Those Damn New Colors
Bev Vines-Haines
I can’t tell you what to do, child.  That’s up to you. Your story, your problem, it brings back too many memories. I once fell in a love with a boy as different from me as you are from your own young man.  Rich. Weird reality about so many things: food, cars, and even life. That boy was always happy. He said things would work out for us. I knew they wouldn’t.

Grandma wouldn’t have it. She said my guy would leave me one day, probably with a child or two and go riding off into the sunset with some blonde named Tiffany. Remember how my father drove a bus?  He was a Union Man.  Rich boys don’t need the union. There’s so much they don’t need. Mostly they don’t need confidence.  They are born with it. They know they’re going to go to college, find a good job and live a wonderful life.

Thing is, it never felt like he was bad.  We went wonderful places. Parks. Movies. Concerts. He was always good to me. I think my best memory is how we laughed. He never worried about anything. Always had money in his pocket. Weren’t many homeless folks back then but when he saw one he always gave them money, slapped them on the back and told a joke or two.  Like talking to a friend, you know?

Still Grandma worried about me bringing home those babies he was going to abandon. I never once went out the door to meet him without listening to all her warnings. One day it was just too much. I told him good-bye.

Crazy thing, he came to the house, nodded to my Mama and swept me up in his arms like Richard Gere in that movie. He told my mother, “A man is not a can of peaches. You can’t just slap a label on him and set him on a shelf.” That was more than twenty years ago. We had you and your siblings. He never left us. Never hurt us in any way. Now you love a poor boy? You think his politics and values might not work for you? Stop looking at the outside. Who does he love? Does he always keep his word? This world wants to sweep us into little piles. Too rich. Too poor. Too liberal. Too smart. And on and on and on.

Rich and poor, conservative and liberal, they are just the new colors of our skin. So love him if you do, trust him if you can and tell the world to stay in its own lane.  Me and daddy?  We love you with every ounce of our beings.

First published: February 2017
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