The Furgerson Nose
Grandpa had this long keen shaped nose, a nose that he claimed his father had as well. They call it the Furgerson nose and it has endured the test of time. My father and I have the Furgerson nose as well. Papa would say sometimes he would be in a store and some total stranger would walk up to him and say, “You’re one of those Furgerson boys, right?” The nose was always a dead giveaway. My father always would say to my wife and I, “When are you two gonna give me a grandchild?” Emma and I tried several times to have a child, but after two miscarriages Emma pretty much lost all hope. I wanted a child so badly, even worse than Emma and my father. I begged her for over a year with no success. Finally she said that the decision would be up to her doctor. He told us that if Emma was to quit her highly stressful job and with the proper medication and bed rest, he would concede to our wishes to try having a child. I never thought that we could afford it, but after careful planning we worked out a way for Emma to quit her job. It seemed like in no time Emma was pregnant, after all we never had a problem getting pregnant, we just had a problem staying that way. She would toss around in the bed, frustrated because she was bored at times. My father would stop by almost everyday, making sure that Emma was okay. He would tell Emma stories of his life, some she heard several times before. But she would still always listen, because sometimes even though he was telling the same story, he would tell a little more each time. He would smile and say to her, “I know you don’t want to know the sex of the baby, but that’s a boy, and he is going to make it!” Papa was so happy and looking forward to holding his grandchild, but during Emma’s sixth-month, he took ill and died. The eldest Furgerson was gone. Emma was so sad, she took it worse than me. We both agreed that she should not go the funeral. So, she cried said her prayers and did everything that she could to make sure that she and the baby were healthy. She would exercise from time to time and was under close supervision of her doctor. I remember all the tests that we had to go through, but it was all worth it, Emma carried the baby full term. I was at work and Emma called me breathing erratic and complaining of back pains. I called her doctor, he did not want to take any chances, and so we immediately called for an ambulance. That drive from work to the hospital seemed like hours, but I actually made it in about thirty-five minutes. I ran to emergency and they told me that they had admitted Emma and she was in labor and delivery. The nursing staff pulled me immediately into the birthing room where I saw Emma screaming as the doctor held an instrument in his hand. I yelled to the doctor, “What’s wrong? What’s wrong?” He assured me that all was well he was just preparing to break Emma's water. Emma was a real trooper, but she just could not endure the pain. After several attempts, the doctor opted for a caesarian birth. I was standing there queasy and weak at the knees. Sometimes I would have to turn away and sit down. But when the doctor told me to come and see the baby come out, I leaped from my chair to look. There it was letting out a cry. “Is he okay? I asked. The doctor said, “Yes, that’s a healthy cry!” He handed me a pair of scissors and told me to cut the umbilical cord. As I approached this wet dark-haired, brown-skinned child, I counted all its bony scaly fingers. I then glanced down counting its tightly scrunched up tiny toes. And what do you know the Furgurson nose! I cut exactly where the doctor told me to, and as the nurses began sewing Emma up, I leaned over to her and said, “We have a boy!” Emma smiled exhaustedly and was quickly wheeled to another room. The next morning when Emma woke up I was right there. The nurse brought our child in. This was the first time that Emma had seen him clearly with non-drug induced eyes. I don’t think I have ever seen her so happy. And I had never been more proud of her. As we held our child it was time to arrive at a name for him. I felt that it was totally up to Emma. At first she said, “How about Daniel?” I was honored but I didn’t want my child to be a junior. Then Emma said, “I know what about Gregg, after his grandfather? Knowing how close my father and Emma were, I agreed. The little fellow kind of looked like my old man. Papa would have been so proud. Emma stayed in the hospital several days for tests and to heal. She wanted desperately to breast-feed but the doctor said that it would be too draining on her. So our baby boy was a “chemical baby,” bought up on Similac. When Emma finally came home, we watched over Gregg constantly. The doctor had told Emma that she could never have any other children. I was paranoid