Life is like the paper airplanes you throw. You shoot off and feel weightless, then you fall. At least that’s what this mother thought when her son died. He was starting to pick up his grades, and get into fights less often. A young African American kid who played basketball for his school team. He had a life and friends, a girlfriend; she was stunning. One day he was coming home from school with his friends when they started running, “Yo! Why you runnin’?” he yelled back at them. Then he saw a sleek black SUV. An older man hanging out the backseat window with a gun in his hand.
The man yelled “You ready to die, lil’ boy?” Two shots, pow, pow, and he dropped to the ground. There was a pre-school across the street and the staff ran outside while teachers tried to keep the little ones inside. They ran to him but when they got there he had already died.
“Oh my god, who shoots a child?” I hear the tears of his mother drop like the bullets that killed her son. Heavy and full, they tear her apart, piece by piece, pull at her heart like her soul is slowly spilling out of her body in the form of tears.
I’m just sitting in my room on my computer doing homework for school. Oblivious to the atrocity that happened in a society that doesn’t care about a black child’s blood. I was five years old when this happened. He was a kid from my neighborhood; he was a lot older than the rest of us so no one knew who he was. I found out that day after school. It made all the adults scared, but none of the kids seemed phased. The adults knew that this person was just a kid. The rest of us thought that just like a game, he would just come back the next day, but he didn’t. When he didn’t, we got scared because we knew then that he would never come back to the feel the San Francisco air, never feel the warm embrace of a mother, never be able to go hang out with his brother. We never saw him again. We were all wistful because we would never get to hear his dazzlingly elegant whistle.
That day I got bored with my class in math and folded up the handout into a trashy little paper airplane and threw it at my friend. The nose of the plane crumpled into his obnoxiously curly hair and stuck out like his head was a scoop of ice cream put on the wrong side of the cone. He took it out and hurled it out the open window. It plummeted.