Storytime Sunday – “The Shot Heard Round the World” – Non-Fiction.

I had prepared for your reading pleasure, a short about the Lillith. However, in light of the jury’s decision of Not Guilty for Zimmerman I have a really, REALLY short story to tell you.

My mother and father worked odd hours, and sometimes whole days, and sometimes, even, whole weekends when I was a small child. This called for me to spend a great amount of those years at my Aunt’s home, which was full of children so I, the ever lonely only child, didn’t complain. My cousins then became like my brothers and sisters. And for all intents and purposes I will refer to them as such.

Deon and Fay were my oldest boy cousins. They’d discipline me as if they were extended hands of my father. If there were girls who got caught in the company of boys, doing a little thing we used to call hunching, Fay and Deon would locate me on the playground, make sure I wasn’t one of those kids and then spanked me, to make sure I would NEVER be one of those kids. I’d sneak into their room with their little brother, Larry and we’d play Mario or go through their things (which I can only now safely admit).

The girls, Nicole, Toynell, LaShonda, Robin taught me how to dress myself, tie my shoes, speak up for myself, count the change I got from the man at the corner store, taught me that change could be dollar bills, too, not just coins and they taught me to be a lady. To not curse, to close my legs, and to not give a worthless boy the time of day.

These are the people who really raised me. But this was a time not meant to last. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew swept through Miami, in particular Southwest Dade County, where I’m from. There was nothing left, in our family, maybe one or two homes were safe for dwelling. We had to separate, and I lost daily contact with my cousins forever.

But months later, to my extreme happiness, Deon was coming to live with my parents and I in our new apartment, 20 minutes north of where  most of our family was now settling. I was excited to have him near. He was the coolest and most annoying big brother a girl could ask for. He’d never let me do anything alone if he could prevent it when he was home: play a game, watch a television show, or eat chips, he always stole my chips. He even listened as I talked about my favorite books, and convinced me that he actually cared about Dawn and Kristi’s problems within the Babysitter’s club. When his girlfriend came over, he didn’t shoo me away he allowed me to sit on the couch with them. And when I was scared to fall asleep, he’d sit with me and my Grandmother eating Reeses chocolates and watching shows my parent’s didn’t allow me to watch like In Living Color or Martin.

This didn’t last long either.

One night, Deon was out partying and my mother and I were in the living room watching television. My grandmother and father were both sleeping. There was a sound I’d heard before, but never here, not where we’d moved to, not with all these old white people. A gunshot.

My mother told me to stay put, she dressed and was out the door in a flash. I stood by the window looking out, police lights trickled in through the green of the trees and bushes, a crowd gathered and I could hear their mumbling.

My mother returned sometime later. “They wouldn’t let me close” she said when I asked her what had happened. “But they say it’s OK. They got the bad guy.”

The next morning we found out that the “bad guy” was 16 year old Deon on his way home. Shot dead, point blank range, by a white off duty officer, who wasn’t charged for a thing in the murder of my big brother.

RIP Trayvon.


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