Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I met the love of my childhood when I was merely four years old; my best friend, my confidant, the first man I married. I didn't start off thinking I would ever date, much less marry him, but in the end I did, and in looking back I'm happy that I did.

I was raised by a mother who was raised during the time of the race riots, by parents who were/are staunchly pro-white, that anyone of any other color were beneath them and interracial marriages and bi-racial children were even worse.

I kept my friendship, dating, engagement, and marriage a deep secret from my parents, especially my mother. See, my late husband was the product of a white woman and black man. He didn't stand out exactly as being bi-racial, he looked white for all intents and purposes, but for the racist area of the backwoods we lived in he wasn't white enough. I feared/respected my mother, but not necessarily in the most healthy of ways.

My family moved away from the town I essentially grew up in when I was 12, to Oklahoma, to a community where looking predominately white was scorned upon, and heaven forbid you did not even have a drop of Native American blood in you, while looking white.

I continued to keep my "dirty little secret" from my mother about my childhood friend, because I feared the wrath of my mother if she was to find out about my friend being bi-racial. I didn't talk about him, I erased the phone number off of the caller ID if he called, I didn't dare call him because we were charged for long distance phone calls and my folks kept SHARP tabs on that. He'd warn me if he was going to send me a letter, often disguising the letter as being one from a female friend of mine whom my parents were close with her parents - they were, after all, white, even though they had moved to Arkansas from California - just in case my parents got to the mail before I did. I burned each of the letters after I had read them as a sure effort to make sure my parents, my mother especially, did not happen to stumble upon them.

We kept up this type of long distance relationship until I was a Junior in high school. He was a year older than myself and due to his advanced studies, had even graduated high school a year early. He moved to a town not far from me, in Oklahoma, where he blended in a bit better, with his darker complexion and dark hair. We still secretly met, between the religious meetings I attended three times a week, my 30-40+ hour work weeks, and going to school full time, both high school and a vocational school, we'd be able to work in an hour here and an hour there. Despite never once being with a chaperon we were both very strong in our moral convictions and never once gave into hormonal urges. Our first kiss was shared at the end of our wedding ceremony, February 5, 2000, a ceremony that was held, in secret, with only a congregation elder, his oldest brother and his brother's wife in attendance.

We had no intentions of keeping our marriage a secret forever. The only reason we did get married when we did, in secret, was because we did not wish to cross any moral lines and the temptation to cross that line was becoming very strong. He had asked me to marry him over a year before, we had already crossed so many obstacles in the twelve years we had known each other up to that point that we were without any doubts in our love and devotion to one another and to our shared faith in the Bible, a key factor in our ability to remain completely pure until we were united in marriage. Of course temptation is strong and we made the decision to not tempt fate any longer, so we married.

I did not move in with him upon our marital union. We had decided it would be most peaceable for me to finish living at home, with my parents, until I had turned 18 and ten days later graduate high school. The plan was to have a lavish wedding ceremony the summer after I graduated and invite everyone who cared about either one of us and let the cards lay where they landed afterward in regards to the racial smears that were bound to occur, after all I was going to be announcing to the world that the only man I had ever loved and had ever planned on loving was in fact, bi-racial.

One would almost think I actually was going to enter this marriage in the 1960s while living in Atlanta, GA, having the ceremony on the capital steps, and I was the daughter of the white was that bad.

We did what any newlywed does on their "honeymoon". But, wow, was that a wake-up call for me. I had absolutely no clue what to expect and neither did he. We fumbled quite a bit the one time we actually had intercourse.

Of course, in addition to being subjected to a prejudicial mother, all things sexual in nature were taboo. If you didn't talk about sex with you children, they didn't have sex, right? I also wasn't well educated about my menstrual cycle, I just knew to expect it roughly once a month, I honestly was fairly clueless as to what missing a cycle actually meant. Yes, I was a straight A, honors student, I had many classmates who were pregnant, but I mentally judged them harshly for being unwed mothers...I was no where near 'best buds' with any of them...and never sought out to find out details about how they came to find out/realize they were pregnant. I had judged most of them to be sluts anyways, who'd likely had sex numerous times, out of wedlock, and they were finally caught. The proof was like a black fly in the banana pudding.

I was different because I was married before I took that plunge. I also didn't fit any of the stereotypes of being a teenage mother. I was intelligent, I was fat, no one knew me to be dating anyone we went to school with, I didn't attend many school functions, wasn't involved in any real extracurricular activities, so there was no real opportunity for my classmates that I didn't hang out with to meet him, so he didn't exist to most of them. The classmates I did hang out with outside of school hours I hung out with on nights that he was at work, so even they never met him.

February 17, 2000 he was involved in a fatal car wreck. We had been married less than 10 days. Just three months shy of my 18th birthday, high school graduation, and our eternal life together.

In the end the secrecy nearly killed me and it did kill our daughter.

I proved to be stronger than the desire to die, but it has taken me eleven years to tell this story, and even now I am still having a hard time completely 'coming out'. But I've made progress. I promised myself that this was going to be the year I let the dirt out of my sails and that I wasn't going to do it anonymously, nor in complete vagueness. I still can't say or type his name without getting completely choked up and losing my nerve, the wounds are still raw, but I'm working on trying to heal.

I have to start healing so that I can fully embrace what I have now: a wonderful husband, two wonderful children, and a slew of the most awesome friends, online and in real life; things that any girl would be undoubtedly grateful to have in her corner.

Fourteen years of my life with him were held in secrecy...and eleven years of my life without him have been spent working up the courage to unveil that secret and the secrets that I have kept since then.

My next phase of this unveiling will be of Alonna.

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