I promise — I can take it.
The workers come. They drill into the concrete in front of my building. I hear them cut through the ground. A drill here, some digging there. They disturb the dog.
She wakes up from a sound sleep, eager to locate the demons responsible for the momentary interruption.
As they carve into the ground below us, I think about you. Are you entertained? Did I make a good first impression? Was I too much — too little? Is my personality what you thought it’d be?
I didn’t have to think about things like this two years ago. The pandemic has me this way. I tell my therapist I am forever changed. She agrees. She says I’m not the only one. I know I’m not.
Universe, do your worst. I promise I can take it. It’s a statement I thought should be on a t-shirt. I’m still here. After all the damage — all the calculated drama — all the premeditated bullshit, I’m still here.
You speak of wanting children — a life with someone who holds his crotch every thirty minutes. I know this isn’t me. I feign not hearing you. I change the subject. We talk about beating the odds as black women, instead.
The workers tag the concrete. A yellow sign issues caution. The newness of their act intrigues me. A small leaf pokes through the wet-work. What does it mean?
The dog falls back to sleep.