A few months ago, I came across a book in the bookstore–a compilation of six-word memoirs, called, Not Quite What I Was Planning By Writers Famous and Obscure. The idea was to write your life story in six words. You had to say a lot in very little. Not even thinking, I instantly wrote my own right there at the bookshelf.
Should have married a black man.
I don’t take it lightly the fact that I am recently divorced from my husband of fourteen years—a white man with a kind soul–but, we just weren’t kind together anymore.
My spontaneous micro-memoir at the bookstore stemmed from a comment someone made at a writing workshop I took several years ago. I had just moved back to the East Coast to Providence, RI, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where my ex-husband is originally from.
After handing in several essays to the workshop group about my obsession with black people, one of the woman, Ellen, who is now a friend, and part of my current writing group, asked, “How come you didn’t marry a black man?”
I didn’t get indignant, but am pretty sure I rolled my eyes, and justified my non-black husband by saying, “Well, just because I like black people doesn’t mean I have to be married to a black guy. I mean, then it would be like…like….I just married him because he was black.”
And, believe me, I knew all about getting self-analytical over whether I liked someone just because they were black. Go ahead and read “What I Did For an A,” on my Memoir page, and you’ll see.
But, what Ellen said, and she said it more than once, mind you, struck a chord with me. I started to think that maybe she was right. I missed having black people in my life like in my earlier years. Also, once I started dating and having long-term relationships with black men in my late teens and early twenties, I realized not only did I like them for who they were, but I had become more physically attracted to black guys than white guys. All right, who am I kidding? It started with the attraction, and then I got to like them for who they were.
Right now, it’s much too early to say whether I’ll get married again, or whether I’ll marry a black man like Ellen and my micro-memoir are telling me to do. But, odds are that I may do just that. You know what they say, once you go black….and, seeing it’s been twenty-five years since I’ve had a black boyfriend, I have some catching up to do.