Noah Adir's execution was today, and I was there to see it. My dad brought me to see him. I never thought I'd be this distraught over this.
I saw Noah take his last breath. I never thought I would be able to say it. Better yet, say it out loud. I don't think I can say it out loud.
When Noah finally took his last breath, Dad patted me on the back and whispered in my ear: "Now you know how a real man feels. Now you see what happens to blacks who don't mind their business."
Blacks. That's what Dad calls them. No one really talks about it since Lincoln signed those papers. Everyone is together now, and no one is being forced to pick cotton from fields. But Dad still doesn't like black people.
He always told me that I was different than all black people. That I am destined to do something great. That I had my whole life laid out in front of me just because I was white.
One time, I brought one of my friends home. His name was Jordan and he was black, but we got along just fine. I asked him to come over to watch a movie or play some video games but my dad demanded me to put him out of our house immediately.
When he left, almost forcefully, Dad pointed to my skin and asked me what color I was. I said white because he was gripping my hand so tight I couldn't see the blood underneath. He said: "That's right. You're white. Not black like him. You'll never be like him so stop hangin' around him."
I never listened to him. I would sneak off at school and hang around him and talk with him. He was a really nice person and it felt wrong to stop being friends with him because he didn't have the same skin color as me.
Months ago, I sat down on the couch watching all the news reports. All the riots, the protesting, the chanting, it all got to be too much. I remember Noah's mother on my screen.
Why are they keeping my son in there? Let my son go! Let Noah go! He's just a little boy! Let him go! He didn't do nothin' wrong!
Everyone all across the world probably knew her. They knew her voice. They knew her son, Noah. They knew that what the police did was wrong, so they tried to fix it.
People in China sent all types of things to America like clothing, mugs, and even tissue. People in Mexico were protesting at the border. People got hurt, but at least they were trying.
That's more than my dad does. He just sits around drinking beer and watching football. Anytime the news reports would come on, he'd either yell and scream at the screen or throw his drink, almost always alcohol, at the tv. One time, he ripped the tv off of the stand and hinges and Momma had to go and buy another one.
They were arguing all day about that stupid tv. Got so bad I couldn't hear myself think, so I took a ride on my bike outside. I didn't know where I was going until I ended up at my friend Jordan's house. I was already there and his Mom had seen me pull up, so there was no turning back.
When I walked onto her porch, she immediately opened the door and asked me what I was doing at her house. I told her that I wanted to see Jordan. She turned from me to the door she had closed behind her. She finally gave in and let me see Jordan, but it wasn't until she looked both ways down her street before she closed the door.
Inside, the news was on. Obviously about Noah. She told me that Jordan was in his room playing and if I needed anything to just call.
When I got into Jordan's room, he just stared at me. He didn't say anything. He just stared. I remember thinking to myself: what's wrong with this boy? At first, he continued playing, and as I was saying my hello, he screamed at me to get out.
I remember being pretty taken aback and getting on my bike ride home and it had started to rain. There was no rain in the forecast that I had seen, but it continued until the ground became slippery and I skidded across the sidewalk when a car knocked into the back of me.
The neighbors must have seen what happened because the next thing I knew, I was sitting on a counter in a black woman's home. It felt toasty and warm like we were living inside of a heated Poptart. The lady - I had never gotten her name - bandaged my knees while humming softly to music I couldn't hear.
I jolted up, but the lady told me to lay back down. She handed me a cup of tea and said to stay where I was while she got a pillow or two. I ended up spending the night, and in the morning she drove me back home - the place I should've never left in the first place.
Dad was at work - I could tell because the police car was no longer parked in the driveway - when the kind lady dropped me off. Mom eagerly opened the door asking me what happened and told me to never leave the house again. She thanked the woman repeatedly and tried to pay her with money, but the woman just shook her head and left, still humming to her invisible music.
So after a few months, I stand here watching Noah Adir struggle with the noose around his neck. I think about the nice lady who helped me when I crashed. I think about Jordan's kindness, even through these times. I think about Jordan's mom who let me in her house knowing what would happen if my father found out.
Dad leans over and knocks his shoulder into mine and says: "Now he knows not to mess with us, aye?"
I look from my dad to Noah's dead eyes and sigh. When will it stop?