It was a typical Saturday evening, my
family sat around the dining room table. We ordered pizza that night. My
mother was looking through her bank account and checked off her budget.
My father was reading the newspaper. He was an unusual man. He read his
newspaper all day and spaced out of the real world. Sometimes I wondered
what was so interesting about it. My father was living in the writer's
words. As I looked up my mom started talking.
"A girl called today. She asked for
you. She says her name was Nicole," said my mother.
"Yeah, I was expecting her
call," I responded.
"Who is she? Your girlfriend?"
"Yeah......" I said cautiously.
I never could speak to my parents about sex. I never heard about the
birds and the bees. I always thought it was a suburban myth. I never
understood the title. I thought birds and bees were totally different
"So, how is she?" she asked. I
didn't understand what she meant, but said something anyway.
"She is sweet and honest," I
"So, what is she?" she asked. I
stared at her puzzled. Was she talking about what her race is.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"You know is she Korean or
American?" she responded. I couldn't believe my ears. My mother was
considering her race.
"What does that got to do with
anything? Would that change your views of her?" I yelled. My mom
stood there like she was about to explode in anger.
"Fine. Then tell me what religion
she is. Of course you have to marry a Catholic," she said like it
was a requirement.
"No.. what if I married a Jewish or
a Muslim person. Would that offend your religion?" I said. Rage was
in my mind.
"How could you live with a person
who isn't the same religion as you?" she yelled. I thought about
how her generation had the hardest time adjusting to the new found of
equality. In my generation and in New York City, I've been around almost
every race on the planet.
"Well in this generation we don't care about race or religion because
we're all equal," I said.
Meanwhile my Dad was still reading the newspaper and didn't move a
"No son of mine will talk to his
mother like this," said my mom. She sent me to my room without
dinner. I sat in my leather chair and melted into it. I stared out the
window wondering what was happening to this world. I stared at the wall
for a good 30 minutes not knowing whether I was dreaming or living. I
went downstairs and into the dining room where my mom was talking to
herself. My dad still read his newspaper. I sat down at the table.
"So, what is she? British? Polish?
Canadian?" she asked repeatedly.
"No......" I replied. My mom
was thinking more about her questions now.
"How come you never told your
parents about her," she asked.
"I did. I told Dad," I said. My
mom looked puzzled and stared at my father like she could see through
the newspaper. I knew then why my father always read the newspaper. It
was his protection against the harsh world. I stood up and ripped the
newspaper out of his hands.
"You're freed. You can talk and
express your views. You don't have to hide behind the paper
anymore," I said. My father and mother both stared at me like I was
The next day I was at school. I sat at
the table with my friends.
"Hey," I said. All my friends
nodded and responded.
"How come you look stoned
today?" Luke asked. I had bags under my eyes since I got no sleep
"Yeah, I was awake yesterday
fighting my parents about morals and racism," I said.
"What we're you guys talking
about?" asked Sanjay. I thought about lying, but I knew I could
"Well, they wanted to know what race
Nicole was?" I said.
"Damn, you must have gotten pissed
off," Luke said. My mind was in different places.
"God, I got to get out of here. You
guys wanna go to the Star Bucks on Lexington," I said. They looked
at me and smiled.
"Yeah, we'll come," said
It was 1:00 and I sat in the brown
leather chair in Star Bucks with my closest friends. I looked at my
friends and saw the diversity and what made them unique. I looked out
and thought I was lucky to have an open mind.