There were very few people on the streets on a Monday morning in November. Most are working, Jackson thought to himself as he made his way around puddles covered in a thin layer of ice. The wind blew what remained of fall around his feet. The sky was a grey color, covered by clouds, the color of The Ugly Duckling from the childhood story, not the perfect white of all the other ducks and sunny-day clouds. Jackson blew a narrow breath, trying to expel the cold from his body, and watched it vaporize and then swirl into nothing.
His head was down when he heard steps approaching him. A woman was walking his way. Her red coat was tied tight around her to keep out the cold. She was totally covered, save her face, which poked out of matching knit hat and scarf, revealing the deep chocolaty color of her skin. Jackson drew in a breath and began to pull his hand out of his pocket, tugging off his glove with his teeth to expose the swastika tattoo on the top of his hand. As she advanced towards him, he prepared for the routine move; comb his hand through his hair right when she makes eye contact, maintain eye contact until she has passed, make sure she sees the tattoo. He had been doing it for years, just to let the minorities know who was in charge, that white was the color of dominance. This time, however, something stopped him. He slipped his hand back into his pocket. She looked at him. Her eyes were a warm gold, and her cheeks sprayed with orange freckles that glowed like candles on her dark face. Jackson almost stopped walking and couldn’t stop staring. Her dark hair was cascading out of her hat in loose curls. She smiled at him and waved, a tiny little wave that could be missed if you weren’t looking. His smile was goofy and awkward, like a dog drooling over the food that was just out of his reach.
Once alone again, Jackson shook himself out, trying to snap back to what he knew. Something came over me, she is not really black, that time was different, my hand was cold, Jackson said to himself, reassuring his mind that he was still the Neo-Nazi that his heart didn’t seem to want to be anymore. But, there was nothing different about that woman, she was just like all the other blacks, Jews, Asians, and Hispanics that he had stuck his nose up at over the years. Maybe, he was just beginning to see things differently.