I heard myself wail when they told me my son Ayrie was dead. Half of the wail heard inside my head, the other heard as though it was from another mom who lost a different son in a room at the other end of the dark hospital hallway. Pain made into sound. The other mom's wail still lives outside of me, too big and too painful to reunite with my wail, to co-exist as a whole pain inside of me.
I awoke years later, in a different city, a sadder person, to the same wail. This time in my bedroom, not a hospital hallway. Blue lights circling and bouncing off of my wall, not a code blue. But the wail, that was the same. I jolted awake. Adrenaline. I know that sound. Another mother lost her child. I just know it in the way I know the sound of my own breathing. I pulled back the curtains and peered down at the street. There she was, sitting in a cold, dark, dirty sidewalk. The ambulance next to her, the paramedics look helpless. I learned later that she lost her toddler to SIDS that night.
Last night. Again, the blue lights. This time not a baby, a man. On the ground, surrounded by people in uniforms, people with guns, pale skin catching the blue light. His dark skin shadowed by his hood, by the moonless night, by the dark shadow cast by the car. Yelling orders. Through his wail he cried "Please don't shoot me. I didn't do anything. Please don't shoot me." It was the same wail. Pain made into sound.
Primal pain. Under the loss. Under the fear. I know what it sounds like.
He shouldn't have had to feel primal pain.
Walking down the street in his Brown body. A car was stolen and crashed. "Of course it's him," they assumed. "Of course it's not any of these white people," they assumed. Although no one saw anyone actually get out of the crashed car or run from the scene.
He shouldn't have had to feel primal fear.
I am still shaking for him. Shaking for people I love who walk through this world in brown bodies. Trans bodies. Bodies people hate without knowing the person. Bodies that are dehumanized. Bodies treated as disposable.
I see you. I love you. I will do my part.