Delvy Williams: A Man’s Shame and Beauty (Free Short Story)

Below is an interracial romance story of 1,051 words (approximately a 3 minute read). If you’d like updates on new free short stories and other posts, please follow my blog (upper right corner of the page). Thanks!!

Delvy Williams—the only African American in the small town of Bennington—gritted his teeth so hard in their spotless bedroom, one in which he had worked tirelessly to keep clean because he always wanted to please her, that he would later say that he was surprised that he did what he was about to do, which was a great shame for a man.

It was a little after 11:30pm on the night of November 14th, 2016, a random, unimportant day, besides the fact that it resided in the same month as Thanksgiving. Williams had just let fly a string of curses to his wife, one in which his suburban white neighbors had said had woken them up from their slumber because his voice had sounded like a large rumbling train.

Normally a quiet person, Williams had symbolically shunned his family and all-black neighborhood from a nearby city when he had left them and then, worse, married a white woman. He hadn’t planned on it. He just wanted a good life like everybody else. He had met Darla one morning in a public laundromat when they were still young and poor. Since Williams was the only African American, with his chiseled chin and chocolate colored skin, in the whole town, most people either looked away or faked politeness to him—but not Darla. For some reason, she actually talked to him. After several other chance meetings and a long courtship, Darla saw into his soul and he vowed that he’d do everything he could to provide for her.

Yet, on that dark November night, he had lost it. White community members and even some family members had always warned Darla, either outright or covertly, about African Americans, especially regarding their assumed tendency toward violence. “It’s just their culture,” one cousin had told her.

After Darla had rushed out of their bedroom in tears, Williams scowled and hit his palm into the wall. He clenched his fists and unclenched them. He breathed in deep and let it out slowly. But, that was all things white people probably do, he thought, and he was not white. He was not one of them, at least that is how people had constantly made him feel in so many subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

“Fine,” he said to himself, “if they think I’m violent, I’ll be violent.” He jumped to the bookshelf and threw it down to the floor, splattering books everywhere. He swung around to the bed and grabbed the comforter and sheets. He ripped them off and threw them through the air. He swept his arm across both of their nightstands, making the lamps break their bulbs when they hit the carpet. In the process, he even accidently broke the picture frame of him and Darla that had rested on his nightstand. He twisted around and punched a picture of flowers that hung on the wall, shattering the glass, as his mouth filled with raging saliva.

After a second, Williams stomped out of the bedroom in search of Darla. She was nowhere in the house, but he found her sitting on the steps of their backyard porch, wiping tears out of her eyes. He growled, “What you said in our bedroom made me mad.”

“What I said? You just yelled at me,” Darla said, not looking at him.

“You said that I couldn’t understand because I’m black, just like what every other white person thinks about me. And my own wife said it! You think we’re different. We’re not different!”

“We are different, Delvy. And that’s not what I said.” Darla began crying again and shaking. “I just told you about how I’m lonely here. How I miss my family. How I don’t have anyone to talk to, and I find it hard to talk to you because you always take everything back to yourself. You didn’t acknowledge anything I said.”

Williams grit his teeth again and his right hand formed a fist. He huffed heavily. “I work hard everyday to support you. I put up with my condescending white boss and white coworkers. I even put up with the racism of the freaking grocery store clerk, all so I can live with you in this town in your world. And you say you’re lonely?”

“You’re doing it right now.”

“What?” Williams yelled. He had never yelled so much before.

“You’re taking it back to you and you’re not acknowledging me.”

Williams let out a long breath of air. He unclenched his fist. “I’m sorry,” he grumbled.

“You’re still doing it.”

He clenched his fist again, making the skin tight around his knuckles. “I can’t even say ‘I’m sorry’?” His emotions were going back and forth like ocean waves.

“It’s always about you. You won’t acknowledge that I go through things, too.” Darla’s body shook with fear and sadness. She wasn’t used to being so straightforward.

Seeing her trembling, Williams’ shoulders sagged and he flopped down on the step next to her. He unclenched his fist again. After an eternal moment of quietness, where he just stared into space, trying to figure out what to say and how to say it, as Darla hugged her knees in the cool night air of their backyard, Williams finally whispered, “Sorry. You’re right. You can have problems, too. It’s hard to be away from family and it can’t be easy to be the only white person in town married to an African American. People probably treat you differently, too. You handle it so well. I forget that sometimes. Grr! People!”

Darla glanced at him and smiled. It was only a small recognition of her, but it was a start. She rubbed her shoulder against his shoulder and whispered, “Thank you.”

Then, after hearing her soft words, he did it—every man’s shame. He cried. His throat got tight and his chest felt heavy and he cried. Tears streamed down his cheeks. All the stress of life finally caught up with him and came flooding out. He felt extremely embarrassed, because he had never cried before, especially in front of a white female. But Darla took his hand and interlocked their fingers. To her, his sensitivity was beautiful. She knew that he loved her and that she loved him.

With wet cheeks, he turned his head to her. “Sorry about our bedroom,” he mumbled.

“What?” Darla’s eyes widened.

Note: If you enjoyed the story, please share it on social media and check out my novels here. You can also find other free short stories under the fantasy romance and young adult categories of this blog. Thank you for reading this story!

Photo Credit: William Stitt from Upsplash.

 

Clovis Whitman

Clovis Whitman is an independent author of coming of age and new adult fiction, because he has always been fascinated by the simple yet complex question of "Who are you?"

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