My second love, a Cuban boy with skin as white as paper and curly charcoal hair, adored me from the ends of my nappy braids to the tips of my caramel toes. Growing up in different neighborhoods, fate spiked with dumb luck brought us together in high school. I’m still unsure what the attraction was, but I couldn’t get enough of my dark-haired Adonis. After a few weeks of shy, awkward flirting, we started going steady. We met every morning on the front steps of our high school. Hand in hand we walked down the hallways as if we were walking down a church aisle. My friends never tried to learn his name.
My beau and I shared every lunch break together. We discovered we were artists; his medium ceramics, mine watercolor. Between stolen kisses in the rear staircase, we spoke about our future and possibility of attending the same college. Around our six-month anniversary, my love told his “proud to be of Spanish descent” mother about us. She never laid eyes on me but began experiencing nightmares where her grandchildren had Negro-nappy hair and skin as dark as tar.
My darling told me everything, all his mother’s fears and anxieties, but never mentioned if he tried to correct those fears. As the weeks passed she continued to have horrific dreams of “fantasmas negros” calling her grandma. My sweetheart’s love grew cool towards me. His first love was his mother, and her rejection of our relationship weighed heavier on his heart than his affection for me. There was no real breakup, just a slow drifting apart that ended with slight head nods of recognition when we passed each other in the hallways. I look back on those days with fondness and wonder if he ever gave his mother the daughter-in-law of her dreams.
Arlene Antoinette is a lover and writer of poetry. Additional work by her may be found at Foxglove Journal, The Feminine Collective, Girlsense and Nonsense, The Open Mouse, Little Rose Magazine, Tuck Magazine, I am not a silent Poet and Neologism Poetry. Thank you for reading her work.