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People fear natural disasters and health pandemics. Does it make sense to fear the flu? Something you can't see. Something you wouldn't touch. Nothing compares to the bitterness of losing someone you love to things you cannot see. Who will you run to if flu befalls your household like a vagabond and takes your children and wife with it? When you are bitter to the point, your saliva turns to venom. Where will you channel this anger? I have never considered vengeance, but how would I shoot down the flu if I did? How would I unleash the big guns?
It is in the afternoon. I am reading All American Boys by Reynolds Jason. The vivid description hits me like a stray bullet. I am almost getting to know Rashad Butler, the protagonist, when I overhear a squash near our backyard. My neighbor Quinn is arguing with his brother mark over who killed his brother Collins over a dice game. I struggle to follow up with Reynold's book as he takes me through what Rashad's neighborhood perceives of his people when suddenly shots go off. The sound of the gunshots reaps my heart apart. The sound ricochets through my ears as I exit through the gate to the road. I cannot let the police officers find me close to the crime scene. My skin color will make me a convict even before I set foot in a court of law.
When I was young, Quinn's mother and mine told us about our bright future. She told me I could make the American dream come true. I grew up knowing that the rain of success would shower on all of us. The tall and the short, the high and the low. But these were just thoughts. Most of my father's friends had not made it past twenty-five years. The dungeon was only an arrest away. By the time puberty ended, It was clear I had to work twice as hard to attain the American dream.
Sometimes, I lay in my small cradle, wishing I could talk with the gun. At least it had a murder career. Was there a way I could talk it into backfiring or making a decision after the killer made theirs? Even the governor rules under a particular jurisdiction. The Black Lives Matter movement was not doing enough for me. All lives mattered, but the line between love and hate was inherently thin. The resource was scarce when you looked a certain way. The sacrifice to chant for and live by institutionalized racism was inevitable.
In the evening, I resolved. To treat life like a basketball game. The gun kept clapping and drowning close one down a bottomless abyss. The bullet won't care if you have a heart of gold. Yet right and wrong is something everybody knows.