The Dark Silhouettes and My Fate

January 23, 2018
By Belis BRONZE, Istanbul, Other
Belis BRONZE, Istanbul, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I did not know what was going on; I was in bed paralyzed with fear when the two silhouette’s barged in. I can still remember the whoosh the door made as it flung open and hit the wall. Crack. I did not know what was going on. My entire body was stricken with fear and confusion and I could not stop trembling. I felt like a deer in headlights; I felt like the same being that I had once made fun of; “How helpless could one possibly be? Why doesn’t it simply move out of the way?”. It was then when I understood the meaning of raw, paralyzing fear. I felt like my heart was about to break open my ribcage, and my brain was short-circuiting with anxious thoughts. I felt the sweat trickling down my spine, making my hair stand on edge. I could not make out the intimidating figures that loomed over me-the lights still hadn’t been turned on. The only thing that prevented the room from being pitch black were orange streaks that streamed through the window. It was the crack of dawn. As they stood there, pointing their harsh light at me, blinding me to the point where I felt like my eyes were about to be burned out of my skull, I caught a glimpse of something gold on one of the silhouette's jackets. They were cops. I knew that they were asking me questions but I was unable to respond, and all I heard was earsplitting white-noise. I had to pinch myself to check if it was a nightmare, but it wasn’t.

All of a sudden, they directed their flashlights towards my husband; he had gotten out of bed the second he heard footsteps in our house. Even though he stood firmly in place, I could see his trembling hand-he did not know what to expect either. He was just as scared and worried as I was. I faintly made out one of the series of questions they asked him, the silhouette on the left side of my once safe room, about what we were doing together in an almost disgusted manner.

?My husband, still on his feet, was trying to process what was going on. When he was unable to reply, the cop started yelling, but even his powerful voice sounded muffled and far away. That’s when everything started unfolding in slow motion. I understood why they were here. I thought I had taken all the necessary precautions-we had not done anything illegal. We had done everything right. Right? My husband kept pointing at our wall and shouting, telling them to look, to see, to understand. The one on the left, the tall and skinny one, asked me who I was, and what I was doing in “his” bed. When I replied with “I am his wife”, I knew what was coming: he scrunched up his nose and looked at both of us in utter shock and complete disapproval.
Why is this legal, why is it acceptable for strangers to barge into our house without a warrant asking for an explanation for something that is quite simple to understand? Why us? I wondered if the same would be “normal” if I had lighter skin. Does my skin color really define me and make it OK for people to treat me differently? Why does it matter if I do not look like my husband? I loved him, was that not enough? But deep down, I knew that they disagreed. For them, love, the simplest thing, something that should be celebrated and not looked down upon, wasn’t enough.

The tall cop grabbed my frail arm, which sent shock waves throughout my body. His hand was cold, very cold. He was holding on so tight that I thought he might break it. Although my brain told, no, commanded, my body to oblige, to shout, kick or do anything for that matter, it was useless; my body and my brain were incoherent. I felt like I was watching the events unfolding before me from a different perspective, I was not in my own body, I was observing my surroundings from a far place, a place where they could not get to us; all of the judgemental looks, racist comments and degrading slurs. A place where I could just be with the man I loved. Then the other cop grabbed onto my husband. He shoved him to get out of our house. A place which we once considered as a safe haven, a place where nothing bad could happen. That’s when I snapped back to reality - I felt like I got whiplash. I was back in my own body, and in the midst of everything. I was in the moment, and suddenly, everything became very real. I became aware of the seriousness of the situation, and hundreds of scenarios started flashing before my eyes; what if something were to happen to my husband? I did not really care about myself, but what if something were to happen to the faint heartbeat I could feel against my spine; my baby? I started feeling dizzy, I felt as if a carpet was pulled from beneath me. I tried to hold onto something, anything, to try and balance myself but it all seemed too far away. Then, I felt like everything I was once sure of, everything that I once knew, or thought I knew, started slowly slipping through my fingers, becoming unclear. That’s when everything went black.

The author's comments:

Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924 (known as an anti-miscegenation law) barred the Lovings from marrying in their home state, so the couple drove north to Washington, D.C. to tie the knot and then returned to their home in Caroline County, Virginia. They'd been married just a few weeks when, in the early morning hours of July 11, 1958, Sheriff Garnett Brooks and a deputy, acting on an anonymous tip that the Lovings were in violation of the law, stormed into the couple's bedroom.
When the sheriff demanded to know who Mildred was to Richard, she offered up the answer: "I'm his wife." When Richard gestured to the couple's marriage certificate hanging on the wall, the sheriff coldly stated the document held no power in their locale. Virginia law, in fact, forbade black and white citizens from marrying outside of the state and then returning to live within the state.
Richard ended up spending a night in jail, with the pregnant Mildred spending several more nights there. The couple eventually pleaded guilty to violating the Virginia law.

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