I have three children. Two of them I failed on. My older daughter, Esther, I did great on. My other two, Vince and Winston, well… If I had to grade myself on my children it would go like this:
To tell you the truth, I didn’t really plan on having any children. Esther, Vince, and Winston just sort happened. I know how they happened at least.
I was married to a woman named Eliza Morgan. Unpleasant bitch. We grew up on the opposite ends of town. She was the cousin of Lizzie Gold. From day one, Eliza and I never got along. Our relationship was my parents doing. You see, I already am in love with someone else. I call her Sweet Thing. I have never stopped loving her. I was going to be my wife and mother of our daughter. Well, only half of that wish came true.
Here’s what happened:
Sweet Thing is black and I am white. Not a problem, right? Only, we were born in 1935 in the South and grew up in segregation. Yet, we still dated each other in secret. (Rather, she wanted it to be a secret while I wanted to tell the whole world.) Naturally, my parents didn’t approve of our relationship and sought out to pair me up with a decent white girl. Enter Lizzie Gold. And bless her heart; she was just a little bit strange. Lizzie had a kind heart, but she was just too weird for my taste. Nothing clicked between us. Even she could see that.
“You don’t really like me, do you?” she asked so bluntly that I nearly jumped. I tried to play off such a question.
“Why would you ask me that?” I asked. Lizzie smiled as she shook her head at me.
“I can see it in your eyes,” she said. “You love someone else.”
“No, I don’t,” I tried to lie. She held up a pasty hand at me as she shook her head.
“It’s okay,” she told me. “I’ve not really interested either.” I raised an eyebrow at her.
“Huh?” I asked. Lizzie gave me a little smile.
“I’m just here to find my cousin a date,” she said.
“Really?” I asked.
“Uh-huh,” she said.
“And… why isn’t she here with me?” I asked.
“Well…” Lizzie mumbled. “She’s not a social person.”
“You don’t say,” I said.
“Uh-huh,” she repeated. I should’ve known that was a trap. The next evening, I met Eliza. My perfect idea of Hell. She frowned at me the whole time. They shouldn’t have left us alone together. I tried to make nice with my soon-to-be wife.
“Uh… hi…” I said to her. No answer. I threw on the good ol’ Cal charm.
“So,” I said. “Your cousin says she wants you get some friends.” She still didn’t speak. I looked around the Gold’s garden. How long did I have to stay with this woman?, I thought.
“Just to let you know,” Eliza spoke up. I looked up at her when she spoke. She had her dull green eyes narrowed at me.
“I don’t like you,” she said.
“Okay,” I said, blinking.
“I will never like you!” she barked. “I don’t even want to marry you.”
“May I ask why out of curiosity?” I asked. This tough grey-brown pigtailed bitch snorted at me.
“Because, you’re an arsehole!” she barked. I tried to keep smiling the whole time. What the hell is this?, I thought. I have been used to women cursing at me, but this was just ouch. I didn’t even see why. I hoped that this encounter with her would end there.
Eliza and I got coursed into spending more time together. Each time, our verbal duels cut deep into each other. My parents thought it was cute and pretty soon I ended up married to Eliza. We spent our wedding night in separate rooms in fact.
I didn’t end my relationship with Sweet Thing. In fact on my wedding night with Eliza, I snuck out to see her. She wouldn’t let me in at first.
“You’re a married man,” she reminded me.
“Not by choice!” I protested. “I don’t love her! I love you! Now, please let me in!”
“No!” Sweet Thing cried. I made a fishy face at her.
“Fine,” I said with a pout. “If you won’t let me in, I’ll just stand here on your doorstep all night long.” Sweet Thing’s eyes grew big through the lacy curtain.
“But it’s raining!” she cried.
“You left me with no choice!” I shouted. “You won’t let me in, so I won’t leave!” Finally, Sweet Thing opened the door and dragged me inside. I smiled at her with my famous winning smile.
“Miss me?” I asked. She looked away from me, unimpressed. I pouted at her.
“Aww, come here,” I said. I leaned in and kissed her on the lips. As I predicted, she didn’t even bother to resist me. She even led me back to her bedroom. I didn’t leave her side until morning. Sweet Thing to get me to do so, anyway.
“You really need to go back to your wife,” she pleaded in bed to me. I shook my head as I was falling asleep.
“You should’ve been my wife,” I mumbled to her. I think that’s the moment I placed her into confusion.
Three weeks later, Sweet Thing discovered that she was pregnant. Of course, I got excited. She on the other hand, not so much.
“I’m thinking about getting rid of it,” she said. I frowned at her and grabbed her by the shoulders.
“What?!?” I yelled. “You can’t! Don’t I get a say in this?!?” Sweet Thing trembled in my hands.
“Stop it, Cal! You’re scaring me!” she cried. I calmed down and let her go. I cleared my throat for a bit. All of the Negros in the downtown café that Sweet Thing and I were in stared at me, but I had learned to block them out by this time.
“I’m sorry,” I murmured to her. I reached out and grabbed her hands. She blinked at me wildly.
“Cal?” she asked. I looked deep into those pretty brown eyes of her.
“Please!” I pleaded. “Don’t kill our baby, please!” She stared at me with those big eyes again in silence. Nine months later, my older daughter, Esther, was born. In that same year, my son, Vince was born. Then the next year, Winston, my younger daughter, was born. I seriously didn’t intend on having the last two children with Eliza. However, all three of them gave me grandchildren that I have come to love dearly every day.
Today, I looked out on the porch. Sweet Thing has moved in with me years after Eliza’s death. I still love her, but this isn’t enough. I want to marry her. Hey, I might be old, but I still have a heart. I may be a fool, but I am a fool living with the woman I truly love. And you know what? I don’t give a shit anymore. I’m going to ask her to marry me today! I got up and walked outside to the porch.
Look Your Destiny in the Eye