The Conversation, part two

Sophia quickens her step, chasing after Lefty, who did what his name suggests–he left–just as things were heating up with Harmon.

“Hey,” she calls out in a curt, half-friendly voice, like there was just one quick thing to discuss. Lefty slows but doesn’t turn, like he’s been caught by an officious school mistress. Maybe she doesn’t want much. Maybe she just wants to understand the few jibes he’d directed at her; the oblique remarks about her name, that of Harmon–his curious take on things. “I’m the community analyst,” he’d said in parting. Sophia catches up with him, is slightly breathless as she takes a pause, thinks about her name and wants to change it.

“I wanna know what’s up with you,” she asks.

“Oh, right. Acknowledgement”

“What?

“Nothing. Just something that was said.” Sophia blinks, taking in the data. It doesn’t compute. “Look, can’t you just be straight. We’re trying to have a serious conversation.”

“So am I,” Lefty replies with aplomb.

Sophia recoils. “It seems more like it’s a game to you–a game of hide and seek. I mean, do you even have an opinion about what happened. Do you think an injustice occurred, is happening, like all the time?”

“I don’t know,” Lefty shrugs. Sophia’s eyes narrow: a blur of contempt and hurt.

“How can you not know? Do you honesty think that if that kid had looked like you or me, the same thing would have happened? Don’t you see the inequality that’s all around you, or do you just not care because to look at it would mean you’d have to give up your privilege?”

Symbolically, unconsciously, Lefty looks askance, past Sophia’s shoulder, her hot, burning eyes. He sighs.

“Actually, I do think those inequities exist, and I do think them unjust. I just don’t know if the incident yesterday was an example of that.”

“Are you kidding?”

Lefty straightens, gulps. “No I’m not. That incident needs to be looked at on an individual basis, not as something representing a trend. Those people, all of them, deserve a fair hearing, not to be treated as scapegoats.”

Sophia protrudes her face into his. “Really?” she retorts, portending sarcasm. “You think all of them are scapegoats, as in equally?”

“Maybe,” Lefty musters.

“You need to wake up, friend, and by the way, I’m not sure you are a friend. You need to get off the fence, open your eyes. I can’t believe this. It’s so frustrating to know people who just refuse to see things. I could tell you about countless stories of people getting abused, persecuted. I bet that none of that has ever happened to you. I mean, I’m not saying this never happens to us, but…whatever.” She stops, takes a breath just as her volume reaches some predetermined threshold. She looks away, heaves a deep breath.

Disgust.

Lefty searches for her gaze, his own breath trapped. He has nothing left to say, and neither does she, but her job is done. Satisfied, she sees it in him, finally–what she’ll settle for. Lefty is uncomfortable.

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