I was walking up Oakman Boulevard on Detroit’s west side. The sun was shining and I was nearing the Focus Hope building.
I heard steps behind me, I glanced over my shoulder and saw a brown face. I clinched my fingers around the strap of my purse and hurried my steps.
Beads of sweat ran down my face, not from the summer sun, but from nervousness. As I gripped my purse that only carried my desolate wallet, an old high school ID card and some lip gloss, I was beginning to walk so swiftly I was near the point of running and the black face was getting closer to me.
As our shoulders neared and we greeted each other’s facial structures I looked in fear but I studied his face. I saw the scar under his eye, the tattoo on his left forearm. He stared back in shame.
“Relax girl, damn…I aint’ tryna steal your purse,” he said.
I stopped walking, he kept going.
I was ashamed of myself for assuming that my own brother was a product of his environment. I’m Ms. Stay In Detroit, but even I couldn’t shake the fear that one day one of the blues stories they’d sing on the news would carry my name.