Sometimes, my husband leaves his wallet at home. He leaves it lying carelessly on the dining room table or on the brown, felt-covered cube I bought two years ago from Wal-Mart to store extra pencils and exercise books.
For some women, the sight of a wallet lying unattended presents a rare opportunity to spend some unbudgeted cash, go snooping for contraband, or for the truly OCD, rearrange its contents by color and function. In the early days and on the occasions when my husband would have this lapse in memory, the sight of his wallet would cause anxiety to rise within me.
What would he eat that afternoon for lunch if he had no money?
Would he have to forage for food in the company fridge?
What if he wanted to buy something online for Cyber Monday and missed out on an great deal because his wallet was here at home with me, in my lap?
“Babe…you left your wallet on the bed. Do you want me to bring it to you?”
“Nah. It’s okay. I don’t really need it. It’s too far and not worth the traffic. I’ll see you later.”
His response implies that he will be okay…that he will not be forced to become the office rat who ate up all the left over crackers from last month’s company lunch and washed them down with packets of mustard whose freshness is far from guaranteed. He would be doing no online shopping that day.
But as time has gone on, I have noticed that my anxiety about his leaving his wallet has morphed from merely feeling unsettled at its sight to a full, fretful fever. What if he was involved in an accident and didn’t have his license on him? What if the officer called to the scene made the assumption that the Mercedes my husband was driving – old as it may be – was stolen because he did not have that little plastic 3×5 card to confirm he was who he said he was and that he was Old Faithful’s owner? What if a routine traffic stop became deadly all because he had left his wallet by our bedside?
I had all these fears long before Ray Tensing shot Samuel Dubose in the head last month. Shot him on with a digital device recording the entire incident. Shot him and lied about the sequence of events and got other officers to corroborate his version of events. If not for the recorded evidence revealing how quickly Ray Tensing reached for his gun and murdered Sam Dubose, this nation would have accepted – once again – the false narrative that there was a “struggle for the gun” and that the officer had shot the victim in “self-defense”. America would again suckle and console itself with the warm, bitter lies of fed to it from the blind folded vixen we know as Justice. Sam Dubose would have been painted as no angel, a thug who got what he deserved because…
Well, I don’t know what that because might be. What is the justification for this? All Ray Tensing had to do was run Samuel Debose’s name as he requested repeatedly after explaining he did not have his license on him. Instead, Ray Tensing executed him.
This is what I think of every time I see my husband’s wallet lying on the table, unattended. I yell his name to make sure he’s not too far from the house. I chase after his car or call him back home to get it if he’s left.
The sight of my husband’s wallet left alone, cold on the table, separated from the back pocket of its owner creates a panic within me. It is the same panic I feel with the onset of spring; when warm weather signals the scheduled and anticipated deaths of many an unarmed Black man, woman and child in America. Isn’t it ironic that the much welcomed season that ushers the regeneration of life for flora and fauna is the herald for the termination for so many that look like me, my kids, my husband…
Sometimes, as I’m walking through the aisles of the grocery store or pensively pumping gas, I’ll hear a brother yell out:
“Hey, baby! Why don’t you smile? It can’t be that bad.”
I quickly plaster a false grin on my face in hopes that the flash of teeth will send the questioner on his way. It would take too long to explain that yes, brother, it could be that bad – and here’s why. But I don’t do that.
Instead, I never let me husband leave the house without his wallet.