Two Red Scarves

It smeared red on my palms. Dripped dark tears between my trembling fingers. Drops tumbled down to rejoin the blood pouring from the unconscious, swelling face on the ground. That face roared up in recognition and stabbed my brain so that I would never forget…


White cloth flowed from my hands.  I flapped the scarf outward until it unraveled and flagged in the winter wind.

“This is the perfect birthday gift, Eva.” I massaged the soft silk.

“Be careful, Danielle, my mom just weaved this one.  I’d hate for it to get ruined before you can give it as a birthday gift.”

My ears chilled in the harsh wind.  I pulled down my coat hood and wrapped the scarf around my head.  “I promise to take care of it, but for now it’s keeping my ears warm.”

Eva’s dark eyes shot wide. “Look out!” she shrieked.   I heard rushing footsteps, then a sharp pain struck the side of my head.  Eva’s face disappeared.


I landed my punch to the side of the person’s head.  The weak loser collapsed like a heavy brick.  I swung at the other one, but she fled screaming.  Oh well, one loser down is enough.  I rolled this one over to punch out their face.

That’s when I saw the blood on my hands and recognized who it was.

“Danielle?”  I dropped down next to her and patted the side of her wounded head. “Dani, wake up!”

My accomplice Bang arrived. “Good hit!” Then, when the recognition dawned: “What the…? Pilot, that’s your sister!”

“Go get help!” I hollered.

I pressed the white scarf Dani wore to the cut near her temple. It wasn’t enough. Blood quickly dyed the white material red.  I felt in my pockets for a tissue but had none.  Then I remembered the white, pilot scarf I wore around my own neck.  It was a gift from Dani last Christmas.  She, like everyone else, knew how much I loved pilot scarves.

I ripped my scarf off and wrapped it around Dani’s head. Her blood quick saturated it, dotting the fabric with tie-dye, black-red patches.  Seeing this pulled panic up from my throat, twisting it into sobs of guilt and regret.

I was supposed to save our country from the others, the people who different than us.  I was told that these scarf-wearing nuisances were nothing but lazy, unclean job-stealers who, unlike our ancestors, didn’t deserve a chance in this country.  But looking at Dani, I no longer cared who was considered lazy or unclean nor who was stealing what.  All I had accomplished was hurting someone I loved.  “Dani, please wake up,” I croaked hoarsely.


The doctor said I would make a full recovery—though I still had concussion headaches, and I sported a wide, bluish-red scar above my left ear.  However, with my hair down, you can’t see it.

Pilot’s court date is next month.  His lawyer comforted my crying parents by assuring them that because it’s Pilot’s first offense, he’ll probably just get probation, counseling and community service.  Besides, the guilt from hurting his own sister while committing a hate crime would probably be punishment enough.

But it is not enough.  Often when he tries to hug me and apologize, the flashbacks explode in my mind, and I shrink away from him.


Today, I wrap a blood-soaked scarf around my neck.  I wait as Dani ties her hair up with the now red-stained scarf she had bought that day for my birthday.  She makes sure the scar from her attack can be clearly seen.  We sit silently next to each other in a community center room and wait for it to fill up with kids about the same age as us.

In a minute, we will be addressing them about the dangers of racism and bullying.  Dani and I will pull off our matching red scarves, and Dani will show her scar.  Then I will warn them.  I will warn them that sooner or later, racism and bullying goes full circle.  And it will come back to hurt them and the ones they love.