Tag Archives: fear

Spotlight fever

The stage is dark. The curtains have just been raised. There we are. An echoing thump jolts our heart to full alertness. Standing there completely alone, you are not aware of me. I’m not aware of you. We are not aware of us. The blinding light seems to amplify our thumping chest. Sweat drips down our forehead. The sound of the plummeting moisture seems to be amplified. Our voice – there is no sound. An inaudible squeak. Suddenly, the light in the dark auditorium is switched on.
We can see the audience. But there is no one there. There is no we. I am alone. And no one cares that I’m afraid. No one saw the blunder. Witnessed only by the light, which passed me no judgment.

Social Media seems to have amplified, those who can see our mistakes. The other day a thought passed through my mind. What if that post goes viral? It certainly had all the makings of a viral post, and for a second my heart jolted into full alertness. And in that moment I knew. The post won’t go viral. Not only does my blog not have that kind of traction, but I’m not ready. Not my writing is not ready. I’m not. And I’m also not saying my writing is flawless, cause it is defiantly flawed, but it’s not horrid either. I took a deep breath and relaxed.

It never ceases to disgust me, what kind of poison goes virtually viral, these days – especially in these parts. Children being abused by their Nanny – caught on a Nanny cam. A drunk young woman … I’m not even going to finish that sentence. What’s even more disturbing is the reaction people have. The way we blame and shame. We judge as if we were flawless. Perhaps my content just does not have that shock factor. But if something did go viral, I know there’d be trolls that come knocking.

Painted_Face

The other day a white lady posted something on Facebook. I only mention her skin-color because it is pivotal to the story. I’ll call a spade a spade and not call her Caucasian. While she certainly is Caucasian, here we’d refer to her as a white lady. Apartheid was still within my lifetime. Some of my peers can still remember the UNO coming to their class declaring, “everyone is now equal”.

The white lady posted something on Facebook which caused a big up-stir. In a status update, she mentioned that she had just witnessed a black man taking a white person’s dog for a walk. i.e. She thought this dog to be stolen. She put on her number so that anybody who was missing this dog could ask for more information. I never saw this post myself, but it was big in our local headlines.

Obviously, the first question to ask would be, how does she know the dog belonged to a white person?

Here’s the thing – she never meant to hurt anybody or make such a racist remark. She was guilty of ignorance only and perhaps having experienced something traumatic.

What went viral, was not her Facebook post – it was the recorded call a woman made to her. The other woman who had a British type of accent, called the white lady to ask about the dog. Firstly the British accent woman asked the white woman, how she knew the dog belonged to a white person. When the latter responded that one could simply see it, in that the dog seemed well cared for. The British accent woman referred to the “missing” dog as a Bitch throughout the conversation and ended the call by calling the white woman a Bitch. Honestly, she was very mean and seemed only to want to ridicule the white woman. Goal achieved. Everyone was laughing. The white woman later needed to switch off her phone due to all the harassment she was receiving.

Online bullying at it’s best!

If you read the article in the newspaper, you’d  find out why the white woman made such an ignorant post. At one point, some of her pet dogs were stolen. They only found the paws of these animals – whom she assumed had been eaten. Still no sympathy?

Yes, I hear you. We should be sympathetic to the people who have not enough food and thus eat dogs and cats. Poverty, it is a huge problem. But can you spare no sympathy for this woman, who happens to be married to a colored man (that’s someone of mixed heritage)?

In the newspaper article, the white lady apologized for her blunder. I doubt anyone was listening or reading for that matter. The article, after all, did not go viral. Only the phone call was broadcast to everyone—thanks to WhatsApp.

lettingGoSilouette

Which brings me back to the spotlight fever. What are we shining the light on? Sometimes an issue is much larger than the one part we highlight.

In my example, there were many issues. I mentioned: poverty, racism, online bullying, ignorance and a lack of general empathy. Depending on our own life experiences, we may have focused on only one of these. We may have been enraged at the white woman’s audacity. How could she think, people of a dark skin tone can’t take good care of their pets? It served her right to be treated by the British accent lady like that. It served her right, to be harassed. She should be, belittled for her mistake.

