Black Eye Ch. 01byvelvetpie©
"I don't believe it!"
I sat on the couch in my aunt Tywrella's house, staring into the startled face of my mother, Renisha. Auntie Ty stood behind her with Uncle Revis at her side, his mouth hanging open as well. I had just told them the most important news of my life. Being twenty-three and a new college graduate, I was excited about finding a job in my chosen field of profession and becoming an independent adult. So I decided that before I left home, possibly forever, I thought I'd let the people who mattered the most in my life what was going on in my personal life. I was in love. And he was white.
"You're joking, right?" Uncle Revis choked the words out, shaking his head in disbelief. "Right?"
"No, I'm not joking. I'm in love, Uncle Revis, and he's fantastic!"
"He's white." Auntie Ty deadpanned, staring at me.
"So? What does that have to do with the price of rice in China?"
"Everything when it's the rice that you're talking about!" My mother nearly shouted, rocking back and forth. I turned my head before I rolled my eyes, recognizing her body language. She'd be calling on God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost next. She always resorted to that when she was upset. It used to have an effect on me when I was younger but the fear factor had long worn off. I only saw my controlling mother and my ignorant racist relatives.
"What could you possibly be thinking of, bringing a white boy into our family?" Auntie Ty asked, coming to sit down next to me. Her tone of voice and the concern in her touch made me suddenly feel like I was in the midst of an intervention.
"Just because he's white doesn't make a difference, Mama! He has a good heart and he's pre-med so he's got a good head on his shoulders … "
"Then let him take it somewhere else!" My uncle hissed, grabbing his St. Ides and sitting on the other end of the sectional couch. "Tarynn, you know better than this!"
"What do I know better than? Are you all seriously sitting here and telling me that I can't have a white boyfriend?"
Revis looked to his wife who looked over at my mother. Of course, Renisha would be the one to answer. "Yes. You can't bring a white person into this family."
My skin went cold and the heat of blood coursing through my body evaporated like fog in the face of the sun. I was numb and I thought I'd suddenly been paralyzed. "You're not serious?"
"We're very serious." Auntie Ty came around and sat next to her husband, glaring at me as if I was an interloper. "White people are devils. They only want to marry into our pure black families to dilute our race."
"You don't really believe that, do you, Auntie T?"
"Of course I do! I've been around long enough to see it. It's just the same as it was back in the slave days. Master would find the strongest male and have him mate with the strongest female. Those children would be bred like thoroughbreds, studded out to the highest bidder and worked in the fields until Master was rich."
I shook my head, not quite believing what I was hearing. "You've been reading too many Alex Haley books."
"You're god-damned right and I don't want any Queenies in my family!"
I sat stunned at the vehemence in her tone. I got the inference she was making. Queenie was mixed, the product of the black and white races mixing together and my aunt was telling me, to my face, that she didn't want any mixed children in her family. My mother's sister, one of the women who had raised me and knew me like the skin on the back of her hand, was telling me that if I continued my relationship with Michael, I would no longer be welcomed in my family.
"But that's not fair, Auntie T! You don't know him! I know that if you all met him, you'd think differently."
"Don't think so." My uncle thumbed the television into life, flipping through until he found the Lakers game. "White people do not belong in our family, Tarynn. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever."
"I can't believe this!" I stood up, looking at them while trying to keep my temper in check. "All these years, you've told me that racism is wrong, that treating someone differently because of the color of his skin was wrong but you tell me that I can't date or marry someone of another race?"
"Racism is wrong, Tarynn. Lord knows enough of our people have gone through it to prove that it's wrong but accepting one of the enemy into our fold is not going to make it any better." My mother refused to look at me as she spoke the words. "And he is the enemy."
I couldn't listen to any more. I grabbed my purse and keys from the console, wondering what the hell I was going to tell my boyfriend, the kind, gentle man who had captured my heart and had come to Atlanta with me to attend the family reunion with me in order to meet my family, how was I going to be able to tell him that he is the enemy?