They packed up the car and left one breezy Sunday after church. Martha could say she had acclimatized to the south but there was much relief in getting out of Cora and Ben’s microcosm.
They drove over Georgia countryside to Atlanta bypassing the city center and continued on to Alabama.
At gas station fill up pit stops Martha noticed odd looks from people along the way. She found herself weak and vulnerable to the exposure. Naked to ridicule when she was tired or hungry. She struggled through bouts of self-doubt. To assume every look was disapproving their union seemed unlikely but what else could it be.
Martha sat by the motel pool outside Tuskegee, where the famous airmen trained, while Curtis napped in the room. She was an outsider. Her white skin was supposed to be supreme yet if she could change it she would. All she wanted was to disappear under a safe hide of mahogany so she could be a part of this real world.
Martha was afraid. She wasn’t feeling herself at all. It crossed her mind to drown herself in the motel pool while he slept. It was so foreign to wish desperately to be someone else to feel more like yourself.
Later Martha would find out she was pregnant.
“As strange as I felt that day in Tuskegee, Eunice darling I’ll never forget it. I can tell you now that you are a grown woman I cherish that memory for some reason. Being found in the pool would have caused a helleva ruckus so I keep it quiet from your father,” Martha said.
“Thank you for telling me your story mother. I love you,” Eunice said, with admiration hugging Martha.
Aside from mother being a pain in the tits sometimes, she was a damned good storyteller!