Posts Tagged ‘gunshot’

Some Times You Have To Walk Away

June 11, 2013

She was crying and her small cocoa face crumbled up in tears and her mouth opened wide and I could see her little two-year molars cutting through her gums.

The tears flew out of her eyes and she held her small arms out to me pleading.

Mean while my little blonde elfin waif child clung to me and pinched my arm, “home, home, home, home, home,” she demanded.

She had been fine with her new friend until said new friend had clambered up me and I suddenly had two little girls, just a few weeks apart in age clinging to my arms.

I have been here before it is not such a bad thing to have two cuddle bunnies in my arms, but I had to put the other little girl down and she did not want me too.

Her grandmother was not helping, “she like you.”  She said pointedly and watched her grand-daughter wail away as I gathered all of our things together.

“I like her too,” I said with a smile, “she is a sweet little girl”.

The grandmother extended the child back to me, “no, I am sorry, I can’t hold her any longer, I have to take care of this one.”

Some times you want to take care of them all.

Some times you have to walk away.

It broke my heart and I could see every ounce of neglect etched into her small body, every solid meal denied, every bit of purple flavor popsicle shoved into her hand to get her to go away.

“You shouldn’t her hold upside down too long,” the grandmother had said a few minutes earlier as I tossed her gently in my arms, “I only got the one diaper on her and it’s gettin’ full.”

Oh fuck me.

I thought about handing her a diaper.

I thought about handing her the entire diaper bag.

Not my property to part with.

Then on the other spectrum there were the two little girls that rolled up in their miniature G-LS Class Mercedes-Benz black SUVs–motorized.  The pulled up just ahead of their daddy into the playground and led a cluster of children like the Pied Piper to surround them throng like in worship.

“Whoa,” one little boy said, “look at them rims.”



Drug dealers got kids too.

Or parents want themselves to look like they are drug dealers?

I don’t know.

It was just such a surreal moment to be nestled in, the Hispanic/German/Polynesian nanny with her white as white can be little girl charge.  And I don’t look like a traditional nanny either, “wow, look at her tattoos,” a little girl said to me earlier.

There were so many clichés happening I just about forgot to count them all.

Then the blind black man in the corner came tap, tap, tapping with his cane and his cadre of older heavy-set, but still lithe black women came into the park.

Every Monday there is some sort of mixed martial arts class that is taught.

One of the students rolls by in her car, turns up the stereo and Motown floods the playground.  I danced my little girl around and took her up and down the swirly slide until she wanted to go investigated the SUVs which had been parked by the dinosaur slide to be abandoned by their drivers, watched over by the dad who let the line up of little kids stare at the cars and gently touch the hoods, but did not let them get into them.

Show pieces indeed.

The class of four women, one blind black mane instructor, and a homeless dude that just decided to join up, stretched and starting to ki-ai in the back ground.

The elementary.




That was a gunshot.

Where was I?

Elementary school next to the play ground let out and the entire yard was flooded with kids.

It was neat.

Neat is the word.

The mixture of kids in the playground, black, Hispanic, Asian, white kids, mulatto kids, all sorts of mixtures and ethnicities, the hipster white mid-twenties male teacher/monitor with Ray Bans on telling the kids the rules to the kick ball game, all hodge podge and tossed together in the bowl of the park.

I loved it.

I did not like walking away from the crying child, but I am not responsible for all the little ones in the world.  I just can’t be.  I am barely responsible to myself.

Today as I watched a rail thin mother so eradicated by crack jitter across the street in front of my bicycle as I came home on International Avenue, I thought to myself, “thank God I am not smoking crack.”

And as I flew by I saw the crown of a baby in the back seat carrier of the car.

“Thank God I don’t have any children of my own today,” flew out of my mouth.

I can’t imagine, despite having lived through some horror and neglect, the patina of time has tarnished the images and softened the impact, having children in East Oakland and having to turn tricks with them in the car to score crack.


I got to say I am going to take a pass on that experience.

Grateful that I do get to walk away, or ride away, as the case was, to admire instead the purple sky frosted with lavender and edged with ripe peach pink clouds sunset dusted palm trees hazing into the twilight.

So much beauty.

You just have to open your eyes to it.

Perhaps it was the stark contrast that made my heart open wider to accept in the gifts of the light or perhaps it was the long, fulfilling (I worked two different kinds of job today) day at work, something about the sky made me forget the crack and the crack babies, the potholes in the road and the jacked up El Camino that kept circling me, it was glorious.

I felt like I was indeed riding off into the sunset.

In East Oakland.

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