on a sprained knee, with grace and built tension you leap (yes, leap) into the center of your brooklyn walk-up. I dance with you, move your arms, my hand on your back, yours on my shoulder. us, hands folded doing a simple eight-count ‘round the room. brittany howard sings to us. she tells you, “I am waiting, I am waiting / time will always try to kill me.”
you’re in a good mood, you’re proud. tall today, hungry and with much energy. spinning circles around circles in the living room, just like when you were Twelve. you’ve spent much time waiting. I’ve learned your waiting to be active, to be so busy. waiting should be easier. boy, you must be exhausted.
you built a castle this year. it’s usually empty but it’s warm. it looks like you. everything looks like you. in love, self forgiving and always growing. there are plants under a pink light near the window. they’ve had a rough fall, too. you, without a green thumb and full of imperfection found some hope and patience where there was none. you’ve been kind this year–generous too. you’ve done your best, love. busted your ass this year, let it heal. please. I know, it hurts, so let it heal.
I watched you dance this year, we all did. watched you run too. wrapped your body in chains, bathed in glitter and olive oil, tried to keep busy–tried to forget. found buses, planes, cars, and trains to shelter your hiding. you brushed and tied your curls away. covered your eyes in dust and eyeliner. you stopped cooking, stopped eating. they asked you to sit ya ass down, but you couldn’t. that’s okay, you’re strong, hard-headed and soft too, but strong. you’ll learn.
you are beautiful, you don’t need to wear a suit and tie for anyone. should there be value left in being a man, you are man enough in rhinestones and ruffles. this you know. this is important (note to self): tell them no, honey. use your words. please. their comfort is not worth yours. you know this.
love, we spent so much time together this year. I hope you know I will always hold your hand. you’ve taught me so many things. like how to use scissors or how to pack a suitcase, how to dye denim overalls on the stove. you’ve taught me how to stretch three dollars and how to laugh and weep at the same time. you’ve taught me how to forgive, because it’s fine. they’ll say it isn’t but it is. you’re growing up now in the city of cities and stars do shine here, despite what they say. we saw them, remember?
In a Risk Online Exclusive LaQuann Dawson stars in a self-shot story 'Love letter to twenty-four: notes on waiting'.
photo/model/styling/mua/hair/text LaQuann Dawson