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How does he feel like the personification of why my Dad is not around? News reached my Dad that Aaron and I had broken up, and on the eve of my 29 birthday my Dad wrote me a lengthy email attempting to mend our relationship.
Though I was definitely willing to fight for him, I couldn’t pretend to understand what it’s like to be black or how he was interpreting any of this news. The email explained his feelings about black people as far as romantic relationships go and the culture differences from our own.
My dad is tremendously funny and a phenomenal story teller. I wore the same pair of vans tennis shoes to school for 5 years straight, had long un-brushed hair, and wore oversized sweatshirts and jean shorts to school. Because I wasn’t popular and because I was picky, I didn’t go on a single date until I was almost 20 years old. I thought it best to not deal with this all in real time in hopes that my Dad would come to his senses.
I think I always had a high bar when it came to dating because my dad really had it all; he was tall, dark, and handsome, educated, successful, ethical, funny, athletic, and handy. He was a tall, blonde, surfer that ended up moving to San Diego for college and that was the end of that. My aunt, however, told me both Aaron and I were welcome over for Christmas so I jumped at the opportunity.
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They had met him before through some work functions and he had attended one of my dance performances earlier that year, but this was long ago, and now we were an item. I spoke to my mom the next day and she said my dad had pretty much gone off the deep end and I needed to let him cool down. I thought he would trust my judgment and know that since I’ve only dated a handful of people that this person was special to me and would make the effort. I had no appetite, no interest in going out, being with friends, and definitely neglected my boyfriend in pretty much every possible way. I cried and cried and cried ahead of time both by myself and with friends hoping to ensure that I wouldn’t have a complete meltdown in front of Aaron.
The truth was that our relationship would never be the same so I thought it pointless to agree to live with racism, rules, and unhappiness just so that we could all spend Christmas together.
The email felt more like a heartless business proposition.
Aside from the occasional comment on the freeway my dad never said anything about race. He responded saying and there was no point in trying to correspond with him. There was a pause, followed by “I wish you wouldn’t have told me that so I would still think the world is a cool place”.
More awkward silence, lack of eye contact, blank face.