“I don’t want to go over there tomorrow.”
“Leslie, I’m going to meet your parents. It’s already arranged.”
“I know. I, know!” Leslie returned.
“Please be ok with this. It’s a very very important step in our relationship.”
“I know Jamie. I, know! It’s not you. It’s them. They can be a little difficult.”
“Everyone’s parents are difficult. My parents wanted me to marry someone with a doctorate, but here I am, engaged to someone with a bachelor degree.”
“Don’t tease, your parents love love love me, and you don’t have a doctorate.”
“I’m working on it,” Jamie said with a hearty laugh.
I made sure to get to my parents place the next day before Jamie, so I could try to prepare them, and I was hoping they would say the worst things to me and not to Jamie.
“Button up your shirt, I can see your birthmark,” mom directed dad, who had a strange Florida shaped birthmark on his chest.
“Mom, Jamie is coming soon, so is there anything you want to ask me now, so you don’t embarrass me in front of her?”
“Jamie is a girl?”
“Yes, Jamie is a girl. I thought you knew.”
“I didn’t know. I assumed you were still dating boys.”
“Mom, I dated one man, once, ever.”
My dad used this as an opportunity to get in on the action and said: “look, if our son Les wants to date a beautiful woman with ripe titties and a sweet tasting fuck hole, than he should.”
Mom gave dad an evil look while saying: “David, don’t talk to Leslie like that.”
Dad angrily returned with: “call him Les, damn it. Why did I ever let you give him that fag name, and why are you trying to get him to be gay. The poor guy is dating a chick with a more manly name than him. He doesn’t want to be a gay anymore. He wants the sweet smell of pussy on his cock.”
“David! Leslie was my grandfather’s name.” Mom said with feigned shock.
I give them both my best look of disappointment when I say: “OK guys, I’m glad that you got that out of your system before Jamie got here. Now, please do your best to behave like civilized members of society. I love her, and I’m going to marry her. There is one more thing I wanted to tell you.”
The doorbell rings. Dad quickly buttons his shirt, opens the door, and says: “she’s black.”
Mom looks a bit upset and quickly retorts: “David, don’t be racist.”
“I’m not being racist this time. She actually is black.” He looks at Jamie and says: “you are black right? You’re not one of those Cubans that just looks black?”
Jamie was about to speak before my mom interrupted her with: “you don’t tell them they’re black. They already know they’re black. You’re not even supposed to notice.”
“Of course you’re going to notice. I mean, really? Look at her. She looks black, mostly. How do you not notice that?” My dad asks.
“Jamie, meet Edith and Archie,” I say.
My mom shoots me a glance and says: “that’s not nice Leslie. I’m Nancy, and this is my husband David. We’re Leslie’s parents, and we’re very honored to meet you.”
“It is nice to meet you,” my dad said after a bit of a pause.
Jamie has a concerned look on her face and a defeated posture when she says: “nice to meet you” then asks: “who are Edith and Archie?”
My father quickly returns with: “they’re like what the Jefferson’s are to you people.”
With raised eyebrows and a gaping mouth, Jamie lets out: “oh.”
“So, are your parents OK with you marrying a white man?” Dad asks Jamie.
Jamie, almost afraid to answer the question says: “yes; I have one white and one black parent, so I think they would be fine if I married anyone. Although, I don’t know my dad, but I assume he would be fine with it.”
“I here that happens a lot,” my dad thoughtlessly belts out.
Jamie looks genuinely confused when she asks: “what does?”
My dad looks a bit hurt by the question and fires back: “I’m not trying to get in a fight or anything. I just heard that a lot of black fathers go missing.”
Nobody said anything for a moment. Even my mom can’t believe he said that.
Jamie, saddened and serious says: “my dad is white.”
My mom looks shocked when she says: “Oh!” She stammers a bit and continues with: “David, you’ve upset everyone. Her father is probably dead.”
“Jamie, I’m so very sorry. This is a disaster. Lets just go,” I say while grabbing her hand and yanking a bit.
My dad, for the first time ever, swallowed his pride and said: “I’m sorry too. We, that is, I just don’t know better. I’m ignorant and don’t get out much. Please forgive me.”
“It’s OK. Um, yeah. I don’t think my dad is dead. My mom didn’t know it at first, but he was married, maybe still is. He chose not to be a part of our lives, so he wouldn’t have to upset his wife, I guess. I never tried to find him because I’m guessing he didn’t want to found.”
“That’s terrible. Do you know anything about him?” Mom asked as though we were in group counseling.
“No. I haven’t even seen a photo of him. All I know is that he’s white, lives around here, and has a birthmark somewhere on his body that’s shaped like a state.”
Me, mom, and dad all look at each other in utter shock. What the hell do I do now?