One Pop, Two Pops, Three

By Tedria Smith

Bewildered eyes glisten in the night. The street light flickers in the background. I remember his smile lighting up the whole room. That very smile warms my insides, make me feel fuzzy and my heart quicken with flutters. Black beautiful boy, he is the light I needed. My comfort zone, my shoulder to cry on, and my backbone. Bewildered eyes zoned in more now. I hear constant pops. Pop! Black beautiful boy’s eyes are locked with mine. Pop! Black beautiful boy’s hand clutched in mine. Fingers intertwined, not ready to let one another go. I love his touch. Pop! Black beautiful boy lays his head in my lap. I run my fingers through his waves. I close my eyes, trying to imagine the sound of popping popcorn. The very first time we laugh and giggle sitting in that theater while he ate the buttery snack. Those pops still ring in my ears like the ones I hear now. I hate popcorn because the same cop that patrolled our block loves the cheddar popcorn. I hate everyone’s bewildered eyes because they all want a piece of him and hate me. Want to be his friend like I am and replace me. They all want a piece of him. Some want to see him succeed and others want to see him fall. I open my eyes and see my black beautiful boy subject to those bewildered eyes. How I want to shield him from everyone, but we are on the sidewalk under that flickering light and in the public eye. One pop, two pops, three pops and it feels like a dream. In the moment my ears no longer hear anything but my very own breathing. My black beautiful boy all covered in red. My hands quiver, “Someone please help! Tony’s been shot!”

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