Today was supposed to be our wedding day. We agreed that nothing would take this day away from us. My gown was white, and I looked like a queen. I’ve been waiting for my whole life for this. Franklin looked like a black James Bond in his tuxedo, his head shaved and glistening in the sunlight.
Our church, the one where we’d met as kids, and had booked a year in advance, was right in the middle of the protest zone. There was no way we could get married there, not after it was surrounded. So we decided we would use our day to make a difference, and we got married right in the middle of the gathering, everyone cheering; Twitter picked up the story from the news, and we were heroes, celebrities. Two professional black people, a knight and his princess, joining the fight against racism.
We were marching all day. I was hot and tired in my gown, even through I was wearing my reception dress, the sexy one that was low cut in the front and was only long enough to cover my garters. I was ready to go, but Franklin was still talking to people, still having a great time, acting like he was a college student protesting the world trade federation all over again.
Then the police were there, and it was chaos. Shouts to disperse and to return to our homes echoes off loudspeakers. The crowd was thick, people were shouting; there was fighting with the police. Two men with body armor were fending off policemen with billyclubs. I heard screams, and a man screaming “you shot him, you shot him!” Someone grabbed my hair and yanked me to the ground. “Missy, you got to come with us.”
“Hey, hey!” I shouted. I was being pulled. “If you want me to come, I’ll come! There’s no need for this!” I was thrown to the ground, and saw the police standing in a ring in front of me. “You have a right to remain silent …” one of them began chanting as I stood and put my arms behind me to receive my handcuffs.
“What am I being arrested for? We were peacefully demonstrating!” The officer who had handcuffed me was pushing me forward toward a line of handcuffed prisoners.
“Ma’am, you’ve got a real pretty dress on here. Why don’t you shut the fuck up before I’m forced to get it bloody for you?” His voice was muffled by his face mask, but I recognized the elongated middle syllables, the dropped r’s, and the diphthong on the word “real” as the requisite Georgia accent possessed by every television and movie racist. I’d studied speech patterns and their connection to perceived socioeconomic status as part of my undergraduate sociology, before I wised up and went into finance.
I stood in line and waited for what felt like hours; I got into the van with a group of sweaty protestors, and was taken to the holding area. I was fingerprinted, photographed, and brought into a room by myself with a broad shouldered female police officer, taller than me, without a hint of a smile. The male officers left and shut the door, and she commanded me. “All right, Ms. Green, take off all your clothes and leave them on the table.”
“All of them?” I’d been dreading this, and my whole body started to shake.
“That’s right. If you don’t do it, I’ve got to do it for you.” She folded her arms in front of her. “What is it, your wedding day?”
I nodded as I started to cry, reaching behind myself to unzip my dress. “Your husband a black guy too? A lot of you pretty black girls get scooped up by those college boys.” She grinned, and I put my dress on the table.
“He’s black,” I said, putting my dress on the table. I took off my pumps, and now felt much shorter than the guard. I leaned forward to undo my garter belt, that hallmark of the public ritual undressing of the bride at the reception.
“I bet you suck a good dick.” She smiled widely, and I could see she was missing her right front tooth. “All you black girls start giving head early, right?”
“I don’t want to talk about that.” I was from Boston. I had a university education, and I was Phi Beta Kappa. Had I ever been disrespected like this before? Treated like an unruly hooker? I stood now in just my bra and thong, waiting to be checked over.
“Don’t stop, girl, you have to be naked.” I sighed, hoping that if I complied, everything would be over. I undid my bra, and dropped it on the table. This lingerie matched my dress. It was supposed to be Franklin’s surprise, only for him. I took off my thong.
“Ladies like you, I’m surprised you haven’t shaved. Now, I have to search your person.” My whole body was quivering now, and tears were streaming down my face. “Turn around, and put your hands on the table.”
I heard the snap of a rubber glove, and her hands were combing through my hair. She felt the sides of my neck, and turned my head to open my mouth, putting her thick finger in. “Don’t you bite me,” she growled, pushing into my cheeks. I gagged on the foul taste.
She reached around and felt my breasts, lifting them and feeling in between them. “Black girls have some great breasts.” I had stopped crying; I just wanted this humiliation to be over. She drew her hands over my abdomen, down my hips and legs, and then pushed my feet apart.
“OK, bend over, touch your toes, and reach back and spread your cheeks.” God, I didn’t deserve this. This was my wedding day. I complied, and heard the plop of Vaseline. Her thick fingers entered me roughly. “I’m surprised you’re not wetter than this. I always thought that black girls got hot for anything at all.”
Apparently satisfied with probing my vagina, she slid her finger back to my anus, pushing the finger in a deep as she could. I choked. “Come on, I bet you give your ass to all the guys.” She turned her finger around, laughing, and pulled it out.
Then the shouting started, outside the door. The fire alarm went off. She told me to put my dress back on, that something was wrong. I left the lingerie and got my dress back on. I was halfway zipped when the door burst open, and men and women, not police streamed through the door, punched the officer and knocked her to the ground. “She’s back here!” A man with long hair and a beard shouted, and I saw him, still dressed in his tuxedo shirt and slacks, now with the cuffs rolled back and the white shirt smeared with soot and blood. Franklin. “You came for me.” I said, and I fell into his arms, weeping uncontrollably. He held me, and led me with the mob out of the police station. We walked for a long time until we found someone with a cell phone, and called for an Uber.