I am quite frankly —
Last night, Auguste and Gussie and I decide to go to out for burritos. After an enjoyable meal, because it is a beautiful summer evening, we decide to take our time and walk home. As we walk and talk we comment on how the cool summer breeze is a welcome change from all of the hot and humid weather that we have been experiencing. (New York is horrible when it is hot and humid).
We are enjoying our walk and our conversation. We are happy catching up with each other about the events of our respective days.
As we got closer to home, following our ususal route, we turn to walk down a side street. We pass our dentists office, the beautiful pet boarding facility and we notice that they have finally finished the lobby of the builidng with those new condominiums.
As we approach the park near City Hall, Gussie and I are now a few paces ahead of Auguste when these men in a car open the door and start toward us, mouthing obscene comments. I stop, grab Gussie, confident that Auguste is only a few steps behind us; confident that when they see him their threatening behavior will stop.
As Auguste approaches us, they realize that we belong together and so they back down,
“We didn’t know they were with you”.
Understandably angry, Auguste shouts back at them as we walk away, accurately observing and then satisfyingly identifying them as the “assholes” that they are being.
At this point as a clear and obvious challenge, they start moving to get out of their car as if to indicate that they are preparing for some kind of a show down with a man jsut trying to walk home from a nice dinner with his family.
Auguste, not being one to back down from anything, starts to head back toward the direction of the car. I see my life flash before me as I think –
“This is how those things that your read about in the paper get started. This, right here and right now, could end very badly. I started screaming at Auguste “Come On! Let’s just go! Let’s just get home!”
Too late. He has gone to “that place”. The button has been pushed. The switch has been activated and the sequence, at this point, will need to play itself out. There is not a scream I can deliver, there is not a shout that I can impose that will even be heard by Mr. Auguste Roc when this happens.
With my 11 year old child walking just steps before me, I start talking to God — Out loud!
“Just get us out of here — NOW!!”
As we walk the rest of the way home, we move in silence, adrenaline racing through our veins. I am really resentful –
We were minding our own business. We were enjoying ourselves.
How is it that we have come to a point where a man can’t walk home with his family on a warm summer night in peace?
What would they have done if Auguste were not following close behind?
Was it O.K. in their minds to mess with Gussie and me like that because we were not with a man?
(And they were Black too, so I am extra pissed off.)
Earlier that evening we were walking down crowded Sixth Avenune in the West Village. Gussie is walking just a couple of steps ahead of us. She is talking on the phone to her grandmother when a man, who looks as if he might even be coming from work, like maybe a guy who attends church on Sundays, steps up to her, sizes her up, licks his lips in preparation to speak — seductively, looks up and catches my glare. The wrath of a mother is instantly unleashed —
“What is your problem? She is obviously a child! She’s eleven and this is her father…”
His SICKO was about to meet my PSYCHO!
I too lost my rational common sense to my anger. That protective mother instinct in me clicked in and there was no doubt in my mind that I could, that I would take him down! (That asshole was Black too.)
What in the world has happened?! What the on earth are we doing?!
WHO THE HELL HAVE WE BECOME????!!!!
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