On our way to a friend’s house for a “Hurray, We’re Vaccinated !” backyard barbecue, my wife and I stopped off at the local food specialty store whose motto, “Live Well, With Taste,” proudly announces itself as you enter its doors and shop it’s fancy fare.
Sandra waits in the car while I head inside and quickly navigate to the Floral Fresh section knowing that I need to get my flowers and get out, quick. We were hungry and we were running late for our al fresco dinner. I decided on two tulip bouquets, one yellow, the other purple. Moving swiftly, I reached Lane 2 where I gently handed the flowers to the cashier who zapped them with her pricing gun and politely demanded, “Fourteen dollars, please.” I stopped for a second, fully aware that these flowers were a costly, but lovely gesture for our dinner hostess. My decision to open my wallet and swipe my debit card was just that, my decision. Walking back to the car, I was struck by how easily I surrendered my cash for these flowers, these signs of a Spring we’ve all been desperately waiting for.
Afternoon Splurge ( photo by Ruben Avilio Mauricio )
Turning left onto Maple Road , I stopped at Dexter Avenue and waited. It’s a long red at this intersection, giving me plenty of time to find the words for my letter.
Dear Fancy Food Emporium,
I am a person of color who wishes all my Brown and Black brothers & sisters could find access to the excellent choice of high quality and immense flavor provided by your retail and restaurant options. I realize you’re a for-profit venture; however, I know my friends who are shopping across the street at the corner supermarket are, indeed, aware of their sustained invisibility. Your store provides variety, taste and choice. But, please remember, there’s a quiet lie of omission happening in your carefully curated aisles and in-store eateries : the absence of true culture and vibrancy reflected from Ann Arbor’s community of color. I am Brown and my dollar’s voice is beautiful and strong and powerful and lovely.
Ruben Avilio Mauricio
Carol’s Sunday Dinner Table (photo by Ruben Avilio Mauricio )
Pulling into the driveway, Sandra and I noticed the deck was deserted, a last-minute call to move dinner indoors, I guess. Carol welcomed us with a hug and guided us to the bay window where the table was set with a bouquet of flowers in an old, crystal vase. The orange tulips were plentiful and bold. As we sat down to enjoy the pesto, I noticed the yellow and purple tulips I brought resting on the kitchen counter waiting, just like my letter to Fancy Food Emporium.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Photo credit: Ruben Avilio Mauricio ( Author )