by Clara Nava

This short story comes from Clara Nava’s collection: Cuentos Chirundos, on sale at Publicaciones Fabián, Librería UMAR, Kabbalah, Casa 12, and Alebrije Lector.

Clara Nava, Photo: Ernesto Torres
Clara Nava, Photo: Ernesto Torres

In private, my husband called me mi negra, Why black? A black woman from where? He is black, descended from blacks and Indians. The native term for our union is “a leap backwards”. My father ponders, in silence, why I chose a man who is so black. Look how dark his hands and his finger nails are, he says to my mother. Only his teeth are white. Well, it’s her choice, she responds, and there is nothing wrong with the boy: he’s strong, healthy, hard-working, and a joy to be around, even the old women like him although he is black-black.

We went to the altar to swear eternal love, convinced of it. He called me mi negra, and I, of course, called him mi negro. Until one day he stopped using these two words which were so linked that they were pronounced as one. I didn’t suspect anything. I wasn’t worried. I didn’t think about it. I didn’t notice his body language, his eyes, his skin, his smell, his energy, or his shirts, underwear, pants, pockets, expenses, car, gas consumption, cell phone, computer, appointments, comings, goings, work time, his neglect of our orchids… I don’t know what was on my mind, certainly not him. I can’t remember. But something had changed. Now I know that at some point he had met a real black woman: tall, big booty, curvy, always displaying her beautiful white teeth between her red-painted thick lips, with kinky hair, strong arms, powerful legs, and that black way of walking: haughty, dancing from left to right. She too descended from slaves. People always return to their roots. That’s what my husband decided: he stayed with her.

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