In Part Seven, much younger Tim assumes he can write about the "black experience". In and when this gets a rewrite, that is getting removed. I don't have the credibility to write about and I wouldn't want to be so disrespectful as to create a fictional one. Part seven also serves as an awkward means to give more of the backstory. As it stands now, I'm glad it is written down somewhere. But it could have been handled so much better, even with what little skill I had back in '97.
Money wasn't everything. If it were, Vicki wouldn't bother with the job she had. Of course, when one has the luxury of of having matter no matter what one does, it is easy to hold views about how money is unimportant. It is like that with everything. Fidelity in a relationship is never so praised as when one is leaving a relationship where there is none. Still, Vicki had a good job, almost a career.
And she had a house. On occasion it would bother her that she let Sean stay there but she knew that she loved him. Her fantasies aside, and who shouldn't be desirous of Denzel Washington or other sexy, handsome – no, gorgeous – male icons of the time, she knew she wouldn't betray Sean's trust like that. Early on, there was a time when she and J.B. almost did, but she was seeing other people back then. That didn't count.
Sean was a wonderful thing for her. Vicki had grown up out east, in New Jersey, and really wouldn't have any connections in Chicago if not for J.B. and Sean. J.B. had introduced her to her set of white friends, and Vicki almost always had white friends. J.B. had been only one of many white men who had pursued her. Sean was part of her connection to her blackness. She really didn't care about race – money could buy that freedom – but she didn't want to look like she was turning her back on part of herself.
Sean was like her white friends. He grew up as a middle-class suburbanite. He had gone to Catholic school and then to Loyola in Chicago. He has said that he wanted to be a lawyer or a judge when he was younger, but sometimes he felt guilty about not knowing enough about his heritage. He felt that he couldn't ignore the black experience. He ended up working as a high school guidance counselor. And he had his MSW, too. Sean wanted to give back to the black community he had never really been a part of. But he was genuine in it. He wouldn't have thought twice of which community received his services, but he had his needs.
Sean was two years shy of his thirty fifth birthday. He looked his age which made him look very mature next to Vicki. She sometimes wished she was nothing more than a prize to him, but he was in love. Calm, sensible, occasionally passionate love. He was ready for family, Vicki could provide for children in good fashion, and he could afford to let these hypothetical offspring to learn what it meant to be black from the safety of the white suburbs.
Sometimes Vicki wondered if this was she really wanted. She often wondered why her friends were still bent on being as close as they were. She had met J.B. when they were both at the University of Iowa and he had gotten a fake I.D. for her so she didn't have to drink at Jake's (One-Eyed Jake's, really), or the Sports Column, or The Union, the only places where a nineteen year old could drink.
Irony of ironies, she had gone there to study nursing and he English, but he became pre-Med and she graduated with a degree in Philosophy, of all things. They had remained friends and from time to time they tried to be more than that. When Vicki decided to go to Chicago instead of going home after college she had J.B. find a place for her. He also had a collection of friends that she could appropriate as her own.
At the time, it was the brothers Carver, Larry Pudenski and Lynn – and she was from New York, Jason MacLeod and Stacy Andrews, Eric Windsor and Melissa Brooks, J.B., Nancy Klein, and Dave Burke. They were an odd group, and since Eric had left for California, Stacy gave up on Jason, and Pete Carver drifted in who knows what, they seemed hell bent on sticking together. The last to leave was Lynn and it felt as though the next departure would doom the group. And Vicki knew that would come soon enough. Then, like life, things would progress.
As it was now, Vicki found most of her dreams involving the group as entertaining. Except when it came to Burke. He was too close to something else.
* * * * * *
For all intents and purposes, it was college. If pressed to reason somethings wouldn't seem right, but that is how it always was. Vicki found herself in a small dorm bed, in a dorm room. It was second semester freshman year. She could see the sunlight coming through the window and feel the air already warming with the April weather.
She knew, instinctively, that it was a Friday. It would have been nice to check a calendar, but Vicki wasn't smart enough to keep one handy until the next year. But it was Friday night and that would mean another chance for Vicki to have fun, get drunk, find love, or something hopefully noteworthy.
Vicki knew that she would meet up with Nancy and Melissa first. A passing thought that they went to different schools entered her mind, but they could be out for the weekend. What did it matter? Vicki always liked it when friends came out to visit. It also meant that there had to be something special going on. She checked herself in the mirror, but she couldn't remember what she saw so she did it again. By the time she was at the door she realized she still couldn't remember how she looked in the mirror.
Nancy and Melissa met her at the stairs. Vicki was housed at Burge Hall, and the stairs were the best way to check out the guys who lived on the opposite sides of the floors. Some girls took the elevator, and when asked why she didn't Vicki said that she hadn't seen what she wanted yet.
"Maybe Sean will be at one of the parties," Nancy offered mirthfully.
Vicki almost had time to think on that.
* * * * * *
It was Sean who had woken her up. He was in the bathroom now, but he had left the light on and tossed something on the bed. Damn him, she thought, and she turned over. He had wanted her up for a reason, but she didn't feel she had to oblige. He could handle it for one evening, if she let up and left it at that.