and Emma was neurotic. We nearly drove each other crazy! I would pray at night, on my way to work and back, that God would watch over Emma and Gregg and that I would be able to provide the best for them. Emma’s health improved, but slowly. I had to reduce my hours at work sometimes to help out around the house. Emma dreaded climbing the stairs in our home they would really take a lot out of her. Eventually we came to the conclusion that we had to move. Find a nice ranch style home, so Emma would not have stairs to bother with. We celebrated Gregg’s first birthday in our new home in a quaint small suburb. We were one of the only black families in the area. It didn’t seem to matter though, Emma was happy, I was happy, as Gregg appeared ecstatic! As the years passed Gregg grew up a very strong and healthy child. He never had any nicks or cuts and bruises on his body at all! If he even thought about falling down, Emma or I would be there to cushion his fall. As Gregg got older though, he became more physical and agile, much more so than me at his age. Especially when he reached his teens. With his height and lean build, he had basketball player written all over him. Gregg asked several times during tenth grade to tryout for the Junior Varsity team, but Emma refused profusely. Gregg was all that we had, what if he hurt himself or something? I remember the coach from school came to our house and tried to persuade us into letting Gregg tryout for the team. I was thinking to myself, “Why would this man come over to our house and personally ask us to let Gregg tryout for the team? He hasn’t even seen him play!” I didn’t even know if Gregg could play! The coach finally told us that Gregg would sometimes come to tryouts and watch the guys play. One time after tryouts he saw Gregg just shooting around and thought that he had potential. The coach seemed like a nice guy, he understood our protectiveness of our son. He assured us that he would watch over him if he made the team. Gregg started tryouts immediately, he worked long and hard, he made the cut and eventually made it on the team. To Emma’s and my surprise, he made it not on the junior varsity team, but varsity! He was playing with much older and stronger teenagers at his school. Gregg was so happy, even if he wasn’t starting. Just to be on the team, he thought was great! And many of the girls at his school thought so too, as Emma and I would watch him play from the stands. Gregg went through a slew of women, Emma always felt that he should have a steady girlfriend. I didn’t seem to mind, he was a “chip off the old block!" Many of them I can’t even remember their names. Only two come to mind. There was ah… Dedra. She was a cute tiny girl, smart and from good parents too. Gregg used to always tell me that she was mean and very jealous. They were off and on for a year or more but finally broke up. Then there was Terra, she was a very nice girl. Gregg had known her for many years, since elementary school. I liked Terra, I really did, she was very kind and mannerly. The only problem that I had with Terra was that she was white. I knew eventually living where we lived it was inevitable that Gregg would mess around with a white girl. How could I raise him around white people, have him play and go to school with white people and nothing happen. Heck, even I did it once, I had to get it out of my system. But I never dated one, seriously that is. That relationship went no further than her apartment. Back then it was about rebelling against the system, making a statement. We were high, it was a "Sly & the Family Stone" concert, it just happened. It was wild and passionate and thinking back it probably was one of the best sexual experiences that I ever had…or was it? Was it just great because I was doing something out of the norm? Something that many people look at as wrong? I was involved in so many black power movement groups. And here I am talking black and sleeping white. If my parents had found out, they would have had a fit! I can hear my father now, “If she can’t use your comb, don’t bring her home!” Nowadays everybody is doing it. I just never imagined that everybody would be my son. I never looked at myself as a racist. In fact, I am not a racist! At least I don’t think that I am. But I had my concerns about Gregg and Terra’s relationship. Gregg’s coach, who was white, wasn’t thrilled about the situation either, but the team was winning and Gregg was now starting and a star player, so he kept quiet. Emma was cautious with the situation, making sure that this was not a passing phase. We were more so concerned where Gregg was going to college. He was offered two scholarships one to a big college not to far from us. The other college was out of state, but they had a better