Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Love Is Color Blind

When I was in college, I worked as a box office manager at a movie theatre in Flagstaff and became friends with a black guy who was an usher there.  He was also gay, by the way, and had a huge crush on me.  I only know this because he told me upfront, which was about the most honest fucking thing anybody has ever said to me.  "We can be friends and all, but I want you."  I wanted his sister.  She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.  She should've been a model.  I wish I could've been her agent.  Anyhow, I had trouble making friends at college.  Like I said, I'm fucking weird.  I don't have any friends now.  (But that's OK.  I have my wife and children, and I'm doing all right.)  So, I started hanging out in the neighborhood behind NAU and dated several black girls.  My friend's family kind of adopted me.  I was at their house whenever I wasn't in class or working.  It didn't matter who was there.  We got on.  I loved his brothers and sister, his mom and dad, his cousins, his grandparents.  We all ate together, played together, partied together, shopped together, watched movies together, went to church together.  I was the only white boy at those services, and I couldn't sing or dance a fucking lick, but I could set up the mics for everyone and read a prayer with just the right drama.  Theatre student, remember?  And they loved me for who I was:  this nerdy little white guy with Elvis Presley license plates on the front of my '79 Chevy Nova.

While dancing at a club in Phoenix the Saturday after my 21st birthday, I met a black girl and we got really serious.  We dated for nearly a year.  She was the first girl I ever told "I love you."  Sure, it was tough at times.  Why wouldn't it be?  Not everyone accepted us.  We didn't care.  The real problem was that she had a toddler, and I was way too immature to be a father-figure.  The relationship ended kind of abruptly (we got into an argument outside a bar), but we reconnected on Facebook almost 20 years later.

The romance found its way into my writing, of course.  I wrote several stories about forbidden love, the best of which was my first serious (read "grown-up") novel, Samantha.  The story's about a boy who falls in love with a vampire.  If I only knew then how big Twilight would eventually become!  I kick myself in the ass every day for not trying to publish that book!

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