No matter what race you are, falling in love and introducing that significant other to your family can be a trying experience.
What if my family doesn’t like them? What if they think they are not good enough for me? What if….???? The list can go on an on.
The tension is compounded when you are in an interracial relationship. When do you let your family decide what’s best for you and when do you go with your heart?
In this excerpt, Ebony gets an unexpected phone call from her older sister, Lashana who lives hundreds of miles away…
“Why haven’t you called Momma? She’s been dying to call you for the past few weeks. I’ve been keeping her preoccupied to give you some breathing room.”
“Thanks.” She’d been running interference since my move to California. Seven years later and my mother still had a hard time with it.
“We thought you would call on the Fourth of July. That was how long ago?” she asked pointedly.
“I was preoccupied at the time.” Thoughts of lying in Brian’s arms that night made me smile.
“Translation, you were doing the horizontal mambo with Patrick. Didn’t you guys break up?”
“We did, months ago. He’s getting married by the way.”
“Damn. Okay,” she drawled. “If it wasn’t him then it was someone else. Come on; let it out. It’s my job as big sister to make sure you’ve got your head on straight.”
“I do have my head on straight.”
“Oh, you’re snippy. Interesting. Don’t hold back, girl, spill the beans.”
I sighed. It doesn’t matter what she or anyone else in my family thinks.
“His name is Brian. He plays in a band.”
“He owns a lawn maintenance business and plans to get hired working for a recording studio soon.” I cursed silently.
There was no reason for me to try and convince her of anything. Talking up Brian’s attributes would never make a difference to my family. He could damn near be Donald Trump rich and they’d still have something to say about his race. But then again…
“Let me get this straight. He’s in a band. He cuts grass for a living, and his dream job is to work in a studio? How old is this guy?” She laughed through the phone. “He sounds straight out of high school. Not to mention, you’re studying to be a doctor, well not a human doctor, but still. You need someone who’s more on your level. A real professional.”
Her comments set my teeth on edge. Brian’s career choice made no difference to me. He worked hard and was good with everything he did. He had goals and was on his way to meeting them. That’s what mattered to me.
My family seemed to believe my ideal man would have a well-paying job. And be black.
“And what black man does that?” she continued. “Wouldn’t he be out trying to be a rapper?”
“He’s white, Shana.”
I could practically hear the crickets from back home chirping through the phone.
“Did you say I’m right? Something must be wrong with the connection because it sounded like you said he was white.”
I steeled myself for her retort. “Brian is white.”
“Oh. Hell. No. What are you doing messing with a white guy, Ebony? Are you crazy?” she hissed.
“No, I’m not crazy. I’m just…Brian’s a really nice guy. I decided to give him a chance.”
“Give him a chance? You slept with him, didn’t you?”
“That’s none of your business, Shana. The way you’re acting right now is why I didn’t bother telling you in the first place.” I fought to keep my voice down.
Why waste time getting upset?
“Excuse me; you have noticed racism still exists, right? What good is being with a white man going to do for you? I could understand if he had a good job and made a lot of money, but damn, he sounds as broke as you. And, oh, God, what if you got knocked up?”
I wanted to scream. “He’s not going to knock me up. I’m being safe.”
The line went quiet. “I’m calling Trevon.”
“What does he have to do with this?”
Lashana didn’t answer, only clicked over and left me on a dead line.
I’d long since gotten off the bed and paced back and forth across my room. I was too close to blowing a blood vessel.
“Hello? Ebony, is everything okay?” Trevon’s deep voice broke the silence.
I hadn’t heard my twin’s voice in months. We emailed each other all the time, but catching each other on the phone proved difficult due to the time zone differences and our work schedules. I worked during the day, and he worked at night.
“No, it is not,” Lashana’s aggravated voice broke in.
“Yes, it is, Tre, I don’t know why she called you. It’s not going to make me change my mind,” I said.
“So nobody’s hurt or dying, right?” he asked.
“No,” I said.
“Our sister’s gonna be swinging from a tree if she doesn’t watch it,” Lashana said.
“Shana! I can’t believe you! I’m not in the South, and this is not 1950,” I bellowed.
“Whoa, whoa, will somebody please tell me what the hell is going on with the two of you?”
“Your twin is dating a white man,” Lashana interjected.
“We’ve been seeing each other for a while, but it’s not that serious.” Yet.
“Really? But you’ve slept with him,” she retorted.
“You slept with Tony on your second date!” I threw back at her. “Don’t try to call me a ‘ho.”
“Ladies.”Trevon chuckled. “Calm down. Man, this reminds me of home. I always refereed. First of all, nobody’s a ‘ho, though, Shana, Eb’s got you there.”
“Oh, grow up,” she said sourly.
“I have, quite nicely. Now, let me get this straight, Eb, you’ve gone white?”
I pinched the bridge of my nose, attempting to kill the headache threatening to emerge. “Yes. He’s a good man, better than some knuckleheads I’ve been with since moving here. He took me to meet his family over the holiday at his parents’ house”
“Oh, God,” Lashana mumbled.
“They have no problem with our relationship,” I added quickly. “Especially his sisters. Sorry I can’t say the same of my own.”
“I find that hard to believe,” she said.
“Are you serious about this guy? Does he treat you right?” Trevon had remained silent during our verbal sparring.
I knew then Trevon was on my side. He always understood me. Even as children he always had my back.
“Yes, I wouldn’t be with him if he didn’t. To be honest, I have no idea where this could go. Marriage isn’t what either of us is looking for. I like spending time with him because he’s not domineering and doesn’t expect me to live up to his expectations. He can put up with my mouth”
“He must be the silent type,” Lashana muttered.
“No, he’s the ‘likes-the-way-I- talk-and-gives-it-right-back-to-me type’.” I chuckled. “He’s persistent, that’s for sure. He kept after me even when I told him no. And he is a hard worker, not a slacker at all. He doesn’t use his love of music as an excuse not to work in the meantime. He’s very realistic about what he wants and is supportive of my dreams. That’s what I love most about him.”