curriculum. He decided to go to the big college in town so that he could be close to us. To our surprise Terra had been accepted to that school as well on a journalism scholarship. Maybe it was just a coincidence, who knows? Gregg’s first year at college went fairly smooth. He was happy and playing better than ever. Terra was always there cheering him on too! One particular game Emma and I attended Gregg was really hot that night! He scored almost thirty points. A black lady and her husband were pointing at Gregg as he ran by, “That boy is good,” she shouted back to us. Emma said, “That’s my son!” The lady and her husband insisted that we introduce her and her husband to Gregg. The lady said, “I want to shake hands with a future NBA star! After the game in which we won, Gregg was walking up to the stands to greet us. The lady and her husband were anxiously waiting as well. As Gregg came closer, Terra ran over to him and gave him a big hug and kiss. The two were holding hands when they approached us. Emma and I hugged him congratulating him on a game well played. Emma said, “I want to introduce you to someone,” she was referring to the lady and her husband that wanted to meet Gregg. But they were no longer there. I saw them walking away shaking their heads, pointing at Gregg holding hands with a white girl. I stopped thinking about it when Terra’s parents came over, but I never forgot. Terra’s parents were a very nice couple. The mother treated Gregg like a son. Her father was okay with the situation, after all Gregg gave him season tickets to all the games, and he was a die hard fan. I guess he figured, “If my daughter was going to go black, at least she picked a winner!” Gregg and Terra looked like they were going to last awhile. This was confirmed when Terra became pregnant. I thought that Gregg knew better, I thought that he would focus more on his future without the responsibility of a child, a family even! Gregg assured his mother and I that he would not let his studies or his playing suffer. He told us that he loved Terra and was planning on marrying her away. To the joy of Terra’s mother and the dismay of her father, Terra and Gregg were married a few months after Terra announced her pregnancy. I talked to Gregg before the wedding and I asked him, “Are you sure that you want to do this, son? He said, “Dad, I know you aren’t too cool about the race thing, but I’m not marrying a white woman. I’m marrying the woman that I love, who just happens to be white. We don’t see color, Terra and I. I guess you could say that we are colorblind.” I hugged him after he said that. I was kind of proud of him, in fact I was proud of him! But deep in my heart I felt different. Because as sure as he and Terra may be colorblind, the rest of the world is not! Can their love for each other endure those trials? The other day I saw a black man walking down the street holding hands with a white guy. I thought, “Man their already gay, now they want to be in an interracial relationship, c’mon!” All this torture in the name of “love!” These kids today, I tell ya, they think that their love is different, like it’s a Chrysler 300 or something. Love has been around forever. Emma and I have been together for over twenty-years and it was tough at times and we are both black. I don’t know if I could handle all that we went through if she was white.
When Terra walked down the aisle many people didn’t even know that she was pregnant, since she was so slim. Concerning the wedding and the baby, I’m glad that Gregg did the right thing and married this girl so their child will have a father. Would I like to turn back the hands of time? Honestly I would have to say, yes!
As Terra went further along in her pregnancy, Emma and I would stop over and check on her especially when Gregg had an away game. We stopped over a lot, somewhat like what my father did when Emma was pregnant. The more and more I got to know my new daughter-in-law, the closer we became. Pretty soon believe it or not, I too became colorblind, well at least a little. When Terra went into labor, Emma and I were the ones to drive her to the hospital. Gregg was at the “Big Ten Tournament,” in Chicago and was catching an immediate flight home. Terra’s parents were there, both remained in the waiting room. Terra’s mother felt that was where they could be most helpful, out of the way. Emma was constantly at Terra’s side praying and talking her through the contractions. I was sitting in the waiting room with Terra’s parents too and I remember the doctor came out and said, “It’s time!” I felt so bad because Gregg hadn’t gotten to the hospital yet. The doctor asked, “Would anyone like to come in the birthing-room?” Terra’s parents nodded their heads sideways. Then they looked at me. “I’ll go,” I said