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April 15th - Part 2.

Blue tarp covers a medium framed body in a vacant lot where a Detroit home once stood. Tan colored timberland boots and a red hoodie are the only visible clothing items. I can’t see the face. “That’s not him. Please tell me that’s not Yash!” my voice shakes. The tears fall. I feel weak. My knees are giving in beneath me – “NO! That’s NOT HIM!” I try to convince myself. “How do we know that’s him - I need to see his face.” I begin to walk in the direction of the body that’s laying in the open field surrounded by dirt and brown patches of grass. My steps are interrupted by the police officer at the scene, “Ma’am this is a crime scene, you can’t go over there”. The officer doesn’t understand my anxiety. My voice shakes, “But that’s my brother and I need to see him”. With his hands up, blocking my path, he doesn’t reply.

We played the waiting game. The sounds of women wailing could be heard in the wind. The sun is setting, the rain is steady, the air is cold. His body is still laying on the ground, in the mud. “I know that blue tarp is soaked - I’m sure his face is wet - I know that hoodie isn’t keeping him warm”, my thoughts are becoming delusional. I just want to pick him up and dust him off so we can all go home and get warm. I’m waiting for him to pull up in one of the vehicles, with one of his friends. I’m praying this nightmare on Bentler street is not my new reality.

The family is gathered and surrounded by friends. We have two blocks in the neighborhood filled with vehicles and people. I look around at the love. I look around to see all the people whose lives he touched in some way. I look around in hopes to see his face come through the crowd.

The sun is gone. The moon lights the dark blue sky. The rain is harder. The temperature is even lower. But yet, we stand! We all gather. Waiting for that confirmation. Longing for answers. Waiting to see his face. No one is leaving until his body is lifted from the ground. We all begin to pray.

The yellow tape is lowered. The coroner arrives. They lift his cold stiff body onto the gurney. Our prayers have turned into songs. We’re crying, we’re hugging, we’re singing.

They uncover his face – Yash!

He was murdered.

To be continued.

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