Saturn stands at the opposite side of the room, green neon of a sign across the street flashing in her eyes. Her hand rests on the post of my bed, fingertips grazing my wrinkled pillow. Damp October air whispers through the curtain, and Saturn pulls her sweater tighter over her small chest. I move to the window and pull it down, closing the curtains, her eyes blink brown again, the neon flashing having ceased.

Her tiny brown hand reaches toward her throat, and she yanks her pendant from around her neck, then bowing her head thrusts it at me. “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. But honey, I ain’t the Lord and I am not taking that necklace from you—it’s yours and it will stay with you. No matter where you are in this world, whether we can be together or not, hearts and stars still applies. Always applies, huh?”

“I can’t do it because I can’t watch you get torn apart every time we go out in public. I don’t want you to have to go through that anymore!”

I lifted my arm toward her, to hold her to me, but my arm knew better and dropped like a runner in the desert. “I never minded getting torn apart, though, S! I’d let them tear me to a thousand pieces if it meant I didn’t have to watch you walk out that door a couple minutes from now. That’s what really tears me apart. I know you feel rejected, and I hate them for that. I won’t let them get away with it. But the last thing you need to feel is worried on my behalf. They don’t scare me, they don’t upset me, not for me. For you! But to leave—to leave this behind—because of them? It’s an injustice to me, to you, and it’s giving them just what they want!”

Tears well in Saturn’s eyes, held captive, barely, by her fuchsia tinted eyelids. This time I do reach out, to brush the tears away, and lashes tickle my fingertips. Her lips find my wet fingers and kiss them. It is the last kiss. She turns, and walks through the door. I watch as she leaves.

“Have you been seen by anyone with this tramp?”


“How could you do this to your father and me? Don’t you have any couth? Don’t you know that everyone in this city knows who your father is? You are the son of the top lawyer in this state, and you go traipsing around with garbage—and nigger garbage at that!

“What. Wait. What? Wait! Mom you’re serious? You’re talking about my girlfriend.”

Saturn stood behind me, but I could see the look of shock in my mind’s eye—her eyes wide and teary, her black braids falling onto her sagging shoulders.