If Jackie Trumpleton was anything, wearing the mask of a victim, pun intended, was not in her exhaustive repertoire. She had forgotten that minor detail momentarily as the cab bored down Interstate 95 South from the Arlington Detention Facility to her residence in Old Town Occoquan, where she anticipated reveling in some quiet time. She had obviously overlooked another detail, which wasn’t so inconsequential, as the taxi turned left on Mill Street from Gordon Boulevard and then right onto Poplar Lane.
At eight o’clock in the morning, a crowd lined the streets. Men, women, children, and even babies in strollers and carriers looked as if they were expecting the Macy’s Day Parade or maybe even the funeral of a celebrity. It took Jackie several minutes to realize the gathering was reserved in her honor, or dishonor. The gawkers were out in full force, stationed since five in the morning to stake their spot, to see what had caused the pandemonium on the 128-square-foot acres of their quaint town.
As the cab drove by Ebenezer Baptist Church on the right, Jackie could have sworn as they passed the big white house on the left with a wraparound porch, an elderly black man sitting in a rocking chair with the largest dog she had ever seen in her life laying at his feet, mouthed the words “we forgive you,” which contradicted the glares from the majority of white onlookers.