turn away from sin or do penitence
He always has it on the Friday of spring break because you need Saturday to recover and Sunday to
something a little different from others of the same type
If I’d known following her to this party meant she’d be on some Extreme Makeover: Starr
Edition mess, I would’ve stayed home and watched Fresh Prince reruns.
be in an agitated emotional state
“Ooh! I can’t stand her,” Kenya
hurt the feelings of
She has the nerve to look
offended. “It ain’t like you had nothing else to do! Or anybody else to hang out with."
displaying incongruity between what is expected and what is
As long as I play it cool and keep to myself, I should be fine. The
ironic thing is though, at Williamson I don’t have to “play it cool”—I’m cool by default because I’m one of the only black kids there.
a personal facade that one presents to the world
He smiles at me, and his dimples ruin any G
persona he has.
a prediction uttered under divine inspiration
“She’ll be a’ight.”
It’s a prayer more than a
look with amazement
gape at him. “Leave my husband alone!”
draw back, as with fear, pain, or embarrassment
He scrubs the shoes with his napkin. I
cringe. With each hard rub, the shoes cry for my help.
not suitable or right or appropriate
No lie, every time a sneaker is cleaned improperly, a kitten dies.
a disorderly outburst or tumult
commotion stirs in the middle of the dance floor. Voices argue louder than the music.
the region that is inside of something
Khalil’s Impala is nice. Not all flashy like some guys’ cars. I didn’t see any rims before I got in, and the front seat has cracks in the leather. But the
interior is a tacky lime green, so it’s been customized at some point.
the geographical area under the jurisdiction of a state
Garden Heights has been a battlefield for the past two months over some stupid
relating to the investigation of existence and knowledge
He points at me, which means he’s about to go into one of his Khalil
having a bearing on or connection with the subject at issue
“See? Told you he was
the smallest possible quantity
“I don’t need help from nobody, okay? And that li’l minimum-wage job your pops gave me didn’t make nothing happen. I got tired of choosing between lights and food.”
to compel or deter by or as if by threats
Instead, my big brother’s all-caps texts appear on the screen. I don’t know why he does that. He probably thinks it
intimidates me. Really, it annoys the hell out of me.
solicitously caring or mindful
The only thing worse than
protective parents is
protective older brothers.
capable of being seen or open to easy view
“Starr-Starr, you do whatever they tell you to do,” he said. “Keep your hands
visible. Don’t make any sudden moves. Only speak when they speak to you.”
approaches the driver’s door and taps the window.
a document certifying an act of recording
registration, and proof of insurance.”
an emblem that signifies your status
My heart pounds loudly, but Daddy’s instructions echo in my head: Get a good look at the cop's face. If you can remember his
badge number, that's even better.
cause or allow to run or flow from a container
Khalil’s body jerks. Blood
splatters from his back. He holds on to the door to keep himself upright.
inborn pattern of behavior often responsive to stimuli
Instinct says don’t move, but everything else says check on Khalil.
something shown to the public
They leave Khalil’s body in the street like it’s an
exhibit. Police cars and ambulances flash all along Carnation Street. People stand off to the side, trying to see what happened.
rummage through Khalil’s car.
a building or room where dead bodies are kept before burial
I’m lying in bed. Khalil is lying in the county
easily broken or damaged or destroyed
It’s like a “
Fragile” sticker’s on my forehead, and instead of taking a chance and saying something that might break me, they’d rather say nothing at all.
declaration of an intention to inflict harm on another
“Besides the cop, I’m the only person who was there. And you’ve seen stuff like this. It ends up on national news. People get death
threats, cops target them, all kinds of stuff.”
a formal request that something be submitted to an authority
I’ve seen it happen over and over again: a black person gets killed just for being black, and all hell breaks loose. I’ve tweeted RIP hashtags, reblogged pictures on Tumblr, and signed every
petition out there. I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down.
connected by participation or association or use
Between a story about a bad car accident on the freeway and a garbage bag of live puppies that was found in a park, there’s a short story about an officer-involved shooting that is being investigated. They don’t even say Khalil’s name.
conduct an inquiry of
“We have to
investigate, Lisa,” says a second voice.
defend, explain, or make excuses for by reasoning
“You mean y’all wanna
justify what that pig did,” Daddy says.
unavoidably determined by prior circumstances
“And it wasn’t
necessary for that cop to pull the trigger,” says Daddy.
judgment involved in the assignment of reward and punishment
“Oh, we know the truth, that’s not what we want,” says Daddy. “We want
extreme distress of body or mind
But as I hold Khalil’s grandma’s hand, I see the
anguish in her eyes.
a complex or critical or unusual difficulty
Help my baby girl get through her
situation, Lord. Give her peace of mind, and help her speak her truth this afternoon.
a single distinct event
I’ve barely looked at my phone since Khalil got. . . since the
assert or affirm strongly
Her red eyes remind me of what Khalil said when we were little, that his momma had turned into a dragon. He
claimed that one day he’d become a knight and turn her back.
in spite of everything
When she looks at me through the red haze, Khalil’s eyes stare back at me, and I realize my mom’s right. Ms. Brenda is Khalil’s momma.