People assume we adopted her. (I would assume so too, except that I witnessed her unlikely birth to my very white wife by way of a nearly transparent, very white, me. I don’t object to the riddle of our mismatched hues—what am I saying?, object?, I celebrate it!—but I do object to being judged by our colors, our inconceivably incompatible opposite ends of the spectrum pigmentation! Let’s face it, it’s hard for us, for anybody, to know what to say. She’s indisputably gorgeous, I will say that. Even if I weren’t her father she’d be that, but maybe I wouldn’t say so quite so often. You’re wondering if she’s even mine. After the adoption question, that comes next. You see my problem. At what point in a conversation do I explain that this baby is my biological daughter to a stranger who can see that she isn’t? She’s mine, OK? I’ll show you the tests; I carry them with me: here. No, you didn’t ask, out loud. Your eyebrows asked my foot. This has happened once before in history, it has to have. I wonder if the parents felt as guilty the first time around. One of us mutated from the other, don’t you think? My baby recapitulates the whole of evolution in a single generation, simple as that. There must have been clan pressure on those stricken parents dragging their tent across the savannah when the ghastly erroneous sand-colored anomaly slipped out squealing into their laps. But they were strong. They wrapped her in cotton or skins and nursed her through the rainy and the dry. Here we are, descendants of both lines, failing to recognize what we see in the mirror. Sorry for the lecture.) We call her Grace. I think she likes you too.

Copyright © July 29, 2008 David Hodges

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