I'll never again pick up the phone and hear "Hi, Babe!"
by Teresa Farmer
(Lufkin, Texas USA)
I met Leroy 31 years ago. He was a beat cop and I a graveyard shift waitress. There were lots of cops who came in. They clowned, flirted, and were boisterous. He sat alone, was very quiet and matter of fact. We became instant friends.
About 3 years later it developed into much more than a friendship. Unfortunately, I was married. After the birth of a child, which I wondered up until the moment he was born which man was his father, we went our separate ways. I am white, he was multiracial. My newborn could have belonged to either man but he chose to back off and leave well enough alone.
After another 2 years I'd finally had enough of the beatings and my husband had began to hit my children. I left.
The first person I called was the only man I had ever loved, Leroy. We had made many wonderful "secret" memories in the past. but, now we were free to just love each other.
Then my custody case came up. Even though I had police reports, hospital records and CPS reports, the judge told me as long as I was dating a black man, that was not a safe environment for my boys and he would give them to their father. Keep in mind this dangerous black man was a decorated police officer.
So, once again we had to slip around, but we always loved each other. We spoke often on the phone, wrote letters, then later emails. We took secret trysts together.
When I was 40 and he 56 we made a pact, when I turned 50 we were getting in his RV and hitting the road. We were finally going to be a couple. All our children would be grown enough to deal with whatever society wanted to dish out.
He died June 23, 2010, the day I turned 50.
He was the smartest, kindest man I ever knew. He always loved me no matter what kind of stupid decisions I made.
And it just hurts so much to know I'll never pick up my phone and hear him say "Hi, babe!" I just can't imagine how to go on without him in my life. He's been my best friend and lover for 31 years. Where do I go now?
Yet, I'm not allowed to be a grieving widow because we weren't married. I'm not allowed any little cherished memento because we were not married.
But, nobody understands that yes we were. We didn't live in the same city, or house. We didn't have a marriage certificate. But, we had more love respect and honor between us than any married couple I know. I was his. He was mine. What am I now? I'm only half a person. When two people become one then one is gone, what does that leave?
I'm fifty now. He broke our pact the day I turned fifty. Or maybe he sealed our pact. Maybe since he died on my fiftieth birthday he tied himself to me forever. I don't know. Either way my heart is so broken I can barely get out of bed. And nobody understands. They all think I should let it go, "It's not like you were married to him". The next person who says that or "He's in a better place" is probably going to get punched in the mouth. I miss him ; I love him; I hurt over losing him. And I have that right!