Who needs cable? We have our own excitement around here. Vey iz mere (heaven forbid) some normalcy we should have. Our evening started off so tranquilly. As a family, we noshed (ate dinner) on a nice meal. We streamed a delightful documentary, ‘First Position,’ about young ballet dancers, hard work, determination and the joy of the dance. It was magnificent. Little and Big were kind to each other, wore their listening ears well, and we were all assembled in a family-style, sofa-sized snuggle. Bouts of ballet broke out before us as Little and Big sensed the genius they were watching and tested their own moxie as dancers took to the stage. We watched through the credits, kinder leaping and twirling.
It was Friday night, my turn to cuddle my kinder (kids) to schluffy (sleep). We kissed the Mrs. and Gatsby, our pooch, good night, and pranced into the bedroom for dreamland. I had a shana madelah (little innocent daughter) curled in each arm. What could be bad? Nu? Big, she fell first, as witnessed by the cutest little purr of a snore. My Little, always the challenge, dared dreamland and the imaginings ahead in the dark. Yet even she soon surrendered sweetly. I felt her soft breath on my cheek. The toil of the ‘short-long week’ took its toll, and I soon drifted off too, smile on my punim (face).
Mittendrinnen (in the middle of everything), the Mrs., she comes running in, out of breath, shaking my feet, trembling, and saying, “Someone’s been shot in the parking lot!” Not two minutes before, she was outside with Gatsby for the last walk of the night. I pray, no I don’t hope I’m dreaming? No such luck. I pinched myself; it hurt. Kaynahorah (without the evil eye), I looked around and my family was okay.
I stumbled out of the bedroom to the frightening scene that played out downstairs, just below our kitchen window. Police cars, marked and unmarked, flew in, lights blazing as it neared midnight. A man stumbled and fell out of a white car, blood pooling around him as he lay in agony on the macadam. Neighbors were trying to stop the blood that poured from his groin. Everyone called 911. I even called NBC 10 news-as if they would cover such a story.
“We’ll be right over, said the women at the news desk.” Have you seen them?
Where in the hell was the ambulance. At least six cop cars had arrived. Two cops dragged the poor screaming man by his legs, across the pavement, to their car. A trail of blood followed him. His girlfriend cried out in terror; he shouted, clearly suffering. The cops, they insisted they were helping him to get to the hospital. I can still hear his screams. My heart still thumps uncomfortably in my chest. Was this brutality? The Mrs. and I, we couldn’t help but wonder if a white man on a better street in a better section of Philly would have been schlepped (pulled) like that. #BlackLivesMatter
So began the investigation. No sign of a gun. No sign of a struggle. No shattered windows. No bullet holes from outside of the vehicle. A bloodied drivers seat and blood along the parking lot. What’ happened? The police turned to the girlfriend, arms bloodied as she tried to help her boyfriend, to stop the flow of his blood into the street.
“Where is the gun? Where are the cell phones? Do you have his SIM cards? Did you give them to your daughter to take inside?”
“I didn’t know he had a gun! He has lots of cell phones. I didn’t know he had a gun!”
We were two white moms witnessing the horrors of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The fear and the tension for everyone outside, painfully clear. The detectives started to pressure, to criminalize the girlfriend, who lives two flights below. The police wanted to take her in, didn’t trust her innocence in the events. The Mrs., she ran down 3 flights of steps to tell the detectives, “She’s telling you the truth! I was there, with my dog. Everything she said is what happened.”
The cops took the young, bloodied woman to the station. Her mother said to her, “Go along. We don’t want any trouble here.” The woman walked confidently to the car. The grandmother stayed home with the 9-year-old granddaughter, a witness to too much too soon, and perhaps too often.
The remaining cops and detectives placed yellow police tape around the area in question. The pool of blood shimmered in the night. The evidence bags came out, the flashlights. The Mrs. and me sat on the sofa, holding each other, crying. We were so grateful our girls slept through it all. We talked about what happened. Were we safe living here? What about the kinder (children)? Moving forward, we will refer to this horrible event as ‘pasta salad’ because Little and Big are too damned smart for their own good, figuring out everything we talk about in front of them. Listening only when we don’t want them to.
The next day, the Mrs., she ran in to the family, three generations of black women. They hugged her. They told her they loved her and that she really saved them that night. The daughter was released from the police safely, without incident. They said they let her go because the Mrs., she vouched for her.
We can only surmise how the gunshot transpired. Said boyfriend called moments before arriving to tell his girlfriend he was picking her up. Somewhere in the two minutes between, “I’m coming to get you” and pulling into the lot, he was shot. With no visible distress to the vehicle, he quite possibly, accidentally shot himself in the groin as he removed the gun from his pants before he picked up his girlfriend. He very likely shot his own nuts private parts off and ditched the gun along the way.
A few things I do know:
- Black people are and have been deprived of basic human rights and dignity in our country and it’s got to stop
- I despise guns
- My kids do not know about this event at the Manor, so please refer to this as ‘pasta salad’ if you discuss it in front of your kids, their friends
- My kinder, they know #BlackLivesMatter
This has got to stop.
A bei gezunt (we should all live and be well) together.