The Reveal

| October 24, 2017 | 0 Comments

“So… my secret psych was… Morgan!”

The jaw of the new Executive Director of Summerbridge fell open as Jacqueline presented her final gift. The gift resembled them both: perfect.

“Secret psych,” as Marilyn had advertised it six weeks prior, was a summer-long bonding activity for the Teaching Fellows, Instructional Coaches, and Administration while they provided classes in math, science, humanities, and a range of co-curricular activities to rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders in San Francisco. Everyone was assigned a “secret psych,” someone who they would give an anonymous gift to once a week. It was August 5, 2016. The final reveal. Present a final gift in front of the entire teaching faculty. A memento: something by which the gift-receiver would remember their anonymous gift-giver forever. A burst of excitement mixed with a spoonful of bitter sweetness permeated the room as the colleagues realized this would be one of their final memories of working at Summerbridge.

Nisha acted calm. She appeared to be engaged in the other reveals, but there was something underlying her detached expression. Joyful anticipation combined with overbearing terror: a classic recipe for anxiety. Her nervousness manifested itself through her clammy hands that protected the drawing she completed that morning.

“Who’s left?” Marilyn asked as she looked around. Nisha kept her head down, dying to be called yet hoping she never would be. “How about…Nisha!”

Nisha smiled timidly. As one of the quieter Teaching Fellows who did not party with the others on the weekends, she felt everyone’s eyes weigh down on her. She took a deep breath and stood up.

Her body was so nervous it shook and she doubted if she should carry on as planned.

She cleared her throat as she began, “Hi everyone. This sounded a lot better in theory than in practice so I’m going to do what I originally planned and in case that doesn’t work, well, I have a backup option.” She looked down at her drawing.

A few Teaching Fellows giggled as Nisha made her way to the back of the cafeteria where she could face everybody.

The words flowed out of her mouth like track runners racing at the sound of the gun. “As you all probably know, many of the Teaching Fellows, including myself, went to a Giants game. At this game, like at many baseball games, there was a kiss cam. When it pointed to a couple, the couple kissed. When one of the kiss cams pointed to one of the couples, the man proposed to the woman and she said yes,” Nisha paused as she took another deep breath. She looked at her coworkers waiting in anticipation for her to reveal her secret psych.

“At this point in time the Teaching Fellow I was sitting next to asked me, ‘Nisha, if they point the camera on us, will you propose to me?’

‘But I don’t have a ring,’ I responded.

‘That’s ok, just do it anyway,’ she said.”

Nisha paused. “Well, now I have a ring.”

For the first time since Nisha stood in front of her colleagues, she permitted her eyes to wander and meet those of the indescribable African-American woman she admired since the first day of the internship. Ebony Kennedy was the woman of Nisha’s dreams: brave, intelligent, clever, artistic, and all-around wonderful. Nisha thought Ebony Kennedy was so beautiful that every detail of her body had been carefully designed by the most particular craftsman. Her presence made Nisha feel complete, as if something was missing before that Nisha wasn’t aware of until she met her. Ebony Kennedy’s wide eyes full of tears and perfectly shaped hands atop her head revealed her utter astonishment. As a queer Indian with only her right foot out of the closet, Nisha’s body trembled and the colleagues gasped as she approached the one and only Ebony Kennedy.

Nisha got down on her right knee and pulled out the ring she had made out of grass from her right front pocket as she took Ebony Kennedy’s right hand.

“Ebony, will you marry me?” Nisha was convinced that her heart was literally going to sear through her multiple layers of skin and purge itself on the floor, it was so terrified and excited at the same time.

photo credit: See Wah Will you marry me? via photopin (license)

photo credit: See Wah Will you marry me? via photopin (license)

“Yes!” Ebony gasped.

Nisha’s heart stopped for a second. She was not expecting this answer. “Oh,” she responded.

She carefully took out the ring and placed it on Ebony Kennedy’s ring finger. Then Ebony Kennedy and Nisha stood up and Ebony Kennedy gave Nisha a warm and fulfilling embrace.

Nisha remembered that she was still holding the drawing.

“Oh,” Nisha interrupted. “Here was my backup option. It’s on a green piece of paper because I know that your favorite color is green and that you really like nature.”

Ebony Kennedy smiled and joyfully accepted the drawing. “It’s lovely.”

featured photo credit: Mélisande* Hinged box N° 3 via photopin (license)


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Category: featured, Poetry, Prose and Comedy, Romance, The (Sex)es

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