“Honey, I’m home.” Home to sulky silence, the absence of pounding footsteps, and the discordant music of two contentious nine-year-olds. I move through the eerie, foreboding silence toward her. Her—the mother of our children, and my wife of choice on most days . . .
Hana Irene Carter is showing her fourteen-year-old Asian-black ass this afternoon. She walks through my house and into my kitchen, ignoring me, her grandmother Irene, and four of her other relatives, only smiling at and kissing Emma, my black sheep cousin, on the cheek. She then opens the refrigerator and takes out a beer. She pops the top, takes a long swig, and burps, looking directly at me with an in-your-face, self-satisfied grin.
Before I can act, Irene is up. She pulls the can out of her granddaughter’s hand and dumps the beer out in the sink . . .
Back in 1949, I lived with my grandparents out in the country on a small farm near Richmond, Virginia. Something serious was going on one day as I entered the kitchen at five thirty in the morning. Grandpa and Grandma were standing at the sink, staring so intently out the kitchen window they didn’t even hear me come in . . .