05 Sep Why Though?
Why Though? is a short story by Renuka Raghavan.[su_divider]
I’m surprised you stopped and acknowledged me. Thanks for the introduction, though to be honest, I could have done without ever having met you.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to make of you as first appearances go—black Chevy pick-up, four tiny American flags flapping out of every window. How’d you get so many? I thought there was a country-wide shortage? You wore a blotchy t-shirt non-ironically with another American flag and the words These Colors Don’t Run emboldened across the front. Lest we forget to mention your spectacularly precise aim. So impressive.
A small part of me was pleased because nothing is worse than false advertising. Like when you have an idea about someone and then you meet them in person, only to be left with a huge disappointment.
Did you stop to study me? Did you see my brown skin, that bruises easily? My short black hair, not the thick curls I once had and chopped off on a rebellious, teenage whim? A silly nose too big for my face, but one I liked because it showed off my Indian, and still further back, Jewish heritage? My self-doubt, a tangible amount so massive that you could easily grab and rattle, like a maraca?
Perhaps I should have stayed home, like Mom warned me to. That Muslim family two streets over had their windows broken, she’d said. My craving for Blue Bell was so intense, it all but forced me to that HEB parking lot where we locked eyes and met. I smiled at your serious, determined stature. You sneered at the aloof, walking bag of clumsiness before you. I could almost see the fumes radiating off you like the smoke that still rose from the wreckage of the fallen towers.
What a pair we made, the two of us! I only wish I had more time to prepare. I would have worn my torn and faded yard work clothes, instead of my favorite Sound garden t-shirt.
Go back to where you came from, you yelled. Did you mean Florida? Jersey? Then you launched a loogie that landed square on my chest, and I became humiliated on a whole other level. Here you were exerting so much power and effort into this memorable meet-hate, and there I was standing idle. A silly fool covered in melted ice cream, and a giant bull’s-eye.