No, I didn’t love her when I was younger. I grew up with her on Six Mile and Greenfield so she wasn’t new to me. She was there when my father taught me to ride my bike until the time I was thrown the car keys to pick up dinner. She rode with us when we hung out over my grandmother’s house on Puritan and Turner to kick it with my little cousins and my friends on the block (what up Sheree). It didn’t help that my parents always warned me about her. They told me to be careful, she’s mean, and she’s hard, and she’s slick, and she can be cruel so be aware of what’s around you. Needless to say, they kept me away from her as much as they could. When the streetlights came on, it was time for me to say my goodbyes. I didn’t understand why the other neighborhood children got to play with her longer, but as my mother would say, “Those ain’t my kids,” and that was the end of that discussion. But nah, I didn’t love her then. That was just my girl.
I actually didn’t know I had feelings for her until I went away to this Republican college in Midland. I’ll never forget the first day of school; this guy walks up and introduces himself in Advertising Class with Professor Cleary. Right off rip, he asked me about her. I didn’t even tell this clown I knew her before he began firing these ridiculous questions at me. Is she really like this? Is she really like that? Next thing I know, we’re in a full on back and forth about what he saw on TV about my girl. This dude ain’t even met her and he’s acting like he’s known her for years. By the end of that conversation, that kid walked away understanding what loyalty looked like. We’ve been through too much to let anyone say anything sideways about her.
Honestly, it’s a little hard hearing other people tell her that they love her. If I see another God-awful t-shirt with her name on it or another person’s non-profit that’s doing the same work as the other 10 non-profits that just filed last week, I’m going to go insane. I understand, she’s feeling herself a little bit right now. She’s built for the spotlight and I’m sure that being the underdog gets tiring. She’s finally getting her due and I’m happy for her. I don’t know man, maybe I’m territorial, but then again, I hear some of the same people call her names behind her back like “new frontier” or “blank slate” and then I find myself right there again, in Professor Cleary’s class with another whoever explaining to them in very simple terms how she’s been dope long before they came into her life. I don’t know man, I guess I’m just protective of her.