“If you come back into this house without those groceries, I’ll whip you!” I said, slamming the door in his face and latching the lock. My hand stung from the slap I had delivered not thirty seconds before, and my vision started to blur as the moisture threatened to spill over onto my cheeks. I sat down at the table nearby, trying to stop my legs from shaking. Had I really just sent my hurt son out into the streets to beat a gang of boys? What if they killed him? I put my head in my weathered hands and rubbed my temples. I shouldn’t have sent him back out there, I thought. Image after image popped into my head. My son, the boy brutally beating a gang of boys. My son, a fist connecting with his temple: the last fatal blow. My son, the boy being dragged into an alley and molested. I couldn’t take it anymore. I stood up abruptly, the room swimming in front of me from exhaustion and worry. I was almost out the door before I stopped myself. He needed to have the skills to survive. Closing my eyes, I leaned my head against the door, praying to the god I no longer believed in that he would come home safely.
Surviving in Memphis
January 3, 2012