I stood there with my face blooming, distraught from what felt like swarming bees eating through my eyes, and climbing into my throat as my feet turned to lead cemented into the ground. I could feel the burning inside of my nose as fear haunted me as if a reminder that I couldn’t breathe. People running, falling being trampled by the conviction of gas hugging their backs as I stood there watching like a manikin in horror, chocking on fumes that burned through the air as if it were lightning punching through falling snow.
Where did we go and how did we get here I wondered as I fought to move? The “what ifs” mounted like sores against my legs from the cuts of bike pedals tearing through my skin as I blindly struggled to make my exit behind the crowds of people running from pops and bangs as though they were stray bullets screaming through haunted houses. Eyes burning, throat closed, heaving, deep thoughts of panic but I have a son, so I can’t give in. I’m drowning on dry ground moving at a snail’s pace thinking what if it were me? What if they were aiming at me? What if those canisters were launched into the crowd because they were angry at the anger of a people in turmoil? Another life spilled which could overrun the gulf with discontent like hot coffee pouring over the edges of a thimble?
Who’s mad at who? I can’t figure out what we’re doing. I can’t figure out why my baby has to run when his life hasn’t even begun? Why does he fear what he hasn’t even recognized as life? Why does he fear at all? I still can’t breathe from these gases making their way through my lungs, begging for air, slurping it through holes that won’t work, that fill with more gases till they like sponges are filled themselves. Hands reaching out to help, tears in the eyes of those wanting more. Where is he? I can’t stop searching, but I can’t see, how did we get here and why did we stop running pursuing peace – forgive us but damn he couldn’t breathe because of a knee. How did we get here and can the same love that I feel save us from the opposing emotion? Can we choose to leave and find our way out of this place? I can’t find him as tears form on my skin, remnants of a tear-gassed face while the father in me cries hoping he’s safe?
Why are we still here?