“Now I can smile.”

I walk to the sinks, the cubicle door swinging shut behind me. Because of the field cut occluding the right half or so of my vision, I don’t notice the woman at the sink next to me until she turns on the tap and I hear the water splash from the faucet.

I turn and smile, “Hi.”

“Hello,” She smilies back, adjusting her purple paisley head scarf as she dries her hands.

Her accent is thick and rich. Musical.

“Where are you from?” She asks me curiously.

“Texas,” I reply, “And yourself?”

Turning to reach for the paper towel dispenser, I notice the weathered rolling luggage bag next to her, just out of my line of vision while I had been standing at the sink.

Stupid field cut.

“Kerewan, in the Republic, Gambia.”

“Wow, you’ve traveled a long way. What do you think of Washington?”

She replies frankly, and I am stunned, “You are brown. I am black. In Kerewan we don’t see skin unless you are exotic; white. In America, I an only a black without a roof. But I am no longer a slave to satisfy men. Now I can smile.”

I suddenly don’t mind my field cut.

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