I had to check in periodically with my probation officer downtown. His name was Officer Hewitt. Sometimes he was cool and sometimes he was an ass. This day he was an ass.
“Do you like pets?” asked Hewitt.
“Nah.” I answered.
“Are you allergic to them?” he asked.
“No, why?” I replied.
“Ok, good. I’m assigning you a new job for community service. A pet farm. I’m also adding 200 hours for violating your probation with that shoplifting thing. So now you have 250 hours to complete. Also, let me see your shoes.”
Now I was confused, “What? Why you wanna see my shoes?”
“Just let me see the bottom.” He asked sternly.
I lifted my foot off the ground and showed him my Adidas sandal. Despite the fact that there was snow outside I chose that morning to wear sandals instead of my Nike sneakers which has a distinct zig zag pattern on the soles. He briefly inspected the bottom of my sandal and said, “You know anything about a burglary the other day? We got some calls.”
Word had gotten out that an Asian kid had burglarized a house known for drugs and guns. And now the police was following up with their only lead, a sneaker print on a large piece of broken glass left by yours truly. I distinctly remember that my Nikes were wet from the snow and left a zig zag pattern on a piece of glass but didn’t bother with it cause I was in a hurry to leave the crime scene.
Now Officer Hewitt was on to me. I knew exactly what he was talking about, “Nah I don’t know nothing bout that.”
I’m so glad I wore sandals to see my probation officer that day. If I hadn’t wore sandals then I wouldn’t be writing these words to you now. I would’ve gone to juvenile hall a second time and my life would have gone down a completely different path. Someone divine was definitely looking out for me …but the streets wouldn’t let me go so easily.
A few days later I found myself in the middle of the street surrounded by 6 or 7 black dudes from a rival gang. One big dude with braids and a golden tooth had his hands clenched in a fist.
They kept shouting, “Why you talking shit? We heard you’s talking shit!!”
It was chaotic. I knew most of them by name, especially Renaldo, since he’s been to my house before. My heart was beating louder than my words, “What the %&$# you talking about!? I ain’t talking shit about you dawg! Renaldo why you all trippin!”
Finally he tells the truth, “The white boy down the street say you robbed his place. He said he’ll hook us up with weed if we &%$# you up.”
The police wanted me. The streets wanted me. I had nowhere to go. At that moment an elderly white woman stuck her head out the window of a nearby house and screamed for us to break it up because she just called the police. In the distance we could see the red and blue lights of a squad car. Everyone ran left. I ran right. I ran fast. I ran with tears streaming down my face. I ran with anger and hate. I wanted to shoot somebody cause I almost got shot myself…it was a miracle I got away.
Someone divine wanted me even more. Something heavenly was keeping me from going further down that black hole. This Person had a much different plan for me and he just used a pair of sandals and an elderly white woman to save my life.
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