A long time ago, in a state far, far away (Michigan) I was doing security in a small town called Pigeon. No, I'm not making that up. It's in what's locally referred to as the Thumb area. The neighboring town is called Bad Axe.
By then, I'd been there long enough to know; small town people were some of the most loyal people in the country, and I'd been well-acquainted with the term "colored".
|Pigeon, Michigan. I don't remember it being so conglomerated.|
So at the processing plant, there was one person, in particular, I'll never forget. I won't say his name. I will say he wasn't shy about letting me know, each and every single night, how he felt about having a black person work in the office.
I hated this guy.
I don't mean that as a euphemism. I mean I literally hated this man. I caught his crap night, after night, after night. These nights dragged into months. It got to the point where, if I even saw him, I'd be irate. My chest would get hot. I couldn't unclench fists if I wanted too. Plus, back then I was still fighting, so I had vivid fantasies about exactly how I could send him to his end.
One night, he emerged from the office with something new to say. When I got up, I was telling myself that I was going to be somewhere he wasn't, but honestly I wasn't sure what I was going to do.
But then, in mid-insult, the man has an episode, seizes his chest and falls to the ground. After a moment, he's still.
I stood over him and as I write this, I'm telling you, I would have been happy to let him die right there. Doing anything to save his life wasn't within even my jib description. I would not have lost a moment's sleep if he'd simply expired, right then and there.
I believe in God. But even if I didn't, I believe in karma, and I really wasn't interested in how I'd be repaid for letting this giant flaming racist die right in front of me.
I can't tell you how I was screaming at myself as I got on my knees and began chest compressions. I did manage to start his breathing back up by the time the ambulance got there.
He pulled through.
After that, he avoided me, completely. I didn't see him for a few weeks after he returned.
When I did see him, he wouldn't make eye contact.
It was another few weeks before he began to say hi. The first time he did it, I was so shocked that I looked around to see who he was talking too.
Then, one day, he walked up to me and we spoke. Honestly, spoke. We opened up to one another. I was amazed we were actually having that conversation, considering he had once alluded to every wrong name under the sun when addressing me and I had thought how best to feed him his own guts. But here we were, talking, laughing, and...enjoying each other's company.
I can claim faith and all that when I think about why I revived him, but the honest truth is, I really couldn't tell you what was going through my head when I did that. It was mostly me yelling at myself; "ARE YOU CRAZY?!"
But in the end, what it became was two people who hated one another for all the wrong reasons found common ground. He never thanked me, nor apologized, but when I left that job he did shake my hand.
Thanks for reading.
Avery K. Tingle “The Gamer Author” is the author of sci-fi/romance the Anniversary. Titles are available on Nook and Kobo too. If you’re new to Kobo, you can get the novel for free!
Agoura Hills, YA mystery thriller, is due out early 2017.