It was still dark. Too early to get up? I wasn’t sure, but I was awake with plenty of work I need to do. I accidentally woke him as I was trying to make my way from the bedroom without turning on lights. “Babe?” my boyfriend was not awake enough to understand what was happening. “Where are you going?
“I need to work.” I wrapped myself further in my blanket, which I was taking with me.
“What if it is only 2 am?”
I laughed. “Then I will be clocking in early.”
It was early, but not soon enough. I wake up each and every day behind schedule. People tell me that they can’t keep up with all I am trying to do and it’s funny to me because I have been reporting, but no one really knows the scale of the production I have chosen to involve myself in. It has taken every effort to allow myself a life I can be well in. I have been sick for most of my life. I will finish the rest of it in prosperity and health. I will not die a slave. I will earn my freedom.
Pretty white girls with blond hair and blue eyes can’t be slaves. I was told that yesterday by a black man who has lived enough life to know after seventy-one years as a minority. He told me, “Don’t ever compare anyone’s suffering Amber. You have no right. Pain is pain and it is savage. It’s personal. You will never know what it’s like to be me and I was born a slave from the south. The south is a different place. You can’t possibly understand.”
I understand pain.
It is the only language that all people know. I know it to be the truest form of communication. If I waned to make my way quickly to power I would cause the most hurt. I would cause the most death. I would master pain to the annihilation of brother killing brother because pain is like any industry. It can be bought, sold, and profited from. Why is it that all rulers have great wealth if money is not important? Was there pain involved? Always.
Pain is power in every shade.
I don’t care about skin color. I will tell you that right now. I don’t care if you are black, red, or puke green. I personally like my own skin to be bronzed, but that’s just because I get so pale I look like I am dying. I don’t care about skin color and I am mighty sick of the fact that so many people do. It’s like bitching that your hair is getting messed up when the wind that is messing it up is a tornado. Do you think hair really matters when you are in the middle of a storm that means to kill you?
I explained to my black friend yesterday that while I can’t possibly know what it’s like to be a black man from the south I surely want to if only he’d allow me the honor in telling. We started our conversation with more talk of Marshawn Lynch.
“Do you follow football sir?”
He beamed, tickled that I thought he might not. “Of course I follow football.”
“Tell me what you think of Marshawn Lynch.” I asked him forthright and without direction beyond.
He was at a loss, “I don’t even know where to start. What do you want to know?”
“I want to know the first things that come to mind. Any thoughts at all. Even if you think they are obvious or not noteworthy.” I encouraged him to speak freely.
“Well,” he began, “He does his job.”
“Yes! He’s all about the action.” I was delighted to be moving towards something.
“He doesn’t like the media and I can’t say I blame him. They seem to have it out for him.”
I stopped him there. It was enough.
“Why do you think that is my friend?” I was smiling.
He shook his head. “I don’t honestly know.”
After that I read him my blog, written just the day before. Not this article that you are reading, but the one before it. He had me go back later to repeat back what I had read to him. There was one part that he recorded. He had me speak into his phone so he could hear it again later.
“Marshawn Lynch doesn’t owe us anything more than what he promised, and that was that he can win football games. Perhaps that is why he’s thinking about leaving. Maybe he knows he can’t win, or maybe he feels like he’s being cheated out of his freedoms. It seems that the league and the press have hard-ons for poking the man like a monkey in a cage. It’s like they want to own every part of him. Every action, including his freedom of speech. “Speak up boy, or are you dumb, deaf, or stupid?”
We have the right to remain silent.
The two of us spoke at great length about Marshawn Lynch, myself admitting that he lost some of my favor by not choosing to go visit the President with the team after they won the Superbowl.
“Maybe he couldn’t Amber.” My friend was careful not to draw judgement from the speculation. “We don’t know what his background is.”
“He could have a criminal background?” It was my suggestion.
“I am not implying that, but I am sure there are rules about who can visit the president. I am sure Marshawn did not attend his company for good reason. I am sure it was not something he considered lightly.”
I had considered it lightly until then, that clarity of new perspective. My friend payed me the honor by compliment. He thanked me for my gifts as writer.
“Thank you for that. I couldn’t figure out what was bothering me so much about the press and what they have been doing to Marshawn Lynch. You wrote it so perfectly Amber.”
I was grinning, happy to have made the time to sit with history. “Why do you think the press bother him the way they do?” I asked, knowing that he would see it.
“I think they want to see if he can speak the king’s language.”
“The king’s language.” His answer was exactly right.
If you want to know how to free a slave you will first need to know the king’s language.