Everyone else is staring, so why don’t we?

I see you look at me out of the corner of your eye – gazing ever so obliquely to ensure that our eyes never meet. Darting eyes engaged in a dreadful dance, so filled with longing yet swallowed by the fear of what might happen should we actually fully acknowledge one another and confess our sameness.

Is our shared reality so real, so painful that to see one another, even if just for a brief moment, might send our worlds spiraling out of control as the emotions we’ve tried and are trying so hard to mask rise from the depths of our shuddering souls, which we believe should be colonized beyond the point of feeling by now?

It can’t be the fact that your Afro- is German and my Afro- is American: no, it can’t be a cultural difference, because everyone else is staring!

Staring and seeing what we ourselves refuse to espy. They’re staring at you… staring at me. . . staring at us, together in our difference from them.

What is this thing between you and me? What has conditioned us to believe our shared identity is unworthy of acknowledgment; is unworthy of celebration? Why have we failed to remember the strength that is birthed in sharing even the most fleeting moments of solidarity? Has our quest of assimilation so fully eclipsed the intrinsic desire for mutuality between ourselves currently gnawing at our souls?

Why is it that I refuse to see you refuse to see me while everyone else is staring?

[Oh, this is my stop. . .]

One thought on “On Staring: A Subway Confession from Munich

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