I Shall Rise

Billy-Ray and I lived just outside Sylvan, South Carolina, and population 3,100. Peach stands and Baptist churches, that sums it up. The long hot southern days really being to take a toll on you after awhile, you know with not a lot of city life surrounding us, mostly just farm lands and woods. We never really looked for anything else in life. We always figured we were to simply grow up, get married, have some kids, and die; we are nothing more than pawns to keep the race going.
Days eventually just ran into each other, with us never knowing what time it was. Either light or dark, that’s all that matters. It’s like living and endless summer us just dropping out of high school and all. Not doing a thing all day except sitting by the lake, fishing, getting drunk and burning joint after joint.
“Jeez Billy-Ray stop hoggin’ all the good stuff!” I crowed
“Well if you would actually help steal some maybe next time I will.” Billy-Ray quickly snapped back
“You know for someone high as you I’d never expect you to even move an arm to pass it this side anyhow.” I chirped vigorously
Me and Billy-Ray had an unspoken bond. We were never to out in the open about it cause we didn’t want people to think we were gays or nothing. Now I’m not no homophobe but we can’t have everyone in our town thinking we are like that.
The prejudice in the south has barely changed since the turn of the century. The blacks in our town were hazed ridiculously, same for the gays, Latino, or the few Asians we actually possessed. I tried my hardest to be the good guy but if I ever disrespected my family in public by being nice to a non-white in public my Father would have my junk on his mantle piece.
Having a father that heads the Ku Klux Klan chapter of your town or city isn’t something most kids would want growing up. I am no exception. All I want is a normal life, to be friends with everyone and not have to hide my opinions or feelings from my surrounding peers.
The thought of being my own man is something that rages through my mind every waking second of my endless days. I call out hoping to find an answer as to who I really am, but every night I go back and am forced to do the same malicious things. Things I am forced to do, or face the serious consequences.
I’m viewed as a prince here. All the people that follow my father think I am going to be the next big thing to take them to the next level to finally rid the country of all minorities. Little do they know I haven’t even began to mark my body with the disgusting swastika that plagues my entire house. It is the ugliest symbol I have ever seen, yet I was placed to represent it.
The biggest gathering of the year was coming up in a few nights. Billy-Ray and I were preparing as we always do. Sitting around getting lifted, drinking whiskey, and regretting becoming the monsters we truly are. To beat, or haze, any man just cause of his skin color ain’t right. It just couldn’t be what God really wants us to do. But what else can we do? If we leave we are dead, if we speak out we are dead, and if we stay then we are no better than the ones who actually believe this s***.
The day of the meeting came. Billy-Ray and I were sitting by the old lake doing as we always have before. The same old routine, nothing ever changes in this s*** heap of a town. I just can’t take it no more.
“Billy? You ever think it’s time for a change?” I solemnly questioned
“Honestly, yea I have…but what do you think we should do partner?” Billy fired back as if already thinking about it.
“Well I think I’m just gonna have to make a statement, there is no way out of here alive for me Billy-Ray. No way in hell.”
I stood up and began walking through the roughly displaced brush to find the path to take me back to the real world. All that I could think of was, should be my final walk to the lake? Should this be my final gathering? Should I put an end to it now?
I went into the house, Father preparing his gleaming white robe and sparkling bleached mask.
“Be there at 8 o’clock sharp tonight you hear me boy?” Father exhorted with the brute force of his voice.
“Yes Father. This will be a glorious night to always remember!” I said with a great deal of passion in my voice.
I had made my decision on my long walk home. I took the time to think about everything. The changes I wanted to make. The points I wanted to get across. I finally figured out the perfect way to do it.
I showed up to the gathering at 8 o’clock sharp just like father had asked of me. The drunken hoard of angry white Protestants was over whelming. I proceeded to walk to the center of the gathering where my Father had began his hate mongering. I looked up at him smiled and reached into my waist band.
I pulled out my Fathers diary that I had stolen earlier that day when he had left for the gathering. I began to read an excerpt from July 18, 1975. It stated that my Father had an affair on my Mother with a black woman. The crowd began to bellow the most awful obscenities I had ever heard before. My father was chased out of the gathering like a dog with its tail between its legs. I think I got my point across to him and the town to an extent.
While there will always be hate, for a real reason or not, there is always flaws to the system. Always something that has been misplaced by time. I feel like pointing my father out as a fraud gave hope that there would be a new dawn of reckoning in my town. Maybe without the fearless leader everything will crumble around them. Only time will tell.





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