A friend once said to me nothing about my life is simple and made the joke “You would be the one to go to Morehouse and have a kid with the one Puerto Rican girl there!” I laughed because it was funny and that would happen to me. That goes back to something I always say: God knows I live for a great story so he keeps giving me good ones to tell.
Timile constantly said she never felt like she belonged to her immediate family. She would see everyone sitting on the couch and they all looked alike…everyone but her. A recurring dream of hers was that as a baby she grew to a gargantuan size-a la the dream sequence in the first Eddie Murphy The Nutty Professor film-and her mother was running away from her. At twenty-three she felt validated because that’s when she found out the father she’d been named after wasn’t her biological one. Her parents denied it in spite of the fact that everyone else in her family confirmed this to be fact. “The Puerto Rican kid who drove the bread truck!” An elder family member told us while sitting in our living room a week before we moved from Atlanta.
We know who the Puerto Rican kid who drove the bread truck is. I have seen his picture on Facebook and Timile looked just like him. Cydney has a facial structure like his. But it happened while he was seeing who became his wife so they all played it off. She’d try to call and the wife spoke to her exclusively. It might have been some guy named Eddie who was a cousin or friend of theirs they were trying to say. But it all felt like bullshit. I could care less how good of a father he is to their five children because when his oldest needed her, everyone saved themselves. Fuck em.
You can look at Cydney and tell she is a term my friend coined, blacktina. Her looks resemble a little Spanish kid until you see her standing next to one whose parents are both of Taino decent. She has a fair complexion like her mother and a hair texture that is a combination of both of ours.
The way things are going it looks like she’ll never know the Puerto Rican side of her family. Nonetheless, she is of decent so it is part of her identity. If I were to get married and have other children that weren’t blacktino she could possibly look at herself and feel different. Her other siblings have their mother and father to see who they resemble and she’ll only have myself and pictures of Timile to say “This is who I am.”
The Puerto Rican Day Parade is the second Sunday if June in New York. While I have no intentions of ever attending that madness, I still dress her in the colors and tell her why. Cydney’s blackness celebrated and affirmed regularly. Why shouldn’t I the rest of what makes my little girl who she is?