There is a black and blue mark in the form of the Nike logo planted under my left eye. The bruise that has formed is not purple, but dark black. The mark of shame runs from the corner of my already sad lower eyelid, across my high cheek bone and curves upward again, coming to a symmetrical point just under a piercing hazel stare.
I saw stars when the mark on my eye was planted, but I did not realize damage to my radiant glow had occurred because there was so much blood pouring from my scalp at the time. I thought for sure I would die in this incident.
I was holding the wound on my head when I awoke on the floor in the hallway outside of my apartment door. A gang of three young men and one older step-father was the cause. They live upstairs. I was awoken from a hot afternoon slumber by the voice of my lover late Monday evening. He cried– “Charles, Help!” I came running as fast as I could. I ran into the hallway into the midst of an argument that had yet to fully erupt. It was my head that received the brunt of everyone’s anger that day.
Perhaps the pool of blood that had trickled from my scalp was enough to scare the four angry men and my lover from fighting any longer. I crawled on my hands and knees across a dusty floor of the hallway. A long smear of blood was left in my wake. I made it back inside the apartment where crumbs of corn chips laying at the foot of the sofa were a welcome relief to these sad eyes. I collapsed upon the chips, my head seeping the salsa, and every inch of my consciousness was still dizzy from being struck on the back of the head by a blunt object.
Someone shouted the police were coming. The neighbors ran upstairs. My lover helped me to our sofa. I was so hot. Salty blood had mixed with a layer of sticky sweat covering my body and I felt as though I were being suffocated as my forehead began to sob heavy red tears of anguish.
“Let me go,” I cried to my lover as I pulled off a yellow UCLA shirt I was wearing and wrapped my head. The police finally convinced me to let go of the shirt.
“Do you remember who did this to your head,” a policeman asked.
“What did they do to my head?” I asked, feeling with my hand, the back of my head. I didn’t see who did it.” I replied. “It happened so fast.”
“They cut you with something. This is a typical gang marking,” the policeman explained. We have to take you to the emergency room, but all of you are being arrested.”