprawled out over her crème colored carpet. Chocolate sauce spilling out of my belly button and into your mouth.



I’m making my way to you shoulder now. I manage to knock your Steelers hat off and as you bend to the ground to pick it up, my weight is falling forward. One long arm pointed toward the sky, your hand latched around my DVD, the other arm reaching for the ground desperately feeling for that hat. My left hand is around your neck, fore arm pinned to your back and shoulder, my right hand attempting to cover your eyes, blind you and force surrender. I want to win this fight and get my DVD back. We have been wrestling in the street for almost 20 minutes now. Our childish yelps turn to serious grunts because we are tiring each other out but no one wants to give in. I need my DVD because I know how boys like to take things without plans of returning.



I grab my DVD out of your hand and jump off your back. I win. You are winded and bracing the side of my car, trying to catch your breath. I do a victory dance and slam the DVD into my trunk like a football player at the goal line.  “Imma get it back, watch,” you claim. I laugh skeptically reach for your beard and pull your face towards mine. I kiss you softly, a neat peck square on the lips. You roll your eyes and say, “You don’t know how to kiss.” You press your lips against mine, and slide your tongue past my lips and teeth.  I stand there; my head is trying to brace itself for the impact of your aggression. Lips parting as I let you in.



I’m naked again. I don’t know how-yes I do. You asked me, rather told me to take my shirt off. We are in your dusty room. Your “clean” for a boy and yet still remarkably dusty, room. It’s as if the top half of the room was abandoned. The curtains are regal and grand; I think they are taffeta, dark green and long. Curtains that belong in a dining room over a bay window. I don’t understand how so much dust could collect in a space so obviously lived in. Dresser drawers cluttered with camera equipment, ashtrays, candles burned into place, and liquor bottles. Your bed is cold. It’s directly under the window, and yet here I am, naked. My nipples erect and enveloped in your lips.



You liked putting your mouth on me. You used to be a fat boy but then you went to Africa for middle school and came back tall and skinny. You had the soul of Ruben Studdard though. On our first date I ordered a brownie sundae for dinner. “That’s it? That’s all you goin eat?” you asked surprised. You offered me some of your chicken. I declined. You offered mozzarella sticks. I declined. You ended up eating half of my brownie sundae. I wiped chocolate sauce from the corners of your mouth. We left the restaurant and I pulled up to the front of your house and we stalled. We sat and talked about various things, mainly music. The passenger seat was leaned back, the tell tale sign that a black male has been riding shotgun. You took your Steelers hat off and played with the black and yellow ball of fabric that all wintery knit hats have. I gave you a hug as you prepared to go inside. I pulled away and saw that your eyes were closed and you were making the kissy face. I laughed out loud and you blushed, “Oh, it’s not the time for that?” I laughed you out of my car. I laughed the entire drive home.



It’s Thanksgiving and you’re drunk. We’re on your porch and my arms are around your neck. I’m standing on your porch steps, there are only two, and you’re standing on the bottom. The only way we could ever see eye to eye. Your arms are around my waist and I’m beginning to feel the effect of the holiday punch. You kiss me in little pecks, emphasizing the “muah” sound on every other kiss. I feel like a child.

“I don’t want you to wait for me. Don’t give up anything for me. I feel- I feel like we’ll see each other 5 or 10 years from now and I’ll- I’ll look at you like ‘Damn, you really made it, you really got your dreams’ after all of this is over with, I don’t want you to wait for me. I really like you. I can’t believe you came today.”

I can’t believe it either, I wasn’t going to, but my family dinner ended early and I decided to visit. I missed you. “Muah,” You peck me again. You kiss me all over my face and then nuzzle my neck “I’m so glad you came,” you slur.

“Are you saying all this because you’re drunk?”  I ask.

You look at me and smile, “Yeah, but I still mean it.”



Tia and Tamera’s reality show is on the TV, it’s lighting your dusty room. I am lying on my stomach and on your back, my entire body absorbing your heat. Topless and sleepy, I feel like I’m on the beach, tanning. You groan and roll over, pushing me off. We stare at each other in silence, reaching an all to familiar impasse. You wanting to have sex, me wanting to do everything but. That is until now. I roll onto my back and weigh my options. Your impatience hums in my ear like a mosquito. I wonder if you’re bored with me. I wonder if this is the last time I’ll see you- if we don’t have sex. I ask you if you have a condom.

