The Last Unicorn, The Last of the Mohicans, The Last Samurai… I’ve always had an affinity for characters that feel the existential loneliness that comes from being the only one of their kind. Maybe that is because feeling like an outsider or the “other” is a part of the human condition or maybe it’s because I’m a black girl in New Hampshire.
I didn’t think much about how racially homogenous New Hampshire was when I first moved here over a decade ago. It was about two years into the, “Live free or die” life that I found myself doing a hard double take at another black person while they were shopping for groceries at my local supermarket. The reaction I had would have been more appropriate for some mythical creature like the Easter Bunny, a yeti, or Bjork. It struck me that people might have the same reaction when they saw me. My response bothered me enough that I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands. I would go on an epic quest to find others out there like myself, damn it. I was going to start a support group for black women in New Hampshire.
Honestly, I had no clear vision for this group. I just figured the four of us could get together and talk about frost heaves and maple syrup… I also hadn’t worked out my pitch, “Hey, you’re black, I’m black… What the hell are we doing here?! Am I right?! Lets be friends.”
My next dilemma was in trying to locate these elusive members. My first inclination was to stake out the black hair care section of a nearby pharmacy but, I figured, there is only so much time store employees can dedicate to monitoring one black shoplifter. So, I did what any intelligent, resourceful, innovative, person would do. I googled, “Black Women NH”. Now, I have googled, “The history of silly putty” and come up with pages and pages of results. But apparently, finding black chicks in the Granite State brings you to the very outer reaches of the interwebs. The results didn’t even fill the screen! I was shocked. There wasn’t even porn. Not even “Hot Ebony Libertarians”! Just an image of a female black bear and some tumbleweed.
To date, my group membership is still one. I’ve made myself content with rare sightings. I try and establish a connection by doing the Un-New- Englandy thing of making eye contact with my brown brothers and sisters. There is an unspoken bond between us. I savor that moment when we do the, “Here we are, pioneers, keeping MLK’s dream alive” look. There is a chance I’m confusing that look with the, “What the fuck are you looking at?” look but since there are no words exchanged, I give myself permission to indulge in this romantic projection. Incase other potential members are out there and read this; I’m open to discussing mud season and black flies. Holler at your girl.