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25 to Life: A Character Monologue

My name is Jeffrey, and I hope I don’t make it to 25. Bold, right? Yeah, I know. But I always told myself that at 25 years old that that was the year things would change for me. The year I get married and have kids. The year I would travel the world. But all of that doesn’t seem possible now. Why? Because I am a black man, and I am hurting. You know, not a lot of people have an idea what it’s like being a black male in today’s world. I can’t simply because it’d be pages long, but I’ll shorten it. You see, I am a monster to most people that never met me. I walk down a white neighborhood, and I get looks from whites like I’m a bad person or something, like I’m going to rob them or kill them or rape them or kidnap their children. They clutch their bags and tell their children to walk on the other side and away from me. The truth is that it hurts more than one could ever know. I tried everything to make them stop giving me looks like I’m not human, but nothing works – anime tees, hands by my sides – nothing. For this very fact, I wish to marry a light-skinned woman so my son can be light like them and not get those looks. And I know what you’re thinking, and yes, it is true – I’m a bum.

I’ve hurt people in my past that I can’t forgive myself for. I emotionally abused a girl I loved because I couldn’t control my anger and sadness. That was 7 years, by the way – just in case you wanted to know. But enough of that story.

I feel alone most days, especially now that I’m at some fancy college. Maybe it’s cause I’m much older than most of my classmates – I don’t know. Maybe it’s the pressure I feel from those around me to succeed. I mean, I’m not as smart as others, especially those who start out of high school, and I’m only good at math – so there’s that. I try talking to people, but most times, it fails. Maybe I’m too open, or maybe I’m just a bum… I can’t decide. But I don’t want to feel like a bother to others, so maybe that’s why.

I have let God down more times than I can count, and I know God forgives me for my sins, but I can’t forgive myself.

I wish I didn’t have this pressure on me. Here I stand at 24 years old and three freshly minted quarters, and 25 doesn’t seem all too appealing to me. It’s just another year knowing that I failed and that my blackness makes people uncomfortable and that I won’t find the love of my life and that I am a disappointment and that I’m letting others around me down and that I’m a bum – emphasis on the bum part. But hey, at least I got career aspirations, right?

I want to live, trust me, but I just wish time would stop and allow me to experience life just this once and not be a bum while doing it – emphasis on the bum part.

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