As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air — however slight — lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
To distract myself from the fact that my dog is dying, I check the headlines. This is August 2017, so the news is not good, but it keeps my gaze from drifting over to my dog’s curled-up body, trembling on his bed in the corner. In a lot of ways, reading the news is like watching my dog die, just easier to bear.
In The Paper’s Midtown Manhattan office, the long fluorescent light fixtures contained the silhouetted carcasses of cockroaches that had died making the journey from one end to the other. The carpet was a Rorschach test of spilled cola, coffee, and cigarette ashes. This was where I worked for the better part of a year.
Gingerly, creeping, my mother drives her “safe” back way home, winding through the subdivisions bordering downtown Orlando, Florida. The little truck doesn’t have air conditioning. I stretch my arm out the window as if I might be able to feel the Spanish moss hanging from the trees like witch hair.
Rule #20: Never bring a book to work. It makes the customers think you’re better than them. It doesn’t matter what you’re reading. It doesn’t matter if you’ve finished cleaning all the glasses and it’s a quiet Monday afternoon — leave the book at home. You’ll know this when your father comes behind the bar looking pissed and tells you to come into his office.
We were losing parts of ourselves. A reporter discovered a trove of ears in a burlap sack. The leader said the papers were lying, and we weren’t sure what was rumor and what was fact. What happened to me, what happened to my neighbors — that wasn’t enough proof of all we had lost.