By Siarra Francois
This piece is a fictional short story that tells the tale of a young African American girl who comes to the realization of who she is and what it means to her.
Jasmine lifted her collar and threw the sweater vest over her button-down shirt. “Pacific Poly Prep” she whispered to herself while looking in the mirror. She quickly put her headband on her head, grabbed her bag and rushed out of the room. While checking the time on her Apple Watch, she slid on her shoes and grabbed a banana from the fruit basket and her keys to her 2019 Mercedes Benz. As she pulled out of the driveway and waited for the security to open the gates, she noticed the sun beaming, highlighting her hazel eyes and turned on the new Ariana Grande album. Jasmine was one out of the three black people that attended her prestigious private school in Garden Hills. If you asked her where she was from she would never forget to tell you she was black but she would always mention that her great great grandparents were Irish and Polish.
As she pulled into the parking lot of her school she threw on some lip gloss, fluffed her puff full of kinky curls and grabbed her bag. She walked into the school hallways and met up with her best friend Rebecca Clinton (yes, the granddaughter of Bill Clinton). “Today’s the day! Are you ready?” Rebecca excitedly asked her best friend. Jasmine was finally going to ask her crush, Brady Thornton, captain of the lacrosse team, out on a date. “Of course I am. How could he say no to me? I’m captain of the debate team and class president.” Jasmine grabbed her book and closed her locker ready to ask Brady to the homecoming dance, which was the following week. “Hey Brady,” Jasmine nervously said while sitting down in the seat next to him. Brady looked up quickly while pushing his blond locks out of his face and gave Jasmine a nod while turning back to his phone. “So, are you going to the dance next Friday?” she asked him while opening her book trying to make it all seem casual. “Not sure yet,” he said, still refusing to look up from his phone. “Well . . . I was wondering if you’d want to be my date to the dance?” Brady finally looked up from his phone and his pale cheeks turned rosy. “Look Jasmine, I think you’re a great girl,” Brady nervously said while scratching his neck, “but I don’t think us going to the dance together would be such a great idea.” Jasmine’s face dropped and all she could muster up was a quiet “Why not?” “Because you know . . . ” he said while rubbing his hand. “Maybe you should ask Justin Thompson . . . ” Brady said, giving her a smile. Unironically, Justin was the only black boy in school.
Jasmine raised her hand and asked to be excused to the bathroom. She opened the door and looked at herself in the mirror. “What does that even mean?” she whispered to herself. “I’m smart, friends with everyone, and I know my looks aren’t the reason for him saying no,” Jasmine thought out loud. Then it dawned on her as her brown hands ran through her hair removing the scrunchie and letting her kinky curls loose. He wouldn’t go to the dance with her because she was black. Jasmine had never experienced something like that in her life. Her skin color had never got in the way with any of her interactions because of her status in life. As she splashed cold water over her face, she noticed the features that made her different. Of course she spent all of her life around white people so she never really realized that she was any different. She ran her fingers against her plump lips and grazed her slightly bigger nose before walking out of the bathroom. “Psst, psst,” she said in front of Rebecca’s class, signaling for her to come outside. “So did he say yes? What color are you guys gonna wear? I was thinking . . . ” “He said no,” Jasmine said flatly knowing that if she did not cut her friend off then that she would continue to ramble on. Rebecca turned red and pushed back her blonde hair. “What? Why?” she said with her blue glassy eyes. Rebecca knew how much her friend wanted this and hearing those words crushed her. “He said it’s because I’m black, Beck,” Jasmine said still in shock. Rebecca quickly wrapped her lanky arms around her best friend and began to walk down the hall. “And beautiful,” she said, reassuring her best friend as they walked down the halls.
Siarra Francois is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in Brooklyn, NY.