A few days ago, I was killing some time before an appointment wandering around Target. One aisle over, I heard a child scream. It wasn’t the tantrum cry; it wasn’t I don’t feel well cry. It was a cry out in terror. I recognized it from my childhood. As I got closer, I heard a man saying the type of things you wouldn’t say to an adult in private, much less a child in public.
DON’T LOOK AT ME. TURN AROUND. DO WHAT I TELL YOU OR ELSE.
The adult woman with them was quietly trying to get the child to quiet and do as directed. I saw her body language and heard her words, and it sent shivers up my spine. I just stood there, staring. I know I do not have a poker face, so I am sure my disgust and rage showed on my face.
She nodded to the man trying to get him to look at me and asked ever so politely, “Can I help you?” I stood frozen with rage and pain because I remember a care-taker yanking me up by my arm violently and telling me I had better do what she said OR ELSE.
A year ago, I wouldn’t even have walked over. A year ago, I would have swallowed it all down and just left it alone. That day, I said, “I am pondering the evil that men do. I’m wondering if you would treat an adult that way or” just then a police officer walked around the corner. He had heard the child screaming as well and came to find the reason. I stood with a slight smile watching the adults stammer and stutter their way through. I walked away and went to pay for my items. As I was walking to my car, the couple were standing outside by the police vehicle. The officer was writing things down; the man looked defeated.