Dalia

An attempt at realistic teen fiction, focusing on the life of a biracial thirteen-year-old girl living in a small Southern town. The author will ask that readers do not confuse her personal views with the views expressed by some of the characters in this story.

New Dreams Mobile Home Park was stuck between a considerably larger RV park and Amelia T. Waters Middle School.  Dalia Paxton lived there with her mother, Rachel, in a single-wide at the very back of the park-- a location Rachel's mother hated because she had to drive over three speed bumps to get there.  

On spring and summer days, Dalia could gaze out at the trees behind their lot and breathe in the sweet aroma of honeysuckle and pine.  Rachel had put up a trellis almost immediately after they'd moved in and planted vines that they both hoped would block the neighbor's yard.  But in the late fall and winter months, there was no thick curtain of leaves to hide behind, no floral perfume to help Dalia forget that she lived in a dingy neighborhood of tiny, manufactured houses next to a family that had never met a lawn ornament they didn't like.

Not that the neighbors were all that crazy about Dalia and Rachel.  The Jessups didn't burn crosses in the front yard, but they were very much aware of the fact that Dalia's parents were of two different races.  Dalia's very hair and skin tone were an affront to their delicate sensibilities.  Like many of the white folks in Dalia's hometown, the Jessups did not consider themselves racist... they just didn't think it was right for white women to date black men.

The fact that Dalia was an only child-- whereas Melinda Jessup had five kids crammed into their unit-- went completely ignored.  The Jessups felt that, any day now, Rachel was going to start having a whole pack of illegitimate biracial children who would totally overrun the neighborhood.  Even thirteen-year-old Dalia could see the panic in Melinda Jessup's beady eyes any time they had black friends over for a cookout.

The End

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