I Was Just Accosted By Security Men Who Were Told That I Robbed a Neighborhood Grocery Store…
I am going to keep writing fast so I don’t forget the details. At approximately 7:48 pm I left Starbucks and headed back to my friend’s apartment. I was on a high. I had spent most of the day immersed in productivity and though the week had started off on a slippery slope — I was ending it with a firm grip of where I needed to be.
And, I knew I would get there.
As I walked into the evening breeze — the calm of the darkening skies that still glowed with the rays of the departing day — soothed my temperate spirit. The cars dashing by provided much-needed tempo as my footsteps led me into the supermarket that was nestled in the mini-plaza — along the way.
I walked in looking for a low calorie snack. I left empty-handed but not disappointed.
About two weeks ago — I took pictures with the friend that I have been bunking with for a month. They were publicity shots for a project that we’ve been working on since the year began. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had spent virtually all my life being lauded for my impossibly thin frame — and now it was clear that my careless diet was taking a toll. I immediately vowed to break away from meats and sweets till further notice — and my ploy worked.
Thinner and more energetic than ever — I wasn’t prepared to give in to the pangs of salty carbs and sugary confection. So, after minutes of fondling products while assessing the potential damage — I decided it was best to take out my fury on tangerines and a diet soda.
As I walked away from the scene of my potential crime — I felt even more empowered. I was finally back to my disciplined state of mind. It was easier in New York but L.A. wasn’t that laid back enough to swallow me whole.
I made my way through the laid out enclaves and as always — I admired the decked out houses that gave the streets permission to beckon with pride.
I was nearing the bridge that signaled the halfway point. I loved crossing it. The traffic below never disappoints.
I had to cross the street first and once I did — I continued my trek forward until a black SUV swerved and dominated the driveway of the house in front of me.
It was weird and annoying but I assumed they were in a hurry and meant no harm. This was clearly their property and I was eager not to keep them from gaining access to it.
Two men jumped out and approached me with methodical candor. My heart wasn’t beating fast because I wasn’t breathing. What in the entire fuck was happening?
They were both Hispanic men and they were wearing the exact same outfits. They were not policemen.
Security. They worked for a company that gets paid to guard businesses — but what in the hell did they want with me?
They wanted to check my bag. They had been alerted that I had walked into the store with an empty bag and walked out with more than I could handle. They needed to help me offload the items I had stolen.
They checked my bag and found nothing. He was apologetic.
He assured me that they were only following orders. Don’t take it personally. They were told that I had filled my big bag with shit I didn’t pay for — and they had no choice but to track me down.
I accepted their apology but the darkness around me was making it very hard to see. I wanted to reach for my phone and document this horror but my arms were paralyzed. I wanted to curse them out and demand they take me back to the fucking store so I could be the angry Black woman who threatens to tear down those walls until justice is served — but my lips remained fixed in a smile that bid them adieu as they drove off with relief.
Fuck me hard! How did my disposition shift from hopeful to hopeless in a matter of seconds?
I was so sure that if I had been a blonde woman in a sundress strolling in and out with no care in the world — I would have made it to that bridge with no qualms. I would have had the pleasure of watching the sun dip into its cove as my chants for a feisty tomorrow endeared my regulated stance.
I was a Black woman who couldn’t decide between Lays or Pork Skins and that indecisiveness cost me more than I was willing to shell out for a few extra pounds. I should have gone for the empty calories instead. I chose to be healthy and that ended up being a life changer.
I told my friend and her daughter what happened to me and they were appalled and surprised that I was able to remain calm under pressure. They acted out how they would’ve responded to such utter bullshit and I watched with quiet amusement.
We think we would be ready and capable when the unimaginable happens — but the truth is that we are never poised to be killed unexpectedly or held for crimes we did not commit without warning.
This experience was horrible but necessary. I survived it because I wasn’t the typical Black woman. None of the women I know who share my heritage would’ve allowed themselves to be unfairly challenged in this way. I accepted the treatment because I wasn’t willing to welcome the alternative.
I don’t think I will allow the shit that happened to me to ebb away with the evening tide. I plan on strategizing how I can convert this unfortunate turn of events into something positive and lucrative in more ways than one.
The racial tension in this country has been my moral compass and I’ve adhered to the trials of women like Sandra Bland, Diamond Reynolds and Korryn Gaines with literary gusto — because their stories need to be exalted for the record of the ones that need proof that our system is designed for our steep downfall.
I was falsely accused of a crime and I intend to pursue my rights to the full extent of the law. I may not win but I intend to try anyway.
In the interim I am frozen in time. All I remember is the bridge ahead and the need to stop to breathe the air of someone who made it the other side.
I was almost there…but then the charge of the vehicle in my path and the men in uniform rushing to attack and…