I’m a wolf of the streets, I smell your fear.

A bright sun looms over me, dressed up in some new clothes I had bought for the semester, I walk to class. Right on time, I make my way into Mason and lower the volume on my headphones. The halls are buzzing per usual and I sense an ordinary day in the making. My lecture hall is lively and there are busy, moving students all around me as the professor prepares his notes for the class. The projector luminates the wall in front of the room with the introductory slide to his PowerPoint. What seems to be the last group of students enter through the doors dispersing as they please. Almost all the seats in the lecture hall were filled with different people from different places. I may have been on campus for years but the sight of so many faces will always be overwhelming to me.

After putting away my phone, I began taking out my notebook, journal, and pens. There’s a growing sense of gratefulness within me as the class begins. My water bottle rolls to the end of my row while I lie my backpack down. It’s not within arm's reach but there’s nobody who offers a hand. I chuckle—there’s nobody around me to chuckle back. My row is empty. I forgot— I should’ve expected it if it was any other day. I wonder, what’s so wrong with me? To not be worthy enough for a single person in this school to willfully want to sit next to me. I sigh, and as expected, a couple of my fellow white classmates turn and look at me from top to bottom. They’re disgusted, who allowed me to exhale in such a manor.

You’re staring… I see the side-eye, and the scared glances but they bounce off me. My rebuttal glares, they pierce you however, in an instant you look away in disbelief. How dare I have done the same thing. Keep turning if you must, if your angst continues, then you’ll only notice my attempts to look as repulsed as you do.

A diverse school and one with tens of thousands of students, yet again, I feel so alone. Every day. Every class. Every bus ride. The only progress being made is in the velocity I can make them shy away from me. Finally, mentioning it to my brothers, I realize I’m far from alone in the abyss of solitude. I won’t change the way I dress, how I talk, how I walk, we don’t care about fitting an imposed mold. Our brown skin has been shunned on what seems to be a consensus and we’ve unknowingly been alone ⁠— together, this whole time.

 

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