Sitting on the steps of my porch this evening, I watched 5 black boys walk by in a group
Talking, laughing, backpacks and headphones
They sounded young but looked tall.
They looked like men.
I watched them talk and joke, roast
How did these boys meet and become friends?
Who in the group is the funny one, who is the smart one, the creative one?
Which one is the leader?
Where are they going? Will they make it there alive?
Will they make it home alive?
Do their mothers know they are walking alone?
Did she tell them they are a target, tell them not to make jokes – not to wear their favorite hooded jacket?
Did she say: Don’t put your hands in your pockets! Don’t run! Don’t yell!
My reminders to my son will be simple ones like:
Don’t forget your raincoat!
Or your homework folder!
Normal kid stuff.
I think my sons’ challenges will have more to do with his Hebrew name.
His peers most likely Christian with names like John and Sam.
He might have inherited my short stalky body.
What will I say when he loses a friend who was just riding in a car, laughing, roasting?Will I say it straight – explain to him than some people kill things they are afraid of without a second thought, and that after that destruction they ask for sympathy, insisting it was deserved?
I think my fears about my son’s future are laughable and naïve and he is privileged.
I hear the boys laugh loudly, one of them chases their friend into the street, yelling and teasing. Normal kid stuff.
Will I learn about one of the boys, his name in my newsfeed as a victim? A hashtag?
Will I learn whether he was the funny one or the smart one posthumously?