I yearned to go back -- depression lurked always, and partial disclosure turned out to be vastly better than none -- and when my finances and insurance limits improved several months later, I did. But I went back resolved to tell all; my fiance, to whom I had confessed this racial reticence, declared that I must make exactly the same confession to the therapist if I was going to make real breakthroughs. That’s how the stuff worked. Her reaction, my fiance said, would be critical: ”Then you‘ll know if she’s really any good or not.“ Really? I was distraught about putting the therapist in professional jeopardy, because I really did like her and didn‘t want to make her responsible for setting right what I essentially felt nobody could set right, not now. Not after New Orleans and David and realizing over and over how enormous this thing was. What could she do about it?
I did tell her. After a deep breath and a preface that I’m sure sounded like I was going to announce I had terminal cancer. She listened, as always. She nodded gravely, as always. She put an index finger to her lips. Then, for the first time in the year or so since we‘d met, she spoke about herself -- to let me know that, all along, she recognized the whole of my self, at its most certain and most chimerical, even if I couldn’t. ”Did I ever tell you,“ she said, ”that I‘m married to a black man?“
But maybe, after all, the Negro doesn’t really exist. What we think is a race is detached moods and phases of other people walking around. What we have been talking about might not exist at all. Could be the shade patterns of something else thrown on the ground -- other folks, seen in shadow. God made everybody else‘s color. We took ours by mistake.