We walk Rupert in the morning at the same time the kids gather for the school bus. It seems odd to us that they appear at every corner. We remember having to walk to ONE corner to meet the bus in the “old days”.
Our neighborhood is so diverse….we passed two Afro-American teens, backs to one another, their cell phones blazing in the early morning light as they texted away (to one another?) on one corner, nodded to an Indian boy rushing to meet his bus, said hello to the younger Chinese kids who wait in the church parking lot who rarely speak but spin their sparkly smiles our way, and crossed the street in order to pass by the Iraqi kids on another corner because we’d noticed a grey car parked there on our way by earlier, parked on the wrong side of the road and just sitting there. We wanted to be sure everything was OK.
The young Iraqi boy, I’m guessing he’s around twelve, stopped me and said, “The police just went into that house and now they are standing there waiting.” Two younger Iraqi girls waited near him. We pass them most mornings, run into their parents in the laundry room we share, but don’t really know them well. I looked back at the grey car, recognizing that is was indeed a police vehicle and noticed several police men with bullet proof vests surrounding one of the houses on our block we have long suspected of being a drug hub.
“Do you want us to stand with you here until this is over?” I asked the young man. These kind of drug busts are fairly common in our neighborhood, typically end quickly and non-violently. I hoped the police wouldn’t be doing this at this time of day if they had feared it ending any other way. The girls seemed completely unconcerned. Had the boy been entrusted with their safety? Was he frightened?
He shook his head. “No, I am not scared.” He stood taller and thanked me and we slowly walked the half block home, letting Rupert take his time sniffing around every tree and telephone pole until it the drug bust was over.
All morning I've wondered.....what might this young Iraqi man have witnessed in his old neighborhood that makes a drug bust nothing to be scared about?