Eyes abruptly open to the sound of melodious commotion. Unable to distinguish whether the now-blaring noise foreshadows good or evil, she is forced out of bed by this noise. As the noise grows louder it becomes clear this is the result of evil. She has faced danger before. She is a Black girl in America. Though this thought comforts her, knowing she has been through much already, today feels different. This new adversary of her’s is different. She looks out the window to see the havoc it reaps on her world, yet somehow, she can not see “it” itself.
The solution seems clear. If she stays within the confines of her home, keep to herself by never getting too close to another, leave only when necessary and alter her appearance when doing so, she should be ok. The solution seems clear. Encouraging results should be near. Weeks go by and the commotion has not quelled. In fact, this noise has now found speakers loud enough to amplify its screech. She hesitantly grows accustomed to this noise. Perhaps the volume will never go down, she thinks.
The volume has not gone down. Black bodies have been populating the ground with no substantive reasoning. People seem to now care about that. She has always cared, as she has always known it could next be her or someone she loves.
The world’s sudden awareness of the loss of Black lives hurts her more than it helps sometimes. It feels like someone cut her, allowed her to bleed out, let her cut get infected, learned it has become trendy to care, and has now given her gaping wound a small, black, square bandage as a means to make amends. It scares her that she lives in a world in which it seems people must be forced into humanity. At least they have reached humanity, she questions to herself. Perhaps the world’s new found sense of morality will make her feel better about this all? Her invisible adversary still waits for her outside, and she soon learns it has made a habit of targeting Black folks more than any other.
The screech, too, is still there. Sometimes she is able to forget she hears it. By throwing herself into fictitious worlds in which a character’s problems will always be solved by the next commercial break, she can mute the noise, just for a bit. Whatever ounce of hope she may have been able to store away lessens each time she returns to her reality — a reality in which it is once again time for America to flex its democracy.
This arena is not looking well, either. Her fate lies in the hands of two men she is unable to trust. She is unsatisfied with both but understands she must settle for the less wretched of the two. She has no say in the choices that will be made and fears those who are supposed to have a voice will be muted, too.
Her ears are ringing. The deafening noise has gone on for far too long. Whenever she begins to normalize the sound, forget it even, it becomes more piercing the next time it makes itself heard. She is still in a battle with her invisible adversary.
The world’s population, although some refuse to acknowledge it, is in a war with the same foe. As the war continues, Black people are increasingly going six feet under, whether in the name of the law or at the hands of the invisible villain. We as a people still struggle to stay six feet apart, allowing the adversary to attack even more. And still, she knows she has no say until the next time America flexes its “democracy.”
She is scared. Will she reach a point in time where she is no longer powerless? She is scared. 2020 is scary. I am scared.
Featured photo (above) is provided by the author (pictured: the author’s sister).