Or perhaps like me, you saw the lack of empathy people have shown. And you hope to all that is good, the spotlight which accentuates all your flaws, never falls on you. Just be careful what you say.

I was so afraid to even use the terms “white lady” & “black man”, even though they fit the frame of this story. Obviously, I still live in a world with many racial divides. I tend to see the cultural differences as beautiful, something to be proud of. Treat everyone with respect, is the kind of value I try to model to my children. However, in this world, you need to be politically correct – always. Or rather just keep your mouth shut.

What gives you the right to speak? Except for the light. It demanded something more than an inaudible squeak.

*above images credit to pixabay

 This post links to a month’s long daily blogging challenge, during November. See who else has signed up to be a Little Pepper HERE. It’s called NANO POBLANO.

NanoPoblano 2017

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


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The hanging tree

“Silvia, Silvia! Don’t do it! Listen to me, Silvia!” he was shouting as he ran towards me. The jump of my heart froze me to the spot.

“Ouch! Get off!” He had put his hands on my shoulders.

“Silvia, it’s not worth it! Don’t” the scent of alcohol came from his breath.

“I’m not Silvia!”

His bloodshot eyes looked from my left to my right eyeball.

“What you muttering about?” The smirking face of my brother met my stare.

The deranged man was gone. I rubbed my sore shoulders and gazed around. Ah, the tree. That explains it. My gaze fell back to the dusty street. Cleansing air filled me, which I released in a sigh.

“Hey, what’s up?” Matt’s face no longer looked mischievous. He put his big brotherly arm around me.

“Let’s get home.” No use in worrying over the man now. I would need to check for marks on my arms later. My mother, another thing to hide from her.

 

******

“Silvia, could you tell me which year Hitler got arrested?”

I turned my head around so fast it started spinning. I did not know I was in class with a Silvia. She was a few seats down on my left. Her hands clutched nervously at the desk as one hand tucked the strand of hair behind her ear. Acne spots filled her face.

“Er, right before he wrote his book” she said.

That was clever, I thought.

“What year was it? Or do you not know what a year is?”

The class laughed. Silvia’s cheeks reddened. The effect with her acne, made her look like a big red troll. Oh, this guy has it coming to him. Focus, I thought.

“Well at least she did not forget to wash her hair, not like a nicotine stinking teacher I know,” I said with my eyes focused directly on his. If a pin had dropped, the sound would have been audible.

“I’m presuming madam know it all over here, has the answer” The thin man looked at me.

“You know the finger, which is in the middle of the hand? You know the words it represents when only that finger is up and the rest are resting in a fist position! It was 1923 in what was called the beer hall putsch. Now do you know what you and that man have in common?”

“Shut your foul mouth little Missy. I think the principal’s office is in order”

“Oh, because you don’t possess the intelligence to take on a thirteen year old you send her to the principal’s office. That’s weak! You have nothing on me. Not once did I use indecent language. Moreover, I have a class full of witnesses to prove it. Now, do you really want me to go to the principal – so that I can tell him how you bullied one of the students in this class? I’m sure he would like to listen to that, especially after the incident at the last teacher’s conference.”

“How?”

“Perhaps you need fill your lungs with poison, then maybe you will get it” I said and the teacher stomped out of the classroom.
At this, the kids erupted in loud chatter. I walked over to Silvia’s desk and pulled up the chair next to her. No one was paying any attention to us.

“You should not worry about him. He’s just an insecure prick”

“Thank you” Her hair fell back over her face.

“I can help you study for next week’s test,  if you want to? You can come by my house after school. I usually walk home”

Silvia smiled. “I was just thinking about that”

“What do you say?”

“I don’t know, there’s,” she said.

“Don’t worry about her.” My gaze fell to her wrists. She had red cut marks.

She flipped her arm over when she saw me noticing.

“I’m sorry. You don’t need to hide that from me,” I said.

She lifted one eyebrow. “Where do you live?”

