Home in the Hood Part 2
Upon reaching the steps to my building, my eyes became fixated on the rest of the neighborhood that at one time had so much life in it and now…
Gone was the laughter of children playing in the park, now a haven for drug transactions. Gone were the stores that sold twister, candy and cookies only to be replaced with stores that were fronts for selling drugs.
I was about to turn one of the many keys needed to secure my personal belongings in my apartment when I heard the words, “Hey brother man, hold up for a second because now I have a question I need to ask you.” At first I was puzzled and wondered where this brother was coming from so I said, “Check this out, if we are going to have this street debate let’s do it away from your business and customers.”
There was a sly smirk on his face and underneath the parched lips and hardened skin, I saw the young man who these streets had turned into this troubled old man. He responded, “No Problem brother let’s do this.”
As we both proceeded to descend from my stoop, the constant sounds of police sirens blaring in the atmosphere were a normal annoyance to everyone who had an ear to hear. I could tell, as he kept glancing over his shoulders, that he was hoping that the police cars would pass over his spot of “business” to bother one of the many other “business” spots that are centrally located throughout the neighborhood.
“My brother,” I said, “before you kick your street science to me about your life here, perhaps I should impart a little knowledge about myself. I used to be just like you back in the days. I sold drugs, did drugs, ran from the police, did a jail stint and all the other vices that the streets had to offer. I know you came from your deadly perch to ask me how I could judge your world. Brother, I danced with death on more than one occasion and if it wasn’t for the Grace of God, I would be dead. I only stepped to you because I saw fragments of me in you.”
From his hardened face, I knew my words had reached the parts of him that wasn’t suffering from denial. When he said, “Look man, I appreciate your little history story but things have changed from your time to these times. A Black man like me with no diploma, no real job, no family support, and no real friends has to make ends meet anyway he can. I am not a beast; I am more of a victim of a war that I did not create. Many people see me out here selling my products but they don’t know anything about me. I came here to tell you that there is no way out of this madness for brothers like me, so stay out of my business! The only thing we have in common is our skin color.”
His words were bitter. His belief that “trying to save himself was a waste of time” showed me why he would stand on that corner dodging cops. Selling death to his people with no remorse only confirmed what I felt in the beginning when I first encountered him … He had LOST HOPE.
The story continues ...
The beginning: Home in the Hood Part 1
© Word Bird