“I just don’t believe in it,” Sarah told my sister. A friend of the family and the social product of a small town, she was quick to verbalize her disagreement with inter-racial dating and marriage.
Aaron and I had been dating for almost two years at the time—a German Catholic farm girl and the Black Seventh Day Adventist city boy. From the outside looking in, there might seem to be some relational differences. Inside looking out, I’ll validate we have a different story, but not much different from any other cliché you see teenage girls lining up to buy movie tickets for.
I was nineteen when I started working as a barista in Wichita, Kansas. Aaron was the customer who would buy a cup of black coffee, and spend the rest of the afternoon working through different sounds on his acoustic guitar. He was cute and I was attracted to his gentle nature and carefree lifestyle.
As most cliché love stories go. The girl moves away. She comes back years later at the perfect time, neither of us in relationships. The casual flirting and occasional hug over the coffee counter lasted as long as it could. The rest is just us—as we are.
I’ve dated a few German Catholic farm boys, just like me, right? One of them shouted after too many beers one night “they were just a bunch of niggers,” after getting into a fight with other teenagers. Another Catholic farm boy fling told me not to go to KU because it was “full of faggots.” At sixteen, I might not have been able to verbalize what principles I stood for, but I knew those philosophies were not mine.
Aaron and I now live together where the two rivers meet. We get up late on Sunday mornings and ride our bikes to the Riverside café for a few cups of coffee and some eggs. We have two cats that give us wet kisses. We love Chinese checkers, and we settle arguments over paper, rock, scissors.
Aaron likes to lollygag while I’m usually busy making a to-do list in my head. I plan. Aaron sees where an evening will takes him. We are avid readers who are slightly over-obsessed with politics. Is it just us or does anyone else wonder if Barack and Michelle still have time to have sex? Above it all, Aaron is my favorite person in the world.
“I’m just saying I wouldn’t want that for my daughter. You know? With the cultural differences,” Sarah came back to support her theory.
Not knowing what to say or how to react my sister simply replied, “You watch too much TV,” while shaking her head back and forth.
And this I believe is what my sister summed up. Americans base too many of their beliefs and behaviors on what we see on TV—how to be black, how to be white, or how we live in relation to each other.
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