Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 83

This is what’s beyond patriarchy. Vulnerability. Acceptance. Informed compassion. turn to meet his approach, and he repeats the a middle-aged white man I am guessing to be question, “Are you okay?” And again, I am able both cis and hetero, sees me and asks if I am to say, “Yes, I just got some bad news.” He looks okay. His hand is on my groceries, but he has at me, my piercings, the coloring of my hair not made a move to do anything with them and my nails and my skin, and my black hoodie because in this moment what is more impor- declaring that I am “Straight Outta Oakland”. tant is the answer to the question of whether or not I am okay. I know this because I can feel He reaches for me and places his hand on my shoulder, tenderly, and says “And with what- his concern on the breeze coming through the ever it is, with the way that things are going in window of welcome he has opened to see me this country right now…” more clearly. My eyes rise to He is unable to finish the meet his and although every- And we stand there, in sentence as he is now on the thing that was already hap- this store, grieving and edge of falling into tears, pening will continue to be sorrowful and connected. but I understand. true, in that moment, I can say, honestly “I am, I just got His head drops, and I reach some bad news.” my hand across my heart to rest it on his. He lifts his head and pulls me into a huge bear My body is shaking, and I ask him if I can hug. And we stand there, in this store, grieving pull a paper towel sheet from the roll at the and sorrowful and connected. The cashier gives unoccupied register next to his. He says, “Of his permission, holds this sacred space. I can course,” and I do. As I do the next customer in line—male, older, White, who I am also guess- feel the permission wafting over the counter, I can feel it in his waiting, because he is done ing to be cis and hetero- comes closer. He ap- proaches me with not quite hesitancy, but with ringing me up and he is not rushing us. He is witnessing us. an awareness that I might not want him to. I “ VOL. 34, NO. 1 ” © 2019 TIKKUN MAGAZINE 83