Creative Writing Exerpt

Mom was a stereotype, of sorts. She was one of those white girls who saw herself in another ethnicity. Although she was paler than an albino rat, she was insistent on speaking Spanish at home for at least two hours a day. She said it would keep them from losing the culture. What culture—we’re white people without roots! Still, he didn’t squash her silly game. He went along with it, ate the arroz con pollo she cooked once a week, enjoyed the tastes and smells of the other dishes her friend Rosanna had taught her, and he let her tell him all the stories about their time together before Rosanna had returned to Puerto Rico. Secretly, Clark imagined that his mother dreamed of going to la isla just as Rosanna had gone. And why not—she had nothing here. 

Mom was a poor single mother. She got pregnant at seventeen—quite an accomplishment in a neighborhood where girls had babies much younger. She had fallen in love before having sex—an even greater miracle. Then, she had even married the guy, for a while. Within a year, however, the stereotype played out and the man split, leaving her with a white little baby boy in a white trash neighborhood, the proud owner of a trailer that no one would repossess because the cost of the repairs needed to make it habitable was greater than the trouble of waiting an extra month for each payment. So even though it took her ten years to pay off the five year mortgage, she had done it. Now, every month, instead of making a payment, Mom made a repair. 

Every evening, she tuned into the home improvement channels and learned how to make a new dresser look “vintage.” Laughing, she would say, “See, son, this time we’re ahead of the season’s decorations.” Laughing, he would help her to strip and sand the wood on another solid oak trash day curbside find, making the “vintage” furniture into true works of art. After years of effort, the little trailer was starting to look like a home, and Clark was proud when his friends came over to visit and they called his mother the coolest lady in the neighborhood.

He had thought himself quite unique in his upbringing, until he met some teens at an afterschool event hosted at his high school. Apparently, the principal was open to Christianity, and he had permitted a group of older teens to come in and give a presentation. Afterwards, they all hung around, tutoring students and playing ball with them in the gym. Clark had hung around, too. He was impressed by a tall, handsome black teen who stood beside a stunning asian girl. They made a neat couple, he thought to himself, though what he found out later surprised him more than anything he had ever seen. 

“We’re brother and sister—really.” As Clark cocked his head in confusion, the pretty girl laughed. “We love that reaction—it gives us something to tell Mama about when we get home.” The boy interrupted with, “My name’s James, and this is Justine. Our mother’s a wispy blonde with no outstanding facial features. When she married my dad—a black man—she ended up with a little kid who looked exactly like his father.” Nodding, Justine added, “Yes, and we still don’t know what she was thinking when a  year later, she ended up married to a Japanese man and gave him a daughter who was his carbon copy, too.” 

Clark agreed. What was the woman thinking? Love, however, wasn’t always predictable. And in this case, it was extremely unexpected. Yet, obviously, it had worked out. 

“Now,” James added, “she’s happily married to another washed-out blonde and they have four beautiful little featureless children—our preschool aged siblings!” Justine let out a half-laugh, half-snort and added, “So whenever we get together for a family outing, the whole world stares.” Clark could imagine that. It made him chuckle inwardly, but only inwardly. Clark was not very expressive, or so he’d been told a couple of hundred times. 

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