You perk up. “Are you sure you want to do thi-“

“Get the condom before I change my mind.” You run to your drawer and get one. I can hear Tamera crying about her sister’s pregnancy on the TV.



I’m sitting in my car, deflowered and giddy. I’m thinking of all the people I have to call and inform of my status. I’m a woman now. The night before, after we finished, I tell you, “It feels like my vagina has a heartbeat!”

“Welcome to having sex,” you say.

I call you over to my car. I want to be close to you as my car warms up. You sit on the passenger side and pull out your phone. I study you through the corner of my eye. I see you text. I can feel you planning your escape. I tell you my car is warm enough now, and you get out.



The joint is burning faster than it should be. I swipe at the air as you exhale and hand it to me. “I love you,” you blurt out. I don’t feel anything. I always imagined that my heart would burst into a rainbow and unicorn blood would start dripping from my nose when a boy finally said those three words to me. Instead I stifle laughter. My eyebrow lifts in confusion, “you don’t even know me” I reply.

“You’re probably just infatuated,” I inhale and pass the joint back.

You laugh, “Yeah, infatuated.”



You don’t reply to my texts anymore. I’ve sent six so far. Nothing too crazy, I’m just carrying on a one sided conversation apparently. I’m just bringing up inside jokes, and answering my own questions, no big deal.

I text you “if this iz rlly the end…the least you could do iz get me those oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from your job!!! =/”

No response. I get a pain in my chest. I’m realizing I’m experiencing a horribly stereotypical virginity story.



I’m sitting on the toilet in my grandmother’s bathroom. It is my birthday and this the third time I’ve called you today. I haven’t heard from you for a week now. I know you’re alive because your Twitter timeline is full of flirty tweets to a tall brown skin painter in Philadelphia.

“I like your beats” she tweets.

“I like your Converses” you reply.

“I like your beard” she tweets.

“I like your height” you reply.

I want to throw up.



My best friend Poonam is driving me back to campus. I have a blunt waiting; we are celebrating my 20th birthday.  I use her phone to call you. A female voice answers,


“Can I speak to Storm?”

“This ain’t his phone…” the voice lies.

I try to remember if I’m turning 20 or 12.

“If you got a problem with Storm you need to talk to him,” the voice snarls.

“I’m trying to but I think he’s ignoring me-“ I can’t decide if I’m more disgusted with you or myself for this conversation.

“So what, you can’t take a hint?” the voice says wisely.

I straighten up in my seat and reply, “You know what, you are absolutely right.” Click. I can’t breathe and my eyes get really wet and Poonam asks what happened and for some reason I just keep trying to apologize to her because, I’m freaking out and I can’t talk. I can’t tell her what happened on the phone because the air has been snatched out of my lungs.



We don’t even talk anymore, me and you. I was going to egg your house, but my mother told me I could go to jail, plus you live with your mom and she was actually very nice to me. My mother sends you a nasty message on Facebook, shaming and brow beating like only a mother can.  This happens in December. You reply the weekend of Memorial Day. You tell my mother, you in fact did not intend on taking my virginity and leaving, you actually liked me, but it was my attitude blah blah blah, lies, lies, lies, you know what you did was wrong, and that you’ll reach out to me soon. A week to the day later my sister wakes to status updates on Facebook that read “RIP Storm.” We learn that you had been shot.

I try to imagine your mother’s face as the cops explain the cause of your murder. They probably knock on the screen door gently, take their hats off out of respect and ask if she is the lady of the house in a hushed tone. I imagine that the detectives would look at their feet as they offer a pitiful excuse for your death, “wrong place, wrong time”. As if there is a right place and time to die.



You said you would see me 5 to 10 years from now and we would both be where we wanted to be in life. We would both be living out our dreams and getting paid to express ourselves. You said you would steal my City of God DVD back. You said you would reach out to me soon. But no less then a year later I was at your funeral. Listening to stories of you, thinking about all one the ones I had yet to write. Realizing that you were a liar.

Graphic By Sophia Gach-Rasool

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