It was an April weekend in Texas. The grass was green, the flowers were beginning to bloom and just like Texas weather does best, the sun was shining. I was about a month away from my college graduation and had never felt more on top of the world and petrified at the same time. My options were wide open and I could choose to go whichever way my heart desired, couldn’t I?
Lately, my mind had been fixated on the concept of a wishbone. I felt as if the two of us had a lot in common, both being torn in two separate directions. Someone always won the wishbone tug-of-war, but what about the bone? It still ends up broken. I was concerned that my outcome might be similar. One side of me was being pulled by my family into becoming a teacher. It was what I had gone to school for and was the career path bestowed upon me. And the other side of me was being pulled in an unknown direction. Was there a way, through all the pulling, for Sarah to remain intact?
We had a weekend off with no tennis matches, so I took the opportunity to spend a weekend away from Longview. My weekend home consisted of my typical back-from-college weekend escapades. Spending time with my parents and siblings, loving on my dogs and just hanging around the house mostly. But with all these monumental life decisions looming over my head and future, I had a difficult time relaxing. Not to mention missing my hunk of a boyfriend terribly. Being around him always put me at ease; big decisions seemed much smaller and less scary when I was around Kendrae.
I could tell I wasn’t quite as talkative, but I had too much going on in my head to care. As mothers tend do, my mom picked up on my lackluster spirit during my visit home. We started talking about school and how my classes were finishing up. Then the conversation turned to Kendrae. As usual, I morphed into an eyelash batting, day-dreaming school girl talking about her perfect crush. And after babbling on for what was probably ten minutes, my mother’s response caught me off guard.
She said that her and my father had both been praying a lot about who I was going to marry. In fact, they had for some time. She went on to tell me that she was having some difficulty imagining me marrying Kendrae. And the next few sentences that spewed out of her mouth, will forever leave a bad taste in mine.
My mother said she couldn’t understand how Kendrae was “the best guy” God had picked for me. And how it was hard for her to believe that there was no “white guy” good enough. So, God had chosen someone deserving of me, but Kendrae was it? “God wants you to be with him over all the other white guys?” she said so prosaically, “I could see if he was going to be a doctor or a professional athlete, but he’s just going to be a teacher.”
Her words rang in the air and made it hard for me to swallow. Time stood at a standstill and my heart dropped into my stomach.
What? Were we speaking the same language? Because what was coming out of her mouth seemed foreign; I couldn’t understand it.
I blinked and let out my breath simultaneously. I looked my mother in the face and didn’t recognize who I saw. I opened my mouth to speak, but my response was stuck in the back of my throat. What could I say? I was rendered speechless.
Later that night, I was sitting on my bed with my knees tight against my chest. I hadn’t been able to think of much else since my one-sided conversation with my mother from earlier. My mind continued to reel with all the things I might have said rather than nothing at all. Why was it that I could never find the words to speak my peace?
After what seemed like an eternity of allowing my thoughts to run wild, I steeled myself and acknowledged the question I had been trying to avoid. It was beginning to seem as if I had not known my family as well as I thought. If my relationship with Kendrae continued to grow more serious, how would things work with my family? I wouldn’t have to choose between having a relationship with my family and continuing my relationship with Kendrae…right?