Elizabeth heard her front doorbell ring. She got up from the church group to answer the door. She looked out the window. It was Randy, the black guy who moved in next door to her. She took a breath and opened the door.
“Hi,” said Randy. He was wearing a t-shirt and shorts. His muscular build, handsome smile and warm eyes made Elizabeth's heart start racing. He was like a wide eyed child only much bigger. “Since you couldn't make it to my little house warming party yesterday I thought I'd bring you some chocolate goodies.”
Elizabeth looked at the plate. “Oh, I can't,” said Elizabeth. “I've got to loose weight.”
“Oh, please, you're beautiful,” said Randy. He lifted the plastic wrap from the plate and held it close to Elizabeth's nose. Elizabeth couldn't take her eyes off the sweets. She inhaled and closed her eyes as the delicious chocolate scent seemed to fill her body.
“Mmmm,” said Elizabeth, her eyes still closed. She opened her eyes to gaze into Randy's smiling face again. “Okay,” said Elizabeth as she reached out with trembling hands to take the plate. She was so overcome by desire that her whole body seemed to crave chocolate.
“Have a nice day,” said Randy as he left.
Elizabeth closed the door and set the chocolates on her coffee table.
“You're not going to eat those, are you?” said a church member who was also a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy like Elizabeth. “Isn't that how that black doctor got your daughter to marry him. It's been 7 years and you have grandchildren by him.”
“Isn't that a good thing?” said Elizabeth as she reflexively picked up a brownie and started to eat it. Her mind was racing. “I mean, she found a good one. Not one of those gangster type black men.” Elizabeth started to think about how Randy was a PhD physicist. She became warm inside and her friends seemed distant, their voices far away. The fudgy brownie was filling her mouth with delight. It was so rich, so moist, so delicious. She reached for another.
“Well,” said another woman. “We'd better get going. My husband gets upset when I don't come home on time. Elizabeth, remember to vote against Multicultural Day at our church. The planning committee is evenly split. So your vote will make the difference. I don't want outsiders in our church.”
“Huh? Okay,” said Elizabeth, as if she were in a trance.
The women walked out and Elizabeth closed the door behind them.
Elizabeth sat back down and took another chocolate treat. It had been two years since her husband divorced her for a young, skinny teenaged girl. He was so eager to leave Elizabeth that he gave her the house and agreed to pay off the remaining five years on the mortgage. The last thing she heard him say was “I'm glad I'm rid of that fat, old hen” as he walked away with his skinny girlfriend.
So what if she didn't lose weight. Randy liked her figure and tempted her with chocolates. Seeing her daughter Karen date a lot of black men made Elizabeth very aware that the prejudices she grew up with were wrong in so many ways. Change was hard.
Elizabeth picked up a chocolate cupcake. She paused and looked at the bible also sitting on the table. She remembered the verses about racial and cultural cooperation in the church during the Roman Empire. She knew they didn't have the same issues with black people back then but she still felt there was a lesson in there.
Elizabeth picked up a chocolate cookie with white chocolate melted on top. She looked at it as her mouth grew moist again. The white and golden brown looked so good. She felt like it was a metaphor. She closed her eyes and took a bite. She moaned with pleasure as the cookie was still soft, moist and the chocolate seemed to melt in her mouth. The white and the brown went well together. If her church held Multicultural Day, there would be a variety of delicious foods to taste. If she invited Randy she could have more of his delicious sweets. She was going to vote yes to diversity.
This was the end of one part of Elizabeth's life and the beginning of another.
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