by Adbas Will
An interracial love story at the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Ed in the early 1950s.
Jim Crow died. Though softly, freedom rang. School bells rang to a different sound. This was two years ago, the last time I slept in a bed. I was home with the flu. Moments before my plan came full circle, I vomited. We saved every penny we earned that spring. I remember the whole thing like the time we first met.
I awoke to pouring rain. Water leaked through the insulation, and the soggy maple looked mahogany. My pillow—stuffed with cold cuts and four loaves—was soaked in sweat already. I rubbed my wet brow on the warm fabric, and then checked my temperature with both hands. I was nervous. I’ve been sick before, but never had I ran away.
We’d abandon our junior year. That meant no promenade and, for me, no state title. I pinned Brock Tomas, a transfer from Aldridge, several months before…
The mat was covered in sweat. The referee raised my hand. Most of it was mine I thought. I looked up—right at God—for approval to be proud. The sausages from the concession side smelled worst than victory. Coach Gambol stood unaffected.
“I’ll see you at states.” Brock said, catching his breath on all fours.
I grinned. When the ref first called us to the mat, so did he. It irked me. Saliva dripped from my mouthpiece. I gave him all I had, and soon, I’d be champ.
Coach Gambol was gone. The sideline was empty. Dottie landed on my shoulders ecstatic.
“Great job, babe!” she said, and kissed my salty lips.
My teammates congratulated me too, though halfheartedly. She kissed me again. My blood boiled at my chest where my heart is, like summer rain on warm concrete. Bledsoe glared. Dottie was pure white and loved me, a colored.