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  • I hear loud, laughing voices mixed with muffled drumbeats and the slightly off key sounds of trumpets and trombones. Brightly decorated hats top row after row of colorfully uniformed marchers. The noise and push of the crowd frightens me but I sit safely above it all, supported by his broad shoulders, my fingers anchored in the thick waves of his blue-black hair and the toes of my patent leather maryjanes firmly in his grasp. In that moment I know what it is like to be royalty.

    That night I stare at the ruby rosary beads and the pearl crucifix over the head of the bed and strain to remember the sounds and colors of the morning. The drums are no longer muffled. The beat grows louder and wilder as I struggle against the rhythmic push of his body. When it is over, I hide myself in the softness of my neatly folded, freshly laundered nightie. As I feel my way along the wall of the dark hallway back to my room, I know I will never be royalty.

    That night I left the listening and the knowing for a land that was nowhere to be found, a foreigner in the city of my own soul.
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