I Was There
by Francis

Pete Ross never played the race card and he never would, but sometimes, walking in the halls of Smallville High, he felt like he was alone. Even with Chloe and Clark to his side. It felt like he was swimming against the great swell of a tide.

Of course, he had no reason to complain at all. He was never given a hard time for the color of skin, which is how things should be.

The girls seem to like him a lot. Maybe it was the jock appeal or the purported African-American Male potency, which he didn't get until gym class. Or maybe because he was sort of cute and sort of funny, either way Pete wasn't left out.

Except, of course, when it came to Lana. Pete had always liked Lana, but Lana always seemed to look pass him like he wasn't there, like he was specter, a ghost. That's why he liked going to Talon for coffee.

He'd sit there and Lana would take his order because she always insisted on taking orders by her friends, or friends of her friends. "What'll it be Pete?"

"Lana, you know what I like," he'd say and she'd answer, "Coffee with cream." Then Lana would leave to get his order, but not before that smile. That smile was worth the coffee and the scones and the time he could've spent with girls that did like him. But she wouldn't simply smile, she'd come back and give him his coffee and he'd get a whiff of her perfume, which he could never point out.

Then, she'd thank him and he'd thank her too, and he'd imagine how beautiful their children could be, with skin the color of coffee with cream.


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