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Black Contemporary LGBTQ+

        Jamaal wondered why he spent hours preparing a meal for his father, who disowned him years ago? He sat at the kitchen table with eyes closed, rubbing the back of his neck.

         “Are you okay, Hon?”

         A pair of masculine fingers dug in and massaged his shoulders.

         Jamaal sighed. “Thanks, Babe. I needed that.”

         The men sat across from each other and held hands..

         “Ted, why am I going through this?”

         “Because he’s your dad, and you haven’t seen him since your Mom passed. And being the man you are, you don’t want him to be alone on his fiftieth anniversary.”

         Jamaal smiled and squeezed Ted’s hand.

         “You know me so well. That’s why I love you.”

         “Really? I thought you loved me because of my….”

         “Teddy Bear, don’t be naughty. Besides, there’s not enough time.”

They both laughed.

“Damn, the Bishop will arrive in thirty minutes..”

“Yeah, and I don’t want to be here.”

Jamaal walked to the stove and checked on the roasting chicken. “I hate that you have to leave your home, Ted.”

Ted walked over to Jamaal and hugged him from behind.

“Aw, thanks. But it’s for a good cause. I wish my father was still alive. Maybe we could make amends.”

“You think that’s why Bishop Wilkins accepted my dinner invitation so we could make amends? I hardly think so. The Bishop is a bible-toting, fire-breathing Baptist minister who is dead set against homosexuality. Since my childhood, my father has always been a mysterious, distant, and intimidating figure. But we are the last two surviving members of our immediate family. So I pray we can talk over our differences..”

 Ted nodded his head. “I hope so, but at least you guys are talking.”

“I guess you’re right. I’ll call you as soon as my dad leaves. You’ll be at Metropolitan??”

“Yeah, I’ll be sitting in front of one of their fireplaces keeping warm.”

“Sounds good,” and in the worse British accent Jamaal ever heard, Ted continued, “So give us a kiss, My Teddy Bear.”

Jamaal finished cooking his Southern-style meal and sat down on the couch.

         Jamaal glanced at the wall clock. “I’ve got to kill twenty minutes till my dad gets here.”

         Jamaal checked his watch every minute. Finally, he stood up, then sat down. Paced in front of the window. Opened the window, then closed the window.

The door’s buzzer sounded. Jamaal took a deep breath as he stared at the door. It frightened him, knowing his dad was on the other side.

         Jamaal greeted his dad with a handshake and a smile. “Hi, dad. I’m glad you could make it.”

As they shook hands, Bishop Wilkins smirked. “Thank you for inviting me.”

Jamaal ushered his dad into the living room.

“How have you been?”

The pictures on the wall distracted Bishop Wilkins.  

“Dad? Dad? How are you doing?”

“I’m sorry. I was looking at your pictures. Are these wedding pictures?

Jamaal faintly smiled. “Yes, Bishop, they are.”

“Looks like a lovely ceremony. Who got married?”

“I did, Sir.”

Bishop Wilkins turned and asked, “Yours? When did you get married? What’s her name.? Where’s her picture?”

         His dad handed his hat and coat to Jamaal, then brushed by him.

         “Oh, brother,” Jamaal murmured. “This going to go well.”

         Bishop Wilkins stood in the living room, looking at the pictures on the wall.

         “Are these wedding pictures?”

         “Yes.”

         Picking up a picture that showed Ted and himself wearing tuxedos. The Bishop asked. “Hey, you look nice in this picture. Is this you and the best man?”

         He stepped back and examined the rest of the pictures. “Where’s the picture of you and your wife?”

         “You’re holding it.”

         The Bishop frowned. “What?” He said as he turned to look at Jamaal.

         “Sir, the picture you’re holding is of my wife and me. His name is Theodore Wilkins. I call him Ted.”

         Looking confused for a moment, the Bishop looked at the picture,  then at Jamaal.  

         “Are you telling me you think you married a man? Impossible!”

         “Dad, we love each other. The State of New York recognizes our marriage.”

         “I don’t give a damn what New York State recognizes. In the eyes of the Lord, your marriage is a sin.”

         “Why the Scriptures states clearly, Jamaal, that marriage is between a man and woman. Not man and man or woman and woman.”

         “Dad, I can’t help who I fall in love with. I want Ted in my life.”

         “Where is this Ted person?”

         “He had the decency to go so you and I can be alone and talk.”

         “He lives here? You two are living as man and wife?”

         ‘Ye, we are, Bishop.”

Shaking his head, the Bishop hung the picture back on the wall. “I don’t understand where and your mother and I failed you. You attended Sunday school and church every Sunday. You had religious training during the week. You know better than this?”

“Dad, I didn’t mean to fall in love with Ted. It just happened.”

“I got to sit down. I’m just glad your mother isn’t alive to see and hear this. It would’ve killed her.”

“Mom already knew. I told her when I was 14.”

“What? Your mother knew? No, you’re lying. She would have never kept this from me. She knew that if I knew you were this way, I would have done something about it. Sent you away or something.”

“And maybe that’s why she didn’t tell you. You were so busy tending to your church congregation you didn’t pay any attention to me. I think everyone knew but you.”

The Bishop stood up. “May I have my hat and coat, please? I’m sorry. I can’t stay in this apartment.”

“I made a delightful meal for you. All your favorites are on the table.”

“I’m sorry. I must go.”

“Okay, sir. But before you go, can I ask you a question?”

The Bishop nodded.

“How did the people in Alabama react to you, a Blackman marrying a white German woman?”

“What do you mean? Some folks didn’t like it.”

“Did people give you a hard time? After all, when you and mom married, interracial marriages were illegal. It wasn’t until 2000 that Alabama removed that restriction. But your love for each was so strong you risked being jailed to be together.”

The Bishop stared at Jamaal. “I would have gone through Hell to be with your mom.”

“That’s how I feel about my wife, Ted. Please try to understand.”

“I’m an old man, Jamaal. It will take time.”

“Okay, take your time. Let’s discuss it over dinner.”

July 03, 2021 03:50

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1 comment

Graham Kinross
02:37 Apr 12, 2022

“In the eyes of the Lord, your marriage is a sin.” Says who? People who say that don’t have a direct line to him, so daft. I’m surprised Jamaal got through the conversation with his dad. I probably would have told him to leave early on.

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