It Was Time Part I

by Enoch Hagans

As I approached my 13th birthday, the mood in my house started changing. My mother an African American woman would start crying out of nowhere for no reason. My step-father had stated to me that my father would come for me shortly because it was time for him to start my training. I asked aloud what training? Neither my step-father nor my mother would answer that question.

I already knew that I was Jewish because of the remarks that several of my mother's family had whispered amongst themselves, looking harshly at me as if I had committed a crime. Men from our community would come up to me and ask me did I know who my father was? I was asked this question repeatedly by strangers who claimed that they knew my father.

My mother's pastor stated to me time and time again that the only way to heaven was by way of Jesus. He also informed me that all Jews would go to hell because they killed Jesus. My mother's family disliked my father for reasons that were unknown to me and it showed in the way that they treated me. They were not cruel or mean but I was treated differently from the other kids in the family and everyone knew it.

One day as I was coming home from school, I saw a strange man standing in front of my house. He was wearing a long black coat that was buttoned up almost to the top that barely covered his black suit, shirt and tie. He had a black and white beard with sideburns that looked like they had not been cut for years. His complexion was very fair and he did not look like he was a black man.

My Mother, who had been looking out the window for me came outside running to meet me. She asked me to go inside and clean myself up because there was someone that I had to meet. After cleaning myself up, I entered the room where this stranger was, who looked at me from head to toe. I was extremely curious about who this stranger was that my mother apparently knew but I didn’t.

My mother asked me to sit down next to her trembling as if something was wrong. With her voice cracking she told me that this man , a stranger to me was my father. Silence filled the room as if the air was suddenly sucked out of it. The man then said to me with a strong voice that he was my father as he looked me in my eyes. I was speechless for I had never met my father, nor did my mother speak of him.

Rising out of his chair he hugged me and said, “It was time for me to learn who I really was and understand fully about my heritage. We spoke of things for a few minutes and then he told me that I would be coming to live with him in New Jersey. As he was walking out the door my mother and he spoke quietly and I heard him say that all travel arrangements had been made for me.

As the cab took my father to the airport I knew that life for me would never be the same. That night I heard my mother crying as she spoke to her family, although upset, she informed her family that my father had a right to raise me too. That night sleep did not come to me because I wanted to know about who this man was and why was he so different from other men I knew.

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