lay on the plank floor in the corner. Its unfrosted glass
held the reflection of the overhead bulb, a speck of
brightness. A half-dozen film negatives curled up around
it like dead leaves. I pick them up and held them before
the light with strange excitement, curious to see the
image that some prior occupant of the room had photo-
packets of photos and hurrying to this squalid room to warm
himself with the view of his wife, his children, his parent,
his girlfriend—who knows? He had sat here holding blank
negatives, masterpieces of the human ingenuity wasted.
of Negro sex life. Only the language differed from
the previous inquirers—the substance was the same
….He quoted Kinsey and others. It became apparent he
of facts, but no truths.
attempting to bring up a family decently, their gratitude
that none of their children were blind or maimed, their
willingness to share their food and shelter with a stranger—
the whole thing overwhelmed me. I got up from bed, half-
frozen anyway, and stepped outside.
masses in the diffused light. I sat on an inverted washtub
and tremble as its metallic coldness seeped through my pants.
the feel of my own children’s good-night kisses. I saw again their
large eyes, guileless, not yet aware that doors into wonderlands
of security, opportunity and hope were closed to them.
It has come because the things we dreamed of did not materialize.
Many still hold the old dreams even while accepting today’s realties.