“Ima, feel how soft my hair is.”
How many times have we said/heard our girl friends say this?
“Ima my hair is so smooth today, I used extra conditioner.”
She has thick hair and it gets knotty; I tell her to use double.
“Ima, <boy friend> is going to love it…”
“He tells me he likes it when my hair is smooth.”
They’re just innocent six-year-olds. Everyone loves smooth hair.
“He is definitely going to want to be my friend today.”
I stop her dead in her little girl tracks. I call for her to come back. Her brother is standing next to me, wondering what is about to happen. She skips back towards me. I bend down, so we’re eye level, and I take her face close to mine.
“Listen to me: no one is your real friend because your hair is smooth or because they like your clothes or because of how you look. Your real friends love you because of the kind of friend you are. <Boy friend> loves you because you are a good friend. Otherwise, you are not real friends.”
She smiles and nods and I tell her to go have fun, and she bounds onward toward the path to her kindergarten.
Her brother looks back at me. I look at him.
“That was important,” I tell him.
I should have said, “for you too.”