The sky was blue. The breeze, a gentle kiss from the sun.
It was four days after George Floyd perished, a black man handcuffed for reasons still unknown and without any display of resistance. His life squeezed out into the pavement under the knee and the full weight of a scrawny bullshit of a white man who bullied his way through life with a badge and a uniform, posing as a police officer but exhibiting absolutely none of the commitment to serve and protect.
This week has been hard. From the 100,000+ dead within three months on the Memorial Day holiday and from the coronavirus that has torn through the globe and the United States in particular – because the delusion here is that this country is “so great” nothing can harm it. The delusion here has consumed any sense of reason and humility in the face of nature, let alone God or any other being of a higher order than the fucked up human race on Planet Stupid.
And then the horror of what happened to George Floyd.
I spent the Memorial Day weekend and the fire of the ensuing week bent over in a split second, hobbled by grief. I thought I was only taking a visual stroll through the refrigerator in hunt of a bottled water, but no. My knees gave way. I hung on for life to that refrigerator door and in a split second found a crack in the universe between the vegetable crisper and the door, and there, held onto my stomach and sobbed.
By Friday I managed a walk. Along the path of what had been a forest preserve but what had since, over the years, become a exurban expanse of oversized houses with oversized yards and oversized trees and an oversized sun baring the oversized insanity of our world to bare – on that path and on that walk, I crossed strides with a middle-aged man of color. My heart shook inside as we approached each other. I swear his gaze at me wondered “will she call the cops?” And I know my gaze at him screamed to find a way to say “I am so sorry. I am so very very sorry for how this country is. I am so very very sorry for how this world is. I don’t know the full extent of your pain. I do know I feel this pain. And I do know that being white and feeling pain isn’t enough. And I don’t know how to say any of this to you even though my heart screams to.”
And we approached. And I know he wondered what to do. He kept his gaze down. And my heart broke. And I walked on the grass, to be socially distant because of a global pandemic ripping through the fragility of all that is truly each and every one of our lives. How painfully ironic. How heartbreakingly cruel. To be socially distant just four days after the awful awful awful murder of George Floyd at the knee of a white ass coward.
All I could do was try to explain.
“Good morning,” I said in as friendly a way as I could when what I really wanted to do was run up to this stranger and hug him and sob.
His voice was strong and open. And I was amazed. His voice welcomed the possibility of friendliness. I mean. That *friendliness* could be such a miracle…
Friendliness could be such an act of divinity and grace…
I nearly stumbled in the grass, crushed by how very far all of us in the human race have fallen.
“Good morning,” his warm voice, welcoming of kindness, replied.
Tears layered on themselves in my throat. I shook my head, held my arms open wide, felt my heart breaking. All I could say was, “I hope you are well. Global pandemic and all the craziness in the world, and all.”
He laughed warmly and seemed to hold me up with his attitude when it should have been the other way around. And he said, “yeah.” As if to say, “I hear you.”
Oh my word. I hope I see him again. I will ask him for a moment. I will tell him directly how sorry I am that the world has been so awful and is so awful. I will tell him directly that the many of us who are so revolted by what has happened are standing with him. And will stand with him.
We must make a change.
We must be better than this.