“It’s only a few blocks down past, er that way” I pointed in the direction of my house.

“I don’t know.”

“It will be fun. I can make us popcorn and we can mull over the politics of the nineteen twenties and thirties.”

“You seem to know your stuff.”

“Yes, I enjoy History. If you don’t have an idiot trying to teach it to you – it can say a lot about human nature. I find people interesting.”

****

We found ourselves walking on the dusty road, which was the shortcut to my home. Matt was whistling as he walked a little ahead of us. Silvia kept throwing glance to the back of us.

“Don’t worry about her,” I said.

“How did you? What! There she is. We need to walk faster!” Silvia grabbed my arm. We ran for a short while.

“Wait up, I need to catch my breath!” I slowed down and bent down to my knees, looking to where we had landed. My brother stopped having followed us and looked at me.

“I think I’ll go sit and rest, there in the shade of the old tree,” I said pointing to the tree.

Silivia’s eyes widened. She glanced back and then at me. “You know what tree that is?”

“Sure, it’s a Eucalyptus tree.”

“No, I mean – do you know?”

I had walked towards the tree and sat down at its base. My eyes closed as the energy filled me.

“She’s crazy!” Silvia said looking at my brother, who shrugged.

“It’s just a bunch of dead people. They can’t hurt you!” I said knowing well, that I was lying. Silvia did not budge. My brother stood there arms crossed and looked at me.

“What you doing?” he asked.

“Resting” I said.

He rolled his eyes. “Give me a break. You run around the block several times every morning.”

“Oy, don’t need to spill all my beans Matt!”

“Look you two; I don’t know what’s going on here. I don’t believe you for a second Sara. Right now, we have to split. She’s coming.” Silvia said.

“Let her come. Let’s see if she has the guts to sit underneath the old hanging tree!” I said.

“She won’t be afraid of some tree!”

“Why not? You are.”

“What’s going on, whose coming?” Matt asked

“Rachel, try to keep up Matt,” I said.

“The one who likes to dress all goth?” Matt asked

“The very one who’s been bullying Silvia here!” I said.

“How do you even know that?” Silvia had put both hands on her hips and looked like she was striking a pose for a runway.

“Look Silvia, you can come sit here with me under the shade of the tree or you can face another beating. It’s up to you.”

Silvia’s lips formed an O, while her brows frowned.

Matt came to sit next to me. “You are so weird sometimes,” he said quietly.

“Normal is over-rated”

Silvia looked back to the horizon, where Rachel was now clearly visible walking toward us.

“You are bloody nuts! You should have seen her talk to Mister Bins today.” Silvia walked slowly towards the tree and sat down next to me.

“What the History goof?” Matt asked.

“Yea!”

“I should have known, apparently he’s been missing from most his classes including mine”

“You missed nothing.” I said.

We all looked at the approaching Rachel, who stopped walking when she saw us.

“Here she comes” Silvia said.

“Let her. I dare her. I hope she does!” I said.

Silvia gave me a look that plainly stated that I was bizarre.

“Just a little closer” I said more to myself.

Rachel took tentative steps. She suddenly became very pale and started coughing. It seemed she had difficulty breathing since she held her throat.

“We should help her!” Silvia said and jumped up and started sprinting towards Rachel.

Rachel looked up and saw Silvia. Her eyes widened and she ran, back to the direction from where she came.

I walked over to Silvia. “Let’s get going. We can talk about how this is not worth it ,” I said taking her wrists into my hands. Silvia looked at the figure of Rachel disappearing at the horizon.

“Okay fine, I’ll talk.” Silvia said as we started strolling home. Matt resumed his whistling.

“I’ll listen.” I said and looked back towards the tree.

The crazy man stood where we had been sitting. I gave him a wink. I could have sworn he returned it.

tree

Written for Ronovan’s Friday Fiction Challenge – prompt challenge 5. The prompt was to choose a favorite song and use it’s title as the title for a work of fiction.

“The hanging tree” by Jennifer Lawernce was my song choice.

Constructive Criticism – Welcome.