The Sandpaper Dunya

If she had missed the bus, she’d have been forced to wait a minimum of 30 more minutes. The sun had set, taking her warmth, making way for the cooler moon-phase of this city’s winter evenings.

She ran across the street as soon as the bus passed and I slowed my movements making my way onto the bus, doing my best to make certain she made it. Standing in the doorway of the OC Transpo, I waved for her to hurry. My strategy was simple – the bus driver wouldn’t be able to close the door while I stood halfway in it, and so we waited.

She made it on, and I moved back to a seat far away from others, as much as 6 feet permits on our buses.

Walking past me, this stranger made a point of making eye contact over her mask, and saying Thank you so much as she continued to move backwards to the rear seating area.

I wasn’t expecting it. And ended up fighting tears, successfully done due to the fear that if I began to sniffle and become in need of blowing my nose in public, people might want me off the bus because of Rona.

I am not a complicated thinker. My mind bounced – Why can’t we all be this kind to one another? Why can’t we all acknowledge the kindness of others when they extend it? It’s so easy to be kind. Why aren’t we all just kind?

These thoughts unraveled me.

Earlier, I had woken to the news that the Toronto Police had shut down the Parkdale Community Fridge, which stood to feed those in need. The Community was let down by its politicians, and so the Community stepped in to take care of their own. By the invoking of some archaic and wholly irrelevant law, the police department decided that now – when food security is already so precarious, and will certainly become more so the coming while because of this looming COVID winter – would be an ideal time to leave asea those who depend on the fresh food left there daily.

As the day progressed, I saw a prominent White, “left” wing former-actress-turned-activist take it upon herself to extend an olive branch to supporters on Twitter. This idiot, like so many others like her, really and truly believe that pre-2016 America was some kind of utopia.

What? didn’t introduce anything to the American landscape, friends. Rather, he brings a floodlight to the ugliest manifestations of hate that have always, and which continue to rule the US of A. This is why we use the word systemic.

The audacity of a White individual to speak on behalf of those in the BIPOC community who have, and who will continue to be most harmed? If you do not recognize the deep, extremely damaging, ass-backwards “left” privilege and hubris of this, I honestly don’t know under which Conf.derate Flag you currently lie. But you are there. Don’t send me messages about healing and forgiveness. If you are White, sit this one the out. And don’t ask BIPOC to forgive the structures of White Supremacy, structures which very literally wish to bring violence onto our bodies.

That then took me to a few images from a documentary on the Palestinian children residing under Isr.eli Apartheid. Which dragged me right back into the memories of seeing acquaintances vacation in Apartheid Isra.l, and claim how wonderful and glorious was their vacation. Individuals who crossed the BDS line. Individuals whose names I will never forget, no matter how hard and how much I wish to do so.

The straw that broke the camel’s back? A rapper on Twitter decided to make the case that, since the average age for COVID-related deaths is above 80, and so is the average age of lifespan in the UK, then why bother with a lockdown. Essentially, they made the argument that Diers Gonna Die, Anyway.

I stared at my screen in disbelief. My chest tightened, and if I had a field into which I could have walked, I would have done so to let out the loudest and most gut-wrenching of screams imaginable. Right before crumbling into a mess of shattered sobs. I have no field, and so I simply sat and cried on my bed instead.

I decided to once more stand back from all social media platforms. I have zero ability to read DMs or look at news, or catch up on stories of anyone. It feels like I have nothing left to give, because this world is, as I continue to say, sandpaper against my already shredded skin.

This feeling, she comes in waves. Recently, the waves have picked up speed and so in order for me to make it through these coming months without literally cutting out all but perhaps two individuals to whom I am not related, it’s best for me to stand back and stand down.

Please be kind to one another. Please do not commit harm against one another. Please respect the open wounds so very many of us are carrying around so cautiously.

These mercies are so easy to bring to pass.


Image courtesy of: Twitter/@OdiseVucinas

Editorial note: I replace certain letters with a period in words, to ensure that trolls do not find and agitate me further.

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