I lied on the ground, curled tightly into a fetal position, my body instinctively trying to protect itself from the blows that rained down on it. I could hear the taunts of the men who encircled me, calling me names, yelling profane obscenities and daring me to get back up.
Through a fence, just a few feet away, sat a car from my youth. A car that hadn’t moved in decades, not since I ran down that little boy on a beautiful southern summer day.
I remember yelling at him too. Yelling dirty, vulgar things that in my heart I hadn’t meant. I thought I did, was raised to think I did, but now too late to change what happened I know I didn’t. I ran him down not because he was different, but because I was and I hated myself for it.
I tried to pull myself up on the nearby fence but I was quickly struck down by an angry fist already covered in my blood. “Stay down freak!” I barely heard through my busted eardrum.
I cried. Not for myself but for the boy and his family. Then I smiled. Justice was finally being served and my soul sighed with relief. And in that last moment, when I heard the gun fire, I had hope. Hope that these men would someday be able to shed the hate in their hearts as I had, and that they would be able to do it before they were encircled by an angry mob of men who had discovered their differences.