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Updated: Sep 1, 2022

By Sophia Parnell

One day, I went to the REI near where I lived in Boston.

After finding the thermal clothing I was looking for,

I paid at the checkout. As I turned out of line to exit the

store, a white man blocked me.

“What do you think of those sunglasses?,” he asked.

He gestured towards a pair in the display case to our left.

Why was this man talking to me?

Had he not just seen me pay?

Wouldn’t it be implied I was trying to leave?

I tried to ignore the way my stomach dropped when he

spoke to me. I smiled brightly, crafting an interesting enough response that would get him off my back.

The man laughed.

“you look like you could easily break the glass for me.”

My raging heartbeat became coupled with bile

at the back of my throat. I laughed uncomfortably, and

dismissively wished him luck in picking out sunglasses.

I rushed out the door past him.

As I walked to my next destination,

I blasted music in my headphones to forget.

About the Author:

Sophia Parnell (she/her) is a born and raised Coloradan who reflects upon her experiences as a Black woman in the United States through poetry and journaling. She’s passionate about life-long learning surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion topics and initiatives.

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