“Separated from the Pack”

An excerpt from Marginal Eyes, Chapter 3

“Hey, look at that old Black lady,” he said insistently. In my previous world there would have been nothing strange about seeing an “old Black lady” anywhere, but in Chesterton it was curious … What do I do? Tell my companion that the “old Black lady” that he clearly found to be an anomaly was my mom? Did I have to accept the possible consequence of losing my only friend? Or should I just stay quiet?

“Yeah, look at that,” I replied flatly, turning to the game.

Even though it was a crisp day, the two of us decided to head downtown after leaving the game. We were walking on the side of Main Street nearest the park and gazebo when he nudged me with his elbow and motioned furtively across the street.

“There’s that old Black lady again,” he said. Mom was walking down the sidewalk towards Ben Franklin and the other stores with her back to us. I knew that if I were to run to catch up with her as would have been my instinct I might never see my newfound friend again. The guilt I’d feel for repeatedly disavowing my own mother would be gut-wrenching, though … I made the split-second decision.

“That’s my mom. See you later!” I said, as I looked both ways and sprinted across the street to meet her. I didn’t turn back to see the expression on his face. It was too uncomfortable … I had lost a precious social connection but perhaps saved my soul for a day. I was though still as torn as ever about what to do with this new life.

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