"You can't sit there. It's my seat." The little white boy stuck his finger out at me and made a face that looked like he was eating dirt. He was only about six and I was seven. The babyish sailor suit his mother had stuffed him into made him look chunky and it seemed like he could barely breathe. She stood over him in her God awful tailored dress and big flouncy hat, chewing a wad of bubblegum. I watched her hand swat his behind. "You don't talk like that. Be forceful. You know you're better than her."
No one had ever talked about me like that. Not even Mama or Daddy's bosses. I fought the tears back. Why would she say that? I hadn't touched a hair on her fat, spoiled son's head. I looked down and noticed how my feet were swinging back and forth off the seat.
"Just get up, girl," the mother finally said. "Let my boy sit down. You know right well he deserves that seat more than you do." The hatred in her eyes and tugging of her hand as she pulled me up and into the aisle of the bus made me realize for the first time what it meant to be colored. It meant I was nothing. Nobody. And those white people could boss me around however they liked. I stared at the son sitting contently in his seat next to his mother. My seat. They had gotten what they wanted. Like always.
Anger boiled up inside of me. Before I could even think straight, I reached over and pinched the boy's cheek. It turned red and as I hopped off the bus and ran for my life, I heard him screaming about the colored diseases I had given him. I didn't care. I liked hearing his cries. It made him sound helpless. I was happy.