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This Bright Future by Bobby Hall

This Bright Future by Bobby Hall

Author:Bobby Hall [Hall, Bobby]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: 2021-09-07T00:00:00+00:00


A few weeks after the stabbing I was walking my mom across the Grey Eagle Court parking lot when she saw some black dude walkin’ along, minding his own business, and she grabbed my arm and pulled in close to me and said, “Oh my God. He’s black.”

Part of me was like, “What the fuck is wrong with you? Two of your husbands were black. All of your kids are black.” But then another part of me was like, “I get it. Some black dude stabbed you, so you’ve got post-traumatic stress and you’re freaked out and paranoid about black people.” But what’s fucked up is the reason I understood it was because I was feeling it myself. My mother’s stabbing had been so overwhelming, and I’d been so busy taking care of her, that I’d never stopped to reckon with my own assault. I was suffering from wicked PTSD, too, and it had royally fucked me up.

From the day I got attacked and my mother got stabbed, whenever I left the apartment and I would see people of, let’s just say, “a certain demographic,” it scared me. I would feel a panic attack coming on. It fucked me up to where I started perceiving black people a certain way. For a time I was like, “Is my mom’s racism fuckin’ with me? Is her racism incepting me?” But then I realized it wasn’t racism because it wasn’t black guys I was scared of. It was shady motherfuckers in general. It was hood-ass white dudes and shady Hispanic dudes and thuggish dudes of any color. I’d see them and I’d feel this intense panic and I’d cross the street or duck around the corner and run home as fast as I could.

What was setting my panic off about these dudes wasn’t the color of their skin but the way they were looking at me. They weren’t looking at me like the twelve-year-old boy I still felt like inside. They were looking at me like the teenager I was, like the Blood in Bohrer Park had. They were sizing me up to see if I was going to be a threat to them, which made them feel like a threat to me, which was something I’d never felt before.

And those kinds of dudes were everywhere. All those motherfuckers with Nike Foamposites and Jordans and jeans and dreadlocks and all that shit, those dudes were most of my friends. I started looking at everything differently. I developed this intense anxiety where I saw risk and pain and death in everything. Where I used to look at a set of stairs and see a handrail to grind, now I looked at it and saw a place I might trip and smash my nose through my septum and into my brain. Everywhere I went, I was scared that I would be hurt or robbed or punched. Everywhere I went, I saw pain and death and hurt.

Then my everyday fears started to collide with all these bigger fears about life and my future.



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