proudly. When I walked in the room Emma was talking so fast to Terra as she was screaming at the top of her lungs. “Okay now push!” Said one of the nurses. Terra let out a long hard grunt. I came over to Terra and held her hand. “Hold on, dear,” I told her as she clinched my fingers together. “Push, push! Said the nurse again. “C’mon, I see the head, c’mon,” said the doctor. Just then someone came running in the room. It was Gregg! “You’re just in time,” said the doctor. Terra smiled for a quick second, when she saw Gregg, then it was back to work. Gregg lightly kissed her on her forehead then was told to relieve one of the nurses and hold one of Terra’s legs back. Terra began pushing and pushing and from the covers that were covering Terra’s legs pop a slimy, pale, baby. Gregg yelled out, it’s a boy, it’s a boy!” Later that day Terra’s parents and I were looking through the window of the nursery. There was nothing but little white babies there. I looked down and in the front row there was a baby with the name Furgerson on the glass bassinet, I looked and was shocked. I mean the baby was pale, when he was born, pale like most babies until they get cleaned up and put under that lamp, “thingy.” But this baby was really pale, he looked white and blended in with all the other white children! Above all, I was glad that the child was healthy and that Terra was doing fine. But something, something deep in my heart bothered me. Several months had passed and Emma and I went over to see Gregg and his family. His in-laws come over sometimes, around the holidays, between that not much at all, so Emma and I fill in the gaps. I can’t explain how it feels to have a grandson, and it been such a longtime since I held something so delicate in my hands, he’s a cute little fellow too!
As I cradle my grandson in my arms as he sleeps, I intently look at him. Emma elbowed me in my stomach and said, “Why are you looking so hard at my grandchild? I just smile and said, “He’s my grandchild too! And I can look at him if I want to!”
I was searching for any type of feature of anyone in my family, but there was none! My grandson doesn’t look like me at all! He didn’t even look like Gregg for that matter! He didn’t even have the Furgerson nose!
My family trademark was gone forever, all in the name of love? I love the little fellow, I really do. But with him, I lost myself…forever.
I’m Not Your Brother
Watching you walk in almost slow motion, you were the apple of my eye,
Watching you walk in almost slow motion, as you hold hands and kiss a ruff-neck, thief or bum.
Labeled your friend, your play brother, I think to myself “Hello I’m sitting right here! I truly care for you!” I’m not blind to your beauty and I’m not gay despite my Jeri-curls, can you please give me some?
But too tongue-tied, shy and afraid to tell you how I feel, I just stand there with the lemon candy, hoping that you will pick up on my vibe. Just my luck, strawberry candy was the flavor of the year.
Despite my flavor not reaching your sweet tooth, still almost every weekend we would party like its 1999. Then I’d drop you off, liquored up over some guy’s house. He‘d reap the benefits, from our getting high off weed, wine but often beer.
I would languidly go elsewhere to welcoming arms, and did what I had to do. Sweating trying to find my orgasm, your face would often make me cum, as I pulled the slot machine of lost loves and celebrities, while inside my current girlfriend.
Time passes quickly, driving down the one-way street of our relationship. Wanting to speed things up, I finally shout it out,
“I want you, I need you, give me a chance!” You didn’t, it was awkward and I watched our friendship come to an end.
Many years have passed and I haven’t talked to you much. But wouldn’t you know it, lemon candy is popular now! There I stand with a handful of treats, a car, home and a job with benefits. There you stand in an almost diabetic state, asking to suck on one.
I’m shocked as you bend over, ass-out saying, “Here, you always wanted it!” Now, I’m supposed to jump at this weathered, tattooed, stretch marked, floppy tits and loosey-goosey pussy? Yes, I did want it, wanted it then, but definitely not what it has become.
You can’t believe the once tee-strapped shoes, pleated baggy pants, Sassoon shirt wearing boy has become a man, a man you now want, but who doesn’t want you. You can’t believe it, so you just sit there perplexed, dejected and bare.
Fuck you bitch, fuck you in your ear! Am I bitter? Yes, I’m bitter, but the bitter has become bittersweet. Thank god there were just a couple of you. Thank god that I ended up marrying one of you…and the others, well I guess I don’t really care.
Dedicated to every girl in my past in which I wanted more, but they chose to keep me as a friend.