Details about event


It’s easy for you to sit and make judgments about me, isn’t it? It’s easy for you to tell me what is right and wrong with my life and how to change it. Isn’t it? It’s oh so easy to understand what the other guy is going through when it isn’t you. When you don’t have to suffer the pain and sorrow that is hanging over your brother’s head it’s easy for you to say ‘I understand.’ It’s easy when you have no knowledge whatsoever of the plight that one suffers when someone dies, or something is lost that was cherished. I don’t know where you get off with this belief. This feeling that you’re right and I’m wrong. Where do you get the nerve and courage to stand before me and my God and say that you know it all, you’ve seen it all, and you are the all. You couldn’t have been born with it. It wasn’t something that you brought. It must be something that you were taught somewhere down the line in your life. Somewhere that is make-believe, not of the real world that I live in. Do you live in this world? In my world?

This is a story, like other stories. It’s been told thousands of times over and over, and yet, it’s never been told because it’s never been read the way you’re going to read it now. Yes, you. You are going to put your mind on blank and forget all that you know or think you know. All that you’ve seen or thought you’ve seen. All that you’ve dreamed and forgot you’ve dreamed. And when you’re done, I dare you to tell me that you know it all, that you know what is right or wrong, that you understand what the other guy is going through, when it isn’t you.


Chapter 1


It was like no other day in my life. It was almost as if I knew the moment that I opened my eyes that morning that there was going to be a change coming in my life. It was a day that showed promise of something like a bowling ball rolling down the lane towards the twelve pins, whose job it was to stand there and take whatever the ball gave it. It was that kind of day that would take several balls to knock it down before it was over. It was the beginning of the end of many days in my life. I would end this day with stains of blood on my hands. Stains of life on my soul and heart, stains of sorrow and pain like no other known or would be known by me in my lifetime. The wrong color of stain on my hands caused me pain.

The wrong gender of blood on my soul caused me sorrow and shame. I had made decisions based on a hidden figure under layers of clothing, extra-large, to cover petite bones. I had smelt the smell, the overpowering stench of death pouring from its pores, heard the crackled laugh from deep in the back of throats, roaring from the open mouth of the person who kills in joy, to heal and cover their own shitty aroma of fear and anger that engulfs their life.

I was planning on cutting school that day. I had told my mother that I needed a note so that I could leave early to go to the dentist. My tooth hurt all night long and she said she would call the dentist for me in the morning if it didn’t feel better. It didn’t. I knew that I could get my sister Jean and another home girl to cut with me. They did everything I told them to do. I was the only one who showed them any attention. Nobody liked me, and nobody liked them either.

They didn’t mean squat to me, but I was in need of flunkies like any other kid in the projects of Poindexter Village. In our village we were mostly protected by the Elders who had nothing better to do then to sit near their windows so they could spy on us kids and report any bad behavior to our parents when they returned home from work. See, it was called the projects where we lived because we were Black, and the housing was funded through government money. It didn’t matter that the people who lived in this village, kept up the property, worked for a living to pay their rent, and treated each other, for the most part, with dignity and respect. No that didn’t matter, we were Black and therefore we must be suppressed into believing that we were poor; and thus, the term projects emerged to also label us as poor to others.

Being a loner, it was really hard for me to want to get involved in someone’s else’s business, especially someone like my home girls. My grandmother used to say, “Sara Brady, you better stop being alone so much. I ain’t always gonna be here. Them girls is not such a bad lot when you get to know them better.” The problem was grandma; I didn’t want to get to know them any better than I had in the ten years I had lived in the projects. No, I knew just about all I needed to know, and that was that they were good for hanging around with when I needed them to do something for or with me. Nothing more.

There was one friend in the bunch that I was sort of close to. Her name was Annie Carter. Annie was a good girl. She was also very pretty. Her eyes were hazel and sparkled with the sun as if the joys of the earth were within them. Her smile was wide, showing teeth that were long towers of white ivory that gleamed with every smile.

When I first met her, she was sitting on a park bench at Franklin Park alone, listening to one of the local music bands playing at a weekend concert. Franklin Park was across the street from East High School, all the kids were Black, with a Black Brother as the principal, Mr. Willis, and another Black brother man, Mr. Simpson, as the vice-principal. Families used to go to the park for holidays until people started meeting there for important community rallies and Civil Rights Protests in the sixties and seventies. On the weekends, it was the Black teenage place to be. It was lover’s lane under the many trees and moonlit stars for lovers, listening to WVKO AM radio and Blue Monday on their portable radios.

Annie’s head was thrown backwards towards the sun as she smiled and rocked her lean body to the Reggae music. She was sitting crossed legged with her eyes closed. Her hair was reddish brown and curly. Curls blew around her hairline as the wind blew. Her eyes opened and scanned the area around them. She couldn’t see me yet because I had come up on the backside of her and hadn’t yet made my presence known. 

I looked around also. The Saturday afternoon light gave a clear view. The grass was still green, although the tree leaves had begun to turn slightly brown and orange. The fall was approaching by leaps and bounds across the city’s homeland. Leaping over lawn areas leaving reddish gold tones mixed with green that were still clinging on to its sense of needing to remain. Leaping higher still over treetops leaving them bare and defenseless against the upcoming cold bitter winter months that sometimes hit Columbus, Ohio. Sometimes, it seems to me that you can never really protect yourself from the plans that God has for your life. Just like the trees, no matter how many years their roots have been planted in the ground, when winter comes, their leaves will die.

As I watched Annie, I wondered if we were looking at the same thing or were, we just two people in the same area of space that belongs to one of us and yet each of us, together, as we look through our own eyes towards that which we see as the truth and the real illusion that makes each of us different. Each of us, a whole person. Each of us with individual values, attitudes, opinions, feelings, passions, fears, pain, and all the things that make each of us real. I see things as they are. What did Annie see?

I knew it was unfair of me to watch another human being as I was watching Annie. I was looking beyond her outer self and attempting to see her inner self. Her past and her future, her joys, sorrows, and pain. This was stealing from her that which she was not asked to give. I watched her for another minute or two. Then coughed, so that she became aware of my presence. Annie looked at me with a smile as if she had known I was watching her and asked me my name. At first, this took me by surprise because she hadn’t given any indication that she knew I was behind her, none at all. I was the one that put others on the defense, not the other way around. This unexpected act was unacceptable and caused me to pause for a full minute, to establish who was in control here, me, before I answered her. Annie laughed under her breath, not in a mean way, but a ‘I see’ way, and motioned with her right hand for me to come sit down beside her. I accepted the invitation.

I’m not sure why we became friends, but I know it happened sometime during that time in the park. Annie was the first person I had met who didn’t seem to mind that I sometimes took a while to get my sentences clear. I always had this problem of expressing myself orally. This problem also stemmed over into my written communication. However, today, I seemed to be able to speak more clearly with Annie. The words flowed fluently from my mouth as if I were another person. Someone who didn’t choke on the words they were trying to utter in desperation to be heard clearly. She was attentive to what I was saying, hanging on my every word, nodding as if she understood and agreed with me. You ever found yourself in a place not being able to express how we feel about things that seem trivial to others but can and do change the course of our life. If you’re like me, you stop talking. To others that is, but you continue to hold this dialogue in your head, with yourself. The only problem with that is that all of the answers and possible solutions to your questions or concerns are yours. Annie was showing me more attention and acceptance than anyone ever had Is it any wonder that she captured my very essence?