We go to the public park off Madison
Street in order to safely hold hands
because I am Muslim, she is not. It takes
so very long to walk all the way to
Madison Street that it becomes dark by
the time we manage to travel that far.
We hope a policeman is checking out the
bums and perverts who are sprawled on
the benches and tables. Sadly, there is
not a policeman around, only lots of
vagrants and twisted, ugly faces. Where
else can we go, we ask, but there is no
other place we can go now. A patrol car
appears far away down Madison Street,
slowly moving in our direction. We cheer
and say how lucky we are tonight that it
will be safe to hold hands in the park off
Madison Street because a policeman is
patrolling the area. Our heads hang low
now as it comes closer and we can see
the face of the policeman. We turn and
start walking quickly back to where we
came from without holding hands. We
know who the policeman is. We both
know who the policeman is. The
policeman is her father.
Greenville, NC writer Tony Brown won the 2011 Union County Writers'
Creative Nonfiction Contest and earlier Art Forum's fiction competition. His
work has appeared in/been accepted by Short-Story Me, Blink Ink, Down in
the Dirt, Midwest Literary Review, One Forty Fiction, The Storyteller, and
elsewhere, as well as three anthologies. He has also received honorable
mentions from both Writer's Digest and Writer's Journal.