Sept. 18, 1999

Crap! I forgot to marinate the goat..

Those immortal words were spoken in the back seat of my car today, by Older Son's girlfriend. I was giving her a lift to catch her bus home, where she intended to cook dinner for her parents.

I like this girl now. I think she's a terribly complex creature for her 18 years. Most of the time she's very bubbly and almost comes across like a ditz.. almost but not quite. Then one day she sat down at the keyboard in our living room and went into some sort of trance-like state. She played the "Moonlight Sonata".. not note-perfect but she was tuned in to the music. The actual notes were merely a means to the end, not the end itself.. it was like a window opened up to her spirit and laid it bare. The experience was all the more moving to me because my mother often played that piece when I was young. Is the fact that she chose the Moonlight Sonata at that moment, out of all the music in the world, some sort of sign?

This is Older Son's first foray into dating and his first female friend since elementary school. He always said the girls in his high school were "anorexic-looking" and he was too shy, anyway. I knew that when he fell for the first time, he'd fall hard.

I'm not sure what Girlfriend sees in him.. he's passably cute but not the type that girls notice. He's set in his ways like a teenage old person. He isn't interested in music, dancing, clubs, rock concerts like most kids his age. He like sports, both spectator and participation. He was a Seinfeld freak. He has a wonderful heart and soul but not too many teenage girls can see that, or would even want it if they could.

I have a better idea what he sees in her. She's not pretty by any means, and she's almost a foot shorter than he is. Moderately overweight, too, and when you first meet her she looks at least 30 years old. But.. she gets him. More than that, she seems to want him, like him, respect him and appreciate him. They are constantly laughing. She has a very affectionate way about her, physically and verbally. I've met her 3 or 4 times now and spoken to her on the phone several more times, and relate to her very easily.

This budding relationship is unfortunately causing me the most serious crisis of self-examination I've ever had. This is an inter-racial relationship. We are Jewish (East European origin) and Girlfriend is black. (African-Canadian if there is such a thing.)

We are not religious and would probably have accepted a non-Jew without much fuss. Younger Son seems to have an affinity for Italian girls, which never bothered me. But this is a pretty big test of my beliefs. I tried to bring up the kids to not be racist.. and I guess I succeeded at least with this one. Still, I never expected to have to put my beliefs where my heart is. I am ashamed of my initial reaction. It upset me tremendously at first, when I saw it coming and when I thought she was the predatory sort. (I confused her natural affection for aggression.) Now that I know her and genuinely like her, I don't SEE her colour. Part of me rejoices in my son's discovery of first love. I'm still fighting with the racist inside me, though.

Does that make me a hypocrite? I loathe the consequences of racism. This is the same emotion that drove a man to shoot little children in LA. That drove another man to drag a man to death in Texas. Not to mention the holocaustS of history (and the present time). I know in my head that it's wrong. But when my son brought home a black girl, I was taken aback, to say the least. He says that times have changed, that colour doesn't matter anymore. I never saw my son as a sort of pioneer in this way. For that I'm proud of him. He's also developed a new dignity and self-assurance, perhaps partly from being able to hold down a job and being liked and respected at work (school was always a struggle) but I'm sure at least part of it is due to her.

As for hubby.. he's not conflicted at all. He hates the whole thing and can't wait till they break up.

I wasn't going to go into all this in my journal. Now I feel I need to.. for the same obscure reason that I write the darn thing in the first place. (In other words, it's something I need to do.) Maybe it'll help me sort it out, but wouldn't a private journal accomplish that too? I never have been able to push myself to create a private journal and am not motivated to do it for "just me". Nor am I terribly conscious of my "readers", of which I have very few so far anyway. I guess making it public forces me to create a coherent line of thought.. or something...

Well enough navel-gazing for one day. I'm sure there'll be plenty more about all this in upcoming entries.

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