From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

AllConsumingWorld_FantasyMag_728x90_1

Advertisement

Fiction

Shapeshifter

At the Last Black Unicorn, no one is too much to too little; everyone is enough. Period.

I’ve had golden wings that glittered, making me a jewel of the sky as I glided through the air. Swam in pink and purple oceans on a nameless planet. Traversed the cosmos to witness the birth of a star. And yet none of that compares to the ecstasy I feel being loved by a Black woman.

I have to tell her.

I cling to Destiny on the dancefloor of the gay club. Sweat sticks to our bodies as we groove to the music, reveling not just in the song but in a club built on a foundation of love and seasoned with acceptance.

Not saying anything is lying.

Strobe lights flash around us. It’s costume night and everyone has come to impress. We’re dressed as some sailors named Neptune and Uranus. My curls are bright teal and shoulder length. Destiny dyed her pixie cut blonde last week. We celebrated her gorgeous new hair by having sex on the roof of her apartment, under the stars.

I can’t put this off any longer.

Destiny trips and lands in my arms with a laugh. I hold her close, swaying our bodies together. My stomach tightens when I see the bruise on her shoulder. Another peaceful protest turned violent by the people pretending to protect us. Destiny kisses my neck and the anger fades. All week long we fight and march for ourselves and everyone else. But tonight? This is simply for us.

Will she hate me?

This beautiful Black body is full of contradictions. It’s too weak to withstand the gravity of Jupiter, yet strong enough to endure generations of oppression and neglect. But being with Destiny pushed me beyond surviving this blue world and into flourishing. She teaches me new things every day. Things like saying, “This some good shit,” or how to never apologize for my existence. She’s shown me how to understand these chaotic human emotions. When I think of her, I can’t help but be in awe. It’s such an honor to be loved by a Black woman.

Can she forgive me?

She motions to the corner of the dance floor. Two old Black men slow dance to the music. They hold each other tight, as if to shut out the world. One man lifts a hand to stroke the back of his partner’s head with the tenderness that only decades of love can create. Destiny looks back at me and mouths, “the dream.”

How do I tell her I come from the stars without losing her?

“The Dream.” She always says that when she sees something she wants to claim for our future. A nice house? The dream. A car that can go ten blocks without overheating? The dream. It’s like she’s taking notes for the universe so it can unfuck our lives later. Despite all the madness that engulfs this world, she still has hope for us.

But what if there is no us after I explain?

Panic freezes my body. Destiny squeezes my waist and stares at me. I don’t want to lose this, but I can’t lie anymore. Alarm paints her face. Without a word, I lead her to the restroom. It’s quieter inside. Empty, bright-pink stalls greet us, along with thousands of stickers used to decorate the walls. Ads for makeup, plus-size clothes, and more stare back at us. Cinnamon perfume, Destiny’s signature scent, fills my lungs as I take a deep breath to steady myself. I love the way it lingers on me. The door vibrates, and my heart hammers along to the beat.

“What’s wrong?”

Her eyes are so full of care and worry that it hurts my heart.

“I’m not from here. I’m sorry, I should’ve told you sooner.”

She grins. “Babe, I know.”

Destiny takes my hand and all I want to do is hug her, but I can’t.

I pull my hand away and take a step back.

“No, you don’t understand.” I pinch my forearm. “This skin? It’s not me. I mean, well, it is, but it’s not the only me. I’m so much more than this.”

I take a deep breath.

“I’ve lived beyond this world.” My voice cracks, but I don’t stop. “You deserve to know the real me.”

“I get it.”

“You can’t, not until I show you.”

So I do.

I shift into DJ Tim Possible, and into my golden winged form. I show her my selves, trying to pick the ones least likely to scare her, but it’s impossible. Nothing could’ve prepared her for this moment. The sand cat, the giantess with flames for hair, the humanoid species with six arms and no mouth, the diamond squid. I show her all these versions of myself and finally return to the body she knows.

I’ve never seen Destiny stand so still. Eyes wide, mouth agape, but no movement. I don’t know what to do, so I stand there with my soul bared daring to hope.

Is this how I lose her?

Fear and curiosity shade Destiny’s eyes as she comes closer to me. With a shaking hand, she traces my face with her finger. Our eyes meet. Then, like the dawn breaking over a storm, she smiles and my heart beats again. She opens her arms and I dive into them. Her arms hold me tight, as if to push the doubt out of my bones. Tears run down from my eyes. I bury my face in her neck, exhaling the fear and breathing in her love. I kiss the bruise on her shoulder and sway us to the music.

In Destiny’s arms I am safe, as she is in mine. She has shown me so much, but now it’s my turn. I’ll take her to the stars and show her the universe. She is my dream. With her, everything is more than enough, because this, us, this some good shit.

Enjoyed this story? Consider supporting us via one of the following methods:

Vanessa McKinney

Vanessa McKinney is a fiction writer who bounces around the world to experience different cultures and eat lots of foods.