Friday, February 10, 2012

The Woman In the Sun


As she removed her shirt, exposing her breasts to the late day Detroit sun, I crashed the lawn mower into the sign that said, “Spirit of Hope.”  She is exposed, changing clothes in a space without walls.  Across the street from my lawn mower crash, the western rays were catching full glimpse of her curves and beauty marks, while her face showed no sign or irregular thoughts or discomfort.  She was half naked at the bus stop at a very busy six-way intersection, and she didn’t seem to care.

The men on my side of the street looked my direction and wondered what the reverend would say and do.  The best I could do was a shrug, and continued mowing as if nothing unusual was happening at the bus stop, to the woman at the well, across the street. 

This sister’s exposure and Mary Magdalene scandal became the fuel for hen-ish male conversation, gawks and lustful glares.  Exposed to the world, her issues were laid before us in a way we men on our side of the street would never understand.  She was naked, her issues lay bare before the world. 

We are in a neighborhood where a woman’s struggles are exposed.  In Rick Santorum’s America the scandal was a naked woman at the bus stop.  How dare she expose herself to anyone that walks by?  Whatever will we tell our children?  In our Detroit neighborhood, the scandals are a lack of affordable housing for this woman, lack of mental or physical health treatments if she needs them, not enough police to protect her from harm and not take advantage of her themselves, more liquor and drugs than quality food in the neighborhood, not enough quality early childhood centers.  I can list many more scandals exposed by her undressing that day.

This woman is getting naked on a corner of judgment, where naked women of her kind, her ilk, are scrutinized every day.  Judged by men in suits sending out proclamations of righteousness while remaining behind closed doors with blue pill erections.  Placed into categories of hopelessness by those who know them least, but who judge them best.  Exposed to the world?  Many have no choice.  Always naked no matter how many sets of clothes are in their bags or on their back. 
With her new shirt in place, she reached for her waistband, and in one fell swift motion pushed her loose-fitting pants to the ground, underwear too much of a burden on such a day as this.  The cackling of the male hens crescendo as necks twisted heads in this direction and that.  Her former outfit was placed neatly in her bag, a new pair of pants pulled out in a deliberate, not too hurried, not too slow, dressing process.  With all in place, the awaited bus pulled to the corner, consuming the rays of the sun that once fell upon this naked human sister, and she was gone. 

I choose to think her only exposure that day was that of her naked flesh.  It is the only thing I can see clearly, without further assumptions, guesses or pseudo-psychological evaluations or judgments.  I don’t know a thing about her issues.  But perhaps if we all got to know each other a bit better….

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