In April 2008, I was sitting on the wall outside our apartment complex in Brooklyn, N.Y. I noticed in the distance a familiar individual walking towards me. It was Iris. I had known her for some time now. She lived in the complex. Although I hadn’t seen her for some months, I realized as I sat there and was still in love with her. Iris was Spanish and very beautiful, as many Hispanic women are. I had fallen in love with her some years before, when we first met. It was love at first sight. I had always loved her. Iris was a widow. We talked delicately and innocently, exchanging pleasantries. I found myself telling her I nevertheless still loved her. Although Iris was Spanish and I was African-American, I felt as though I loved Iris as much as any woman I had ever know. The following days seemed to pass by quickly. We talked every day. I found myself writing her poetry and love letters. In July, 2008, I decided to publish the love poetry and love letters written to Iris. In December 2014, my first book, “African-American Love, Hispanic Hearts” was published, featuring the letters and poetry written to Iris. Although our relationship came to an end when I moved away from the apartment complex in 2009, I realized had our circumstances been different I would have asked Iris to marry me.
I decided to write a novel loosely based on my love experience with Iris. Although my relationship with her was mostly friendly, I hoped to write a novel about an interracial couple in a fully-developed relationship. This would be the basis for the book. In 2009, I moved from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (where I had known Iris) to Crown Heights, Brooklyn. To say the least, Crown Heights wasn’t nearly as nice as Sheepshead Bay. The apartments in Crown Heights weren’t as nice either. In the Spring of 2010, my apartment in Crown Heights was over-run with mice. With virtually no money, I was forced to vacate my apartment and moved into a men’s shelter. Later, I would decide to use the above scenario and men’s shelter as a backdrop for the novel. I would also decide to loosely write about some of the people I met while in the shelter system, both residents and staff. All names and events would be fictionalized. The novel begins in John Smith’s furnished apartment, where he is suffering from major depression. The apartment is also over-run with mice. One wonders if John is ever going to recover sufficiently. John finally recovers enough to reach out to his friend who also lives in the building.
John explains to his apartment is overrun with mice and he must move into a men’s shelter, despite his poor health. After a lengthy ride into Manhattan, the following scenes tells about John’s experiences in the men’s shelter. The events now tell about how John copes with the everyday existences in the shelter system. How John copes with residents and staff members. How John depends on an unknown God for help. Shortly after having arrived in the shelter, the book reveals how John is re-united with his estranged son of over two years. The book tells of how they initially reach out to each other until they are once again close as father and son. Mostly the book tells of John and Olga’s relationship. How they inter-act and complement each other. How the love they have for each other is insurmountable. No matter what comes their way, their love is encouraging and supportive. Their love for each other seems to transcend the pages of the book and John’s adverse experiences. Lastly, the book exhibits how when love at its superlative can overcome all challenges and adversities in its pathway.
The book shows how John is willing to undertake all challenges and obstacles to achieve their one end: for John and Olga to marry. The book also shows how Olga, suffering from a meager existence herself, is willing to support John in his quest to overcome depression and an impoverished existence himself. Although they are impoverished materially, John and Olga are vital and rich in spirit. Though John is initially fearful and somewhat apprehensive about going to the men’s shelter, once he is there he seems to go through the events and system casually and mostly unimpeded and mostly without incident. Despite his poor health, John strives to achieve his ends and goals. Olga is of great support to him. John’s son is of great support also. The fact that John and Phillip have forgiven each other of any past offences or transgressions makes their relationship a better one. Finally, the book tells of basic human morality and frailty, how the will to live can overcome adversity, and how love always triumphs in the end.