56 opportunities to say a thing, more than less, perhaps enough Born, yes, in Cleveland. A negro of negroes. Documented. Raised right, in the church Lutheran and steadfast We lived down the street and had the extra key to St Philip's. Wordy child, moody and temperamental Youngest, some said spoiled; an entertainer. Black neighborhood other You talk like a white girl. Independent School of East Cleveland a mouthful Belonging and not belonging, in and out School life in a nutshell Brady, Eric, Tia carpool Dads who called each other Mister After school at Mrs Atwater's until mom came I remember those days. Middle school, Lutheran school Desks, bells, grades, rows, blackboards Obedient and built for it 3 wishes: cheerleading, saddle shoes, to be liked Meatloaf sang: 2 out of 3 ain't bad. Billy Joel sang: Vienna waits for you Steely Dan sang: Sure, he's a jolly roger Until he answers for his crime I didn't know what that was about Still I sang. High school, preppy prep school Button downs, corduroys, turtlenecks Fit the fit, fitting in, to fit Everybody's friend, bravely naive, blessedly compliant Never a fuss. So nice. Good girl goes to college East coast Ivy league Solo arrival by Greyhound with a heavy chest; a literal cedar chest with my stuff Best friend roommate from the coast of Maine My biggest takeaway from the Hill was Cath, the lack to my luster What college was for Everything else is Vienna Everything else is German and English Everything else is language and misunderstanding Everything else is men, kids and change Everything else is stories of the story of why I'm still here Everything else is choosing and making the most Everything else is living without so much knowing What's missing is all the in betweens What's missing is all the details no one needs What's missing is where you fit in exactly What's missing is when the scales tipped What's missing is the time I chose to be me What's missing is all the times I chose to be someone else. What's missing is all the squishy parts What's missing is the end.