The Wonderful African-American
Woman I Almost Married
As a youth, I was painfully shy around girls. I was a skinny runt who wore glasses and who had no athletic prowess at all. Girls would look past me like I didn’t exist. So whenever I found myself being flirted with by an attractive female I would be ill-prepared on how to handle it.
In my 20s I worked with a fellow named Powell Barnett. Barney and I were lettering artists at a sign shop in Sherman Oaks, California called Signs by George. Barney was a very skilled craftsman who was about twice my age. I was an apprentice who was trying to learn the trade from him.
Although I lived fairly close to the shop, Barney lived in southwest Los Angeles and had a long commute to work. One Friday evening he invited me to go home with him and have dinner. He also wanted me to meet his daughter Delores.
This sounded to me like a great way way to begin the weekend.
Well, Delores turned out to be a total delight. And she took to me right away. I was flattered beyond words. But there was a problem – she was a divorcee with two small sons. Did she really like me or was she on the lookout for someone to become her boys’ step-daddy?
Well, we had a great dinner and afterwards we played with the kids until their bedtime. Then we three adults played cards and told jokes for a couple of hours. It was a fun evening.
Then it started to rain.
It would be a long drive back to Sherman Oaks and Barney knew my old jalopy had threadbare tires.
"Stay here tonight," he said. "You can sleep on the sofa."
"Thanks, Barney," I said. "I appreciate that!"
Delores was smiling. She seemed pleased that I'd been invited to spend the night.
After we all said our goodnights I tried to get comfortable on the sofa — but couldn't sleep.
So I began thumbing through a magazine I found on the coffee table.
Suddenly Delores appeared and said "Hi."
"Can't sleep either?" she asked. "I have the same problem — too warm. May I join you?"
I didn't know what to say.
Her sheer nighty didn't leave much to the imagination, and she was carrying a couple of sheets of paper.
"Did you know I like to draw?" she asked.
"Uh — no, I didn't."
"Uh — okay."
She handed me one of the drawings. It showed a naked couple smiling at each other. And the guy had a huge...