Layers

 

A post by LTAR member Nicola Kitchen.

This is a true incident.  I wanted to try and get across how a mundane event of two people passing each other and stopping to talk – which is totally normal in the countryside – has so much else going on when race is involved in the world we live in.
I was the woman and I never ran into the young man again.  I hope he’s OK and didn’t get too cold.

November 2019 10:30pm

A man walks up the hill as a woman walks her dogs down it

She calls a greeting; he replies.

They share a joke and each walk on their way.

 

November 2019 10:30pm

A village.

A young black man walks up the hill as an older white woman walks her dogs down it.

She calls a greeting; he continues walking for a while, then replies.

They share a joke about his wearing shorts on a winter’s night.

She asks if he is walking a long way home; he assures her he has a lift.

They say farewell and each walk on their way.

 

November 2019 10.30pm

A village in the middle of nowhere.

A young black man walks up the hill as an older white woman walks her dogs down it.

He directs his steps to the far side of the lane; away from the woman.

She hesitates, then calls a greeting.  He continues walking until he is more than 10 feet away, then stops and replies.

They share a joke about his shorts on a winter’s evening.  He has been working at the mill.

She is concerned he will be cold if he has a long walk home.  He assures her he has a lift waiting at the top of the lane.

They wish each other a good evening and each walk on their way.

 

November 2019 10:30pm

A village in the middle of nowhere.  A deserted lane except for two people.

A young black man walks up the hill as an older white woman walks her dogs down it.

He sees the woman and is aware this could be a dangerous situation. He directs his steps to the far side of the lane, aware that he must not appear threatening as this situation could easily get out of control.

She hesitates as 400 years press down on her brain.  She pushes it back, hard.  She calls out a greeting.

He continues walking, making sure there is distance between them.  He doesn’t know this woman and knows that her word will always be believed over his.  When he is more than 10 feet away from her, he replies, but keeps walking.

She asks if he is out for a run as he’s wearing shorts on a cold winter night.  He stops and turns.  They share a joke for a while, then he tells her he’s just finished his shift at the mill – it gets hot there.

The village is very small and there is only one black person who lives there so she knows he isn’t local.  The night is cold and she’s concerned he will be cold if he has to walk far.  He smiles and tells her he will be OK because his friend has come to pick him up and is waiting at the top of the lane.

They smile at each other, wish each other a good evening and each walk on their way.

A lot went on that night.

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