Immediately upon walking into the chatter of at least 7o young people, I was clear I was wrong on all accounts. With nothing left to do but make the most of it, I approached the grass to lay down my towel and book. I spied them posturing for one another, triple somersaulting into the cool hand of the water, cracking jokes, rapping Lil Wayne lyrics with the sort of street boy swag Baltimore mothers put in boy babies bottles when they turn 2 weeks old. Teenage Black boys. They were chiseled, tight as packed sand. They were handsome and young enough to still cry, and all eyes were on me; all of my big, black, bald self.
As I bent over to place my phone on the towel, I heard the boy in the water say, “Her head look like some balls!” His comrades instantly began to spout laughter from their geyser throats. Instantly, the rest of the pool faded to static. For five razor seconds, I was in 3rd grade, sitting center in a sea of green plastic seats on the yellow bus. I was waiting for the announcement to arrive from the Carnival Barker of the day and just like every other day, as if timed with some sort of cosmic cue someone would kick it off, “There she is, SONYA, SONYA BALD SPOTS!” Children stomped their feet and clapped their hands in unison. An entire bus full of children were performing a concert of shame headlining me. With nothing left for me to do, I lowered my bald head and I was transported back to Patterson Pool. But when I opened my eyes I remembered that I was not nine years old and I voluntarily shaved my head two days ago expressly to own and overcome moments like this. I also remembered, I am a grown ass woman and these are CHILDREN!
Certainly resembling Ms. Sophia in a scene from the film, The Color Purple, I marched toward the comedian in the water. The others looked on in shock, “Is she coming over here? OH SHIT!” I heard fall out of their unhinged jaws. I slowly bent down and got close to the comedian’s face and stated loudly enough for his boys to hear, “If you are gonna talk trash about someone, you should make sure they can’t hear you, sweetie!” “Oooooo, snap! She got you!” said the tallest. “ Aww dude! She came for you!” said a shorter one with gold fronts in his mouth. “What? What? I ain’t say nuthin!” stammered the comedian in the water looking deliciously embarrassed. And with the saunter only healing can offer I returned to my towel, peeled my dress over my head and put all this gorgeous bald body in the water.[Cover Image Description: Black and white photo of a bald Black woman with dark skin. She holding something indiscernable between her teeth. She is wearing a gold necklace and a strapless top. There is a hill of grass off in the distance.]