I walked out of my home to the car and then drove a short way to the train station. On the station’s platform, I saw two women, one in a dress, black and white. I believe it was made up of strips. The woman next to her wore an African print, turquoise, asymmetrical skirt with a cute white shirt tucked in. They both wore flats; I should have done the same. I looked at them and automatically assumed we were all headed in the same direction, and I assumed they felt the same about me.
Exiting the station – I walked, they followed. Not so much following me, but following the route to pay respect. Walking this route led me down and around a block. The more people I saw, the faster I walked until I came to the last person I could see and limped in place. I stood there and waited. Not too soon after the two women dressed well but comfortable, walked passed me to the end of the continuously growing line.
I wanted to find a coworker friend who had come earlier and had waited for hours in the sun. I wanted to skip the line. So politely I turned to the man behind me and said, “I’m going to find a friend, if I can’t find her will you allow me back my spot?” He nodded yes, barely looking up from the cell phone he held. I went on a short but uneventful journey and was back not so soon after. I could not find her; she was too far ahead. But now, my slight limp has turned to a burning sensation at the bottom of my feet. I wore the wrong shoes. All I could think of was the pain in the bottom of my feet due to these wedges that have lodged a wedge between common sense and me. We’re moving again, and I get closer and closer to the front, my feet are hurting the longer I stand in place or walk, which relatively speaking was not that long and not that far.
Representative John Lewis stood, sat, and marched for me. He walked for miles, was bashed over the head, and beat mercilessly. He organized, planned, educated himself – was elected by his community to represent them. He knew, unlike some of us, there are no shortcuts or excuses. Representative John Lewis was and is a human being, who fought for our freedoms to show and prove that you cannot judge, nor suppress one due to an inherited complexion. He asserted his humanity in everything he did, and that is the noblest thing he and every other civil rights leader of then and now can do, is be human. Showing that we all bleed, no begging, just constant feet to the pavement work ethic, a work ethic as relentless as any beating or injustice. So jumping in a car, riding a train and walking to stand at the bottom of the United States Capitol to whisper, thank you, as his body lie in state, was the very least I could do.