Malik Bukaii

Seemingly from infancy I’ve possessed the ability to communicate with those around me.  I’m told that speaking was a talent that I mastered, then polished before I was able to walk fully upright.  While some may think communicating superbly with adults at such a young age would be a revered trait, however those elders who were in my midst those many years ago reluctantly and begrudgingly embraced my spry talent to speak and understand english so young.  Recalling a moment in the 1980s, whereas a small dinner party spontaneously actualized from the arrival of several impromptu guests represented for me the moment my talent to understand communicate resonated.  Prior to their arrival my mother and I were alone in our warm new york city apartment.  I can still recollect the visitors shaking snow from their shoes and coats at the door way as I wrapped my arms around my mother’s leg as she greeted each guest.  One visitor’s coat brushed against my cheek as he disrobed, leaving a vaguely familiar scent of cigarette smoke and damp wool on my skin.  The group chatted as I played near by.  Forks and knives clanged against each other as the group conferred.  One knee of my corduroy overalls was worn thin, as this was the knee I favored as I mostly crawled about the apartment pushing my favorite yellow metal Tonka dump truck across the wooden floor.  My mother glanced toward me from time to time, thereby creating moments when I was the subject of the conversation.  I recall while writing this the very moment when at least three of the visitors looked down toward the floor in my direction, and the inadequacy I felt just then.  What makes this particular moment so visceral for me was a the moment when the damp wool, cigarette smoke pungent man said “So malik’s d.a.d.d.y ain’t coming back”?

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