I was having lunch with my cousin, Tia. We hadn’t seen each other for a while so there was a lot of catching up to do. She was working at an advertising company while I was in my third year at university. I was studying Sociology. She was engaged to a Nigerian man she met four years ago at a party.
“What about you? Are you dating anyone?”
“Tell me about him.”
“His name is Alejandro.”
“So, he isn’t black then.”
“No. He’s South American. When he was four, he and his family left Argentina and came here.”
“So, what does he do?”
“He’s a police officer.”
Immediately, her expression changed. “I can’t believe that you’re dating a cop. Haven’t you seen the news lately? Cops are killing black people.”
“Not all cops are racist, Tia.”
“Don’t kid yourself that he isn’t because he’s dating you. How long have you been dating?”
“Just over three years.”
“Have you met his family? Do they even know about you?”
“His family lives in Texas.”
“Have you met them?”
“Why do you suppose you haven’t met them as yet?”
“We haven’t been able to get away because his job keeps him busy and I have my studies.”
“What about Christmas? Surely, you can fly down to Texas then.”
“We prefer to spend Christmas here in Seattle.”
“Do you want to know what I think?”
“If I said no, would that make any difference?”
“Your boyfriend hasn’t taken you to meet his family because he’s ashamed.”
“Ashamed about what?”
“He’s ashamed of your color, Dru. You’re too dark. He’ll never marry you. He’ll either marry a woman of his own background or a white woman.”
“I don’t think so, Tia. Alejandro loves me.”
“Enough to marry you?”
“Well, I hope for your sake that you’re right. For some men, you’re good enough to date and or sleep with but not good enough to marry.”
“Alejandro isn’t like that.”
“All right. We’ll leave it at that. Has your family met him?”
“And what do they think of him?”
“They like him. They don’t have a problem with him not being black or being a police officer.”
“My parents would have a problem. They don’t believe in interracial relationships. They believe that people should stick with their own race.”
“Sometimes love is color blind,” I replied. I didn’t plan to fall in love with a non-black man but it happened.
We dropped the subject and talked about other things. Then, after promising to have lunch again soon, we parted company.
As I drove home, I thought about first time Alejandro and I met. It was during the summer and I was on my way to the park for a jog. He was standing outside of a restaurant waiting for his then girlfriend. As I approached him, he turned and I could tell that he was staring at me even though he was wearing sunglasses. He was drop dead gorgeous. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. As I got closer, he smiled. My heart skipped a beat. “Hello,” he said.
I don’t usually talk to men I didn’t know but I said, “Hello” to him.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“Drusilla but everyone calls me Dru.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Dru.” He held out his hand. “Alejandro.”
I shook his hand. “You know I don’t usually talk to men I don’t know.”
“And I shouldn’t be talking to you because I have a girlfriend but I just couldn’t resist. You’re stunning.”
“Thank you and you’re gorgeous.”
He smiled again. “If I asked you to have a drink with me while I wait for my girlfriend who’s running late, would you say yes or tell me to go to hell?”
I considered it for a moment then said, “One drink.”
We went inside the restaurant and over to the bar. He bought me a Virgin Pena Coloda and a beer for himself. I sat on the stool next to him and we talked. He had removed his sunglasses and I found myself staring into a pair of amazing brown eyes. He asked me questions about myself and then he told me about himself. His cell rang. It was his girlfriend. She called to say that she was going to be there in five minutes. I finished my drink and thanked him for it.
He asked for a napkin and wrote his name and number on it. “Call me at this number tomorrow evening,” he said.
I took the napkin, promised to call and left. As I walked through the door, a beautiful brunette walked in. I didn’t linger to see if she was his girlfriend but I suspected that she was. I called him the following evening and he asked me to have dinner with him. We went to a different restaurant and had a great time. That night he told me that he was going to break up with his girlfriend because he wanted to be in a relationship with me. That was over three years ago.
I thought about what Tia said. Before I met Alejandro, I was dating Nathan, a black guy who kept our relationship a secret because of my dark skin. Hurt and angry, I dumped him. I wasn’t ashamed of my skin. It was how God made me. When I met Alejandro, my dark skin didn’t seem to matter to him but there were times when I wondered why I hadn’t met his family or friends. Over the three years we have been dating, he has met my family and most of my friends. Tia was the only one who hadn’t met him and that was because we had lost touch for a while. And now, I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to introduce them because of her prejudice.
I was still thinking about what she said when I let myself into the penthouse I shared with Alejandro. I showered and changed and got dinner ready. After we had dinner when we were relaxing on the sofa, he said to me, “You’re very quiet tonight. What’s on your mind?”
I told him what Tia said. “You and I have been together for over three years now and I still haven’t met your family or friends. Why? Are you embarrassed of me because of my color?”
“Dios no lo quiera,” he exclaimed. “No, querida. I’ve never been embarrassed of you. I’m the luckiest guy alive to have a beautiful, sexy woman like you in my life.”
“I’m sorry,”I said. “I couldn’t stop thinking about what Tia said.”
“I don’t want you to ever think that your color makes any difference to me.”
I told him about Nathan and his expression darkened.
“That guy was a total jerk. I’m glad you dumped him.”
“I couldn’t believe that a black guy would feel that way. I guess it’s because he was light-skinned and he was worried that his family wouldn’t approve of him dating a dark skinned girl and what his friends would say. So, he kept our relationship under radar. He didn’t want anyone at school to know that we were dating.”
“Unlike him, my family knows about you. They’ve seen photos of you. I spoke to my parents this morning and they are coming to Seattle next month. They are looking forward to meeting you. And on Saturday, you and I are having dinner with a couple of my buddies from the precinct.”
I stared at him. “So, your family doesn’t have a problem with you dating me?”
“Why should they? As long as I’m happy, that’s all that matters to them. And you made me happy, Dru. And now is the proper time for me to do this.”
As I wondered what he meant, he got down on one knee and immediately I teared up.
“Drusilla Martin, would you po-lice marry me?”
I couldn’t answer because I was laughing so hard. His proposal was corny but cute and original. I nodded and he put the ring on my finger. Then, I somehow ended up on his lap and we were kissing. I couldn’t wait to tell Tia how wrong she was. And as for Nathan, I don’t have any hard feelings towards him. I hope that if he falls in love with another dark skinned woman, that he will have the courage to court her openly.
Source: The Guardian;