Hot sky, searing white. Low roofs and dead grass. The motel. My home.
A tenant gets belligerent and refuses to pay the rent, refuses to leave. My parents run the motel. They must evict her.
So my father calls the police. They will help.
The squad car arrives. Dad explains the situation.
Then, a mistake. A gesture seen as threatening? A misspoken word? The audacity of his brownness? We never really understood. Whatever it was, it flipped a switch. A second later:
My father’s head rammed into a wall.
A heavy arm locked around his throat.
shoved in a squad car
I could say he didn’t do anything.
I could say he just wanted help.
I could say there was no reason.
But what I should be able to say, the argument that should work, is: he is a human and he deserved to be treated like one.
My father is in his 70s now.
A long time ago, he had a stroke and forgot many things, like:
The names of objects.
Verdant swaths of his youth.
How to read.
But he remembers this.