A History of Violence

Night sinks in deep. It’s August 2009; I’m 18 years old, six-foot-nothing, and brown: half-Black, half-Mi’kmaq. I’m eight beers deep, which is nothing for Kent County, New Brunswick, and I’m lost, stumbling through the dark trying to find myself. It’s party weekend on the res, and I’m heading to my cousin Colton’s place, a beat-up single-wide trailer, its front lawn strewn with empty beer bottles and boxes. The wooden steps are falling apart, and the front-door lock is broken, but you can just push the window up if you don’t have a key. Inside, the walls are littered with liquor-fueled punch holes. Where the sound system should be, there’s nothing, the stereo pawned for Colt 45s. The bathroom mirror is cracked and smeared with makeup.

I meet Colton and we hang out, drink a few beers, and get ready to head to a friend’s house for a party. We walk the half-lit res roads, telling war stories about fights and girls. When we get there, we make the rounds, and I feel like I’m telling the same story, answering the same questions, over and over again. Why am I back in Elsipogtog? Where have I been all these years? I tell them about Florida, about St. Augustine, and living there for eight years with my paternal grandparents. And I get the same reply, over and over: “Why the hell would you move back here?” Full story here.

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