We don't like to speak of the R word, yet its impact is undeniable.
He stood under the head of the shower for a few moments, sobbing uncontrollably. Trembling, he turned the knob to hot, and the small wallpapered bathroom quickly filled with steam and screams. On his face, you couldn't tell the tears apart from the scalding water, but his feet were equally treated to both. Snatching a full bar of soap from its dish, he aggressively scrubbed his body for more than an hour, the bar of soap was nearly gone before he came up for air. His quest for purity was insatiable, so much so that long after the soap had dissolved he continued to scrub.
Mumbling profanity, he sat down slowly in the tub, the water still running, but at this point most of the hot water was gone, and so was the steam.
"You stupid bastard," he said, shouting at himself, "You deserved what happened to you, leaving the house looking like that, you know better; god dammit!"
The blaming was unnecessary, he certainly didn't deserve that level of abuse; no one does. But for him, because it happens so frequently at this point, he had no other choice but to think maybe he's inviting this negative attention. With calls from the friends he was suppose to meet at the movies coming in back to back, the stock ringtone from his phone awkwardly accompanied the melody of melancholy that seemed to be on repeat.
The toes that once drank from his tears were now wrinkled like prunes, as if they were dying of thirst. He wanted nothing more than to be out of his skin; every time he looked at himself he screamed the word the attacker screamed at him. The trauma was painfully obvious, and I didn't help the person who victimized him laughed during the encounter. You would think that the unfortunate regularities of these types of assaults who have made him immune, given him thicker skin if you will. On the contrary, every attack seems to soften the skin, making it almost paper thin and easy to tear.
With the water ice cold at this point, and his teeth chattering as a result, he stands up and exit the tubs. Not reaching for a towel, he walks to over to the sink dripping wet and stands gazing at his reflection. After about 10 seconds or so, he screams and punches the mirror, shattering the glass and maybe his hand in the process. He doesn't react to the blood dripping from his knuckles; instead, he lets it form a puddle and then uses it to write the word that attacker yelled at him.
He dips his finger in the blood and slowly writes the letter N on the rim of the sink. He continues with the letter I, two Gs an E and a R. "NIGGER," he screams, before turning out the light and running out of the bathroom.
He was a victim of the R word, racism. And yes, racism is abuse, too.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I'm Flood the Drummer, and I'm Drumming for JUSTICE!