It was the winter of 1994 when I stood, hands folded before my grandfather’s grave, eyes staring at his name: Shawn Black. I ran my fingers through my thick black hair. I’d never met the guy because he disliked biracial children. Mom slept with a black man, and nine months later, I arrived. So, he never wanted to see me. But before he died, he’d wanted to make amends and get right with God and his family. But this time, I refused to meet with him. After he died, I had a change of heart and wished I’d seen the guy. Granddad left me his stubborn attitude and a photo album.
I loosened my tie. I hope the son-of-a-bitch is happy now, I thought. Granddad was a white man about six feet tall, Mom said. A thick man, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying he was fat. I lowered my body to a sitting position, thinking about the things we could have done together: go camping, maybe even fishing. My dad wasn’t in the picture, so all I could do was to dream about a man who hated me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I knew who my dad was, but he never had time for me. I hated the son-of-a-bitch for caring more about his law firm than his kid. He’d send a check every month, but that’s about all he sent me.
But Mom had told me stories about Grandpa and his time in the Navy and about how he’d farmed for forty years. He was a real man, Mom would say. Not like your dad, she’d remind me.
For the next year, I visited the gravesite every weekend, just staring at the pictures and placing flowers on his grave—when I noticed something. I was visiting the wrong grave.
(opening to a new short story I’m working on)
By Andrew Cyr