Come here, baby” she said as soon as she saw me in the foyer.

I thought to myself, oh may God, here is comes.

I had been in the house for some weeks now but my parents had been on a cruise, one of many that take each year. This one had circled around Alaska and came back slowly to watch the migratory patterns of humpback whales.

The illusion that I was somehow going to be left alone as an adult in my parents away was now clearly just that, an illusion.

“How’s my baby?”

“Mom, please don’t call me that. I’m thirty-one years old.”

“You will always be my baby.”

“I know.” I shrugged.

My father was in the kitchen sitting down, drinking down a can of cold tomato juice. It was obvious that he wanted to stay clear of the confrontation between my Mother and I.

Pecking her warm fleshy cheek I whispered into her ear, careful not to graze against her tan colored hearing aid;
“I love you, Mom”

“I know baby. I love you too.”

Working my way to the kitchen, I had to pass a long wall covered with pictures. My younger brother, Kofi and my older sister Candace, along with all their children, posing with my parents in every imaginable way. Birthday parties, Soccer championships, ballet recitals, graduation, you name it. My parents were overjoyed to have so many grandchildren. Their own issue was with me, their oldest child.

’When are you going to marry’ was the main question my parents put to me over and over again.

Meeting Eunice seemed to placate their fears for some time. Who would have known that such a fine, sensual and intellectual Haitian raised in France would have turned out to be such a cruel and deceitful bitch.

After she emptied my bank account and maxed out my credit cards, there was nothing left for me to do but return to my parents’ house.

Funny enough, it was mostly my male friends that were gung-ho about the idea. The females kept telling me to ‘find another way’.

My boss wasn’t very sympathetic. Her being a black woman from Tennessee she took offense from my choice of a non-black -American woman for a partner.

“It serves you right, Marcus. Most of them is just gold-diggers looking for a free ride to America.”

“Hmm, I nodded in faux agreement.

“What did you expect from that high-yellow hussy anyway?”

Sensing that I had crossed a line in inter-office politics that I had heretofore never understood, it was clear that I needed to be honest with her and find away to assuage the damage that she had suffered through.

Although Marcella was a strong assertive woman, it was clear to me that she saw my interracial dating as an attack on her Negritude.

“I didn’t expect anything, just Love.”

“Just love, what the hell do you mean ‘just love!?’
There is no such thing as ‘just love.’ There is ‘crazy love’, there is the ‘absence of love’, there’s ‘puppy love’, there’s ‘sex and love’, or ‘sex and no love’, there is ‘kinky love’, there is ‘fucked up love’, but there is no such thing as ‘just love’!”

Smiling, I stood up, walked towards Marcella , stepped in front of her, and put my face to hers. Inhaling her cinnamon tinged body powder, I placed a gentle kiss on her cheek.

“Yes, you’re right. There is no such thing as ‘just love’.

I waited for her comment, but nothing came. Touching the brass doorknob firmly as I opened it, I called back to my beautiful black skinned boss, talking over my shoulder.

“Thanks for the reminder.”