A most anticipated weekend. I had been watching this scene in my head since I was little. My personal favorite. Only, the leading role playing opposite to me was never cast. Sure, in my imaginative screen play, there was a stand in, but I had yet to find the real deal. Let me set up the scene. Girl goes to college. Meets boy. They fall in love. She brings him home to meet her family. They all get along and live happily ever after. Of course, in my director’s cut there are much more elaborate scenes, but you get the picture.
Truth is, I would have been reaching with this outline if I was the one whom had gotten along well with my family. That would have been a fairy tale ending all on its own. Maybe I was hopeful that once I had met this wonderful person, he would help catapult me to reach my parent’s high expectations. Maybe I enjoyed living in the scene I concocted in my head. Maybe, deep down, I knew my fantasy bubble was reaching the end of its shelf life, and I chose to savor it for as long as I could. Or maybe I was just so ridiculously happy with my new boyfriend that I truly was living in my own fantasy.
It was March, and Kendrae and I had been officially dating for about three weeks when he asked if he could come home with me to meet my parents. Swoon. As if I needed another reason to be crazy about this man. I called my parents and made the arrangements. The plan was that Kendrae would follow me back to my parent’s house, stay for two nights, then drive back to Longview while I finished the remainder of Spring Break at home.
Besides Kendrae getting a flat tire somewhere between Longview and my parent’s driveway, the meet up went wonderfully. Kendrae made a great impression, because who couldn’t be impressed by him? The time felt too short as our brief two days came to a summary. We said our goodbyes as he made the journey back to Longview while I remained in Van Alstyne for the last few days of my break. How had my life suddenly gotten so good?
Later that night I was up in my room still floating around somewhere in outer space. My mother came into my room and sat on the edge of my bed.
“I just got off the phone with your grandmother,” she said, “and she asked me ‘how serious is this?’”
I blinked and was caught off guard by the odd question. I responded that we had just started dating, three weeks or so at this point, but that we both really liked each other.
“Sarah, is this something we need to be worried about?” she questioned further.
Again, I was surprised by the context of her question. Worried, I thought. Worried about what? Were they worried that I had a boyfriend? Or did their concern lie elsewhere?
“I’m confused,” I responded, “what is there to be worried about?”
“Interracial couples have a difficult road ahead of them, Sarah. Life is just harder,” my mother explained.
A beat. The silence between us rang loudly in my ears. My face must have been red, because I could feel the heat radiating off my skin.
“So, just because interracial couples may face some problems, means it’s not worth it? Every couple has problems,” I protested.
My mother responded that “of course, every couple faces problems, but we are talking about completely different problems here. Do you know what it’s like to grow up as an interracial child, Sarah? Do you know how hard…”
Was she serious? I couldn’t listen to this racist remark masquerading as a legitimate concern. I interrupted her mid-sentence.
“Mom, do YOU know what it’s like to grow up as an interracial child? No. And neither do I. What I do know, is that I’m finished having this conversation with you. We’ve been dating for three weeks, and you’re already worried about our interracial children.”
She said a few words about how she cared for me and just wanted what was best for me, but I wasn’t listening. I couldn’t. My own thoughts were swirling around so loudly. Was this my own mother? How could the woman who’d taught me that character came before anything else be the same person pretending not to have an issue with my boyfriend being black?
The bedroom door closed as my mother left my room, jolting me back from the cacophony that was my thoughts. I was still too enraged to cross the threshold of the fact that I had just nearly yelled at my mother while interrupting her mid-sentence. All I could do was I stare at the door and wonder how my perfect weekend had quickly turned into a nagging question mark. Did my parents like Kendrae, but were worried about us having a difficult road ahead? Or were they too fixated on one characteristic that the rest of him never stood a chance?