“Relax girl, damn…I aint’ tryna steal your purse”

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.

I heard him let out of sigh of disgust. He had caught up to me, and was directly behind me. His white tee hung low, his gym shoes were raggedy and his jeans were ripped.

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.

To my brother, I am sorry for accusing you in my heart of being the plight of Detroit. Like I did on that day, I hope we haven’t passed the intersection of focus and hope.


About Shirley

Perspectives are found in the oddest of places, Shirley found hers through taking small pieces from nine childhood homes, each with something new for her to discover. Truth is, Shirley Bolden is quite biased saying she's just learned to craft her words in ways to make everyone agree with her.

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