“This is the story of a girl…” —Nine Days

This is a story in which absolutely nothing happens.

Earlier this week, I was driving home after dropping my sister off at school and I parked the truck on the side of a road and turned it off so I could play Pokemon—the reason isn’t that important. A minute later, a police car comes driving down the street, slows as it passes me, and then parks along the side of the road, maybe fifty feet in front of me.

As soon as I saw the police car, I froze. I sat very still and panicked, then forced myself to take a deep breath and continue what I was doing. Then, a few minutes later, after I had taken over a gym, I carefully put my phone down, made sure my seat belt was on, turned on the car, put on my turn signal, pulled into the road, drove—slowly—down the street, signaled a right turn, stopped at the sign, and saw the police car make a u-turn and drive away as I turned onto another street.

This is a story in which nothing happened.
This. Is a story. In which nothing. Happened.

N o t h i n g  h a p p e n e d, and yet, the whole time I was driving in view of that officer, and even the rest of the way home, I felt nervous. I drove more cautiously than I usually do (and I am already a pretty cautious driver). I kept checking my rear view mirror for police lights. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I wasn’t being loud or bothering anyone. I can’t even be sure that the officer saw me or cared that I was there. For all I know, he/she was playing Pokemon, too. For all I know, he/she took a wrong turn and parked on that street to look up directions or take a phone call or appreciate the stillness of a quiet morning.

This is a story in which nothing happened.

But when I saw that police officer, my first reaction was fear, and that bothers me. Over and over again I see people who look like me in the news, harassed and killed for merely existing, and the thought that I could become one of those people scares me. The color of my skin doesn’t matter, shouldn’t matter…

Nothing happened, and yet…

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