It was the 13th of the month. I remember, well, ‘cause I made a joke.

I said to the mirror: at least it’s not Tuesday.

Another day far from my family and friends; another month and it will be 3 years living here.

I was running some errands, trying to get all my stuff together—my writing, my podcast, my life and work.

Text to my friend David: I wont make it dude sorry im late

I got food for me and the cat. I spend the whole morning driving, reading, studying, and writing… now I’m late to get my lunch.

I’ve got to run to work. I turn my car. I take some random street back to the Uptown.

I got a text back. It’s school time. I can’t text and drive, so like a conscientious person, I pull over to look at my phone: Hey man lets have lunch tomorrow to talk about the art project for fall

“Hey man,” says the green pile on the grass.

“Hey, I’m talking to you,” again with a weird tone of voice.

“Are you waiting for somebody?” His finger makes the old western thundering. “’Cause you can’t park in here.”

“No, I’m just texting, ‘cause I can’t drive and text, so I just pulled over to do it.”

I was sure this man just wanted to know what I was doing so he would leave me alone, but I was wrong.

“Hey man,” again the sergeant voice, “this is my property, and you can’t park in here.”

I stopped texting; we looked directly into each other’s eyes after the movement of his long white fingers showed me the 9mm on his belt.

“A lot of cops are arresting people who are parking on my property.”

I had millions of things to say, but I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say a thing because I was so afraid to get shot that day. I was so afraid to observe and point out the fact of his misunderstanding. I was afraid of someone with the power of having a gun and shooting with the lucky roulette of justice—maybe he would think it was self-defense; maybe I was with somebody who wanted desperately to know how it felt to cold-bloodedly kill someone.

I was just stopping—doing what I thought was right, not risking anybody’s life; but in this American dystopia, I could just be illegal, right?

He didn’t shoot, thank god. I left saying a bad word in Spanish, feeling my blood boiling, thinking of the moment when I felt my life was at risk, when that creep felt superior, powerful… and yes, he made me cry.

I called my friend Brenda to tell her with my eyes like two water pits, “Dude, I don’t know but I think I did something wrong, and I almost get shot. I think I was parking on the man’s property, but I don’t know, teach; tell me. I don’t want this to happen to me again.”

And yes, I tried to blame myself, because in this world, I’m more afraid to call the cops than just to say, “I was wrong. He has all the rights.”

And I ate my anger. I ate my words. I ate my pride, and I ate my humanity, and I tried to digest it all, but it’s absurd just to ignore it.

The actual concept of community is so strange; we are now in a place where ideologies haven taken the reins of coexistence. We’ve taken a turn in this society that has been divided in to absurd, small parts.

We are dividing families and relationships, closing the door to progress. The world will never be the same. Fear is understandable, but that doesn’t mean things have to keep getting worse.

The true community fights united, using dialogue, hand-in-hand with leaders capable of finding a way to make improvements possible. We already have too many leaders who play the game of manipulation and division to create controversy, putting up ideological barriers, and using violence as a solution to the changes that are approaching.

The future is built in the present, so we are still on time to build a future for us—a future where we can talk, express what we need and what we feel, avoiding the use of intimidation, violence, guns, xenophobia, or any other negative action against others.

I want to say that I feel safe now in bed, because there are still people out there doing the right thing and making me want to be part of this positive evolution. I’m going to do everything I can to contribute to this dream that I have pursued for six years—to be part of an America that greets its neighbors personally, that supports the improvement of this country.

So, I want to say that we must give new meaning to that phrase: “Make America great again.” We really need to.

But let’s make it great like it’s never been before. Without this hateful twist.

I don’t like this dystopia.

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