White Lady Worries
by Mary Wescott Riser
In the shopping center parking lot
I see two women having a conversation.
One of them is wearing bold, gold shoes.
I can’t stop looking.
I walk past, then turn my head to look back once more.
Now I feel embarrassed. They know I’m looking.
Maybe they think I am condemning, judging, condescending.
So I go back and excuse myself.
I tell them I was admiring the gold shoes.
They relax, and she tells me she found them on sale at Macy’s in Las Vegas.
With their brown skin and her purple hair and piercings,
I wanted them to know I admired the shoes.
I want them to like me.
* * * * *
Mary Wescott Riser worked in Virginia independent schools for 30 years, most recently as Head of School at James River Day School, a K-8 day co-ed day school in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she served as Head for ten years. Mary received her B.A. in English and Philosophy from Georgetown University and her M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Oregon. She writes the education blog “What’s Best For the Children?” www.maryriser.org. Mary and her husband, George, live in Covesville, Virginia and have two adult children.