There are three generations in a room. The room is white. The people are white. The food is white. The first generation has rippled skin, says the third generation.
What is wrong with rippled skin? says the second generation.
It’s gross, says the third.
The second generation has rippled (wrinkled) skin and tattooed skin. The second generation has undeclared skin and skin that has been re-declared. The second generation has skin that they try to tear apart on a daily basis and skin they try to tend to. It is a daily struggle.
Why do you have so many scars, asks the third generation to the second.
Because I have lived, the second replies. But what they do not add is that each scar is from a different war within the body and mind. Some truths are not able to be told until. Until. When?
The first generation watches the third generation play. They do not play with imagination and paper. Their play is made up of wires and screens.
I can only concentrate on one thing at a time, says the second generation to the third. Can we unplug, at least while we eat breakfast? At least while we complete our sentences?
The third generation does not know what this means.
The second generation understands all about the ripples, the thinning of pockets and hair, the fear of government as rights are removed or excluded. They do not have extra food in their pantry. They cannot afford to throw that meat away.
The third generation wears t-shirts advertising liberalism and feminism and gay rights and trans rights and human rights and Black lives mattering, but when you ask them a question: What does dissent mean? They ask Google.
Cotton and flags have become the new voice of the movement.
The second generation listens to the stories reiterated by the first generation. They need to remember so that no one forgets.
The third generation wants to play with other third generations while the second and first watches.
This is youth, the first generation says. They can request what they want and the second generation will give it to them.
There will be a time, though, says the first generation, that they, too will run out. And we will be gone. And they will have the ripples and empty pockets they never thought would come to them. The outlets will be stuffed by the dissenters, and they will have no way to understand the answers. They will not know how to approach paper, because all they know are screens. The first generation will be just a page in their photo albums, if they ever get around to making one. The second generation will be lost somewhere in the woods, hoping to escape all the wires. And the third generation will become someone else’s first, ignored for lack of relevance, ignored for too many ripples, ignored for not enough incentives in their pockets.