And then there he is, strapping outside the bar and strapped. I know this as we walk up, because I know him, and I know he has his gun on him. As me and my girlfriend saunter up to the bar on a Monday night, and I need to look away. I have to look away. I can’t look at him, because I know he has a gun, and I am merely drunk and flirty on a Monday night.
I go into the bar and I hide in my corner with my friends. I know he has a gun, and I know it has nothing to do with me. Nothing to do with me at all, but I want no part of it regardless. Which is why I run away, and I try not to look at him. I don’t want to be there. I don’t want to be the one standing next to him when his hand goes down and grabs. I don’t want to condone it. I don’t want this to be okay. I don’t want to be the woman that every points at and says, “Why didn’t she stop this?”
But I didn’t start this. It’s not my fault he has a gun at this bar. He has a gun at this bar because he has always had a gun at this bar because this is who he is. He is the guy who comes to the bar with a gun, even when it’s Monday night, even when it’s Downtown Oakland, even when everyone else here is a hipster with hipster pretensions.
But he doesn’t get that. Which is why he has a gun at this bar, which is why I am walking away right now. This isn’t cool, and this isn’t tough. As we both down our shots at opposite ends of the bar. I will fuck him before he goes to sleep tonight, but before that happens, I will run away from him and his gun. I know that this is not some fabricated fantasy land where he walks around with his gun all the time, but instead, I realize that there is something insidious about a man with a gun, who has always had a gun, who will always have gun. Who has a gun not because he has fallen victim to the hood trappings of a culture gone awry, but because this is the city where he was born. These are the streets he has walked all his life. This is the life he has always known, and it has never been different. This is natural to a man like him, and I am not a woman who can defy nature.
There is glamor in these rap songs as they blast across the speakers in this dark, dark bar, but there is danger and hopelessness among us as he walks around with his gun in his bag. There is a difference between those two things, but I’m not sure that most people can point it out.