A Love Divided

The monument debate in New Orleans has sparked some very interesting conversations to say the least. One of which was the idea of a love story that might take place between two protesters on opposite sides of the issue. I had added some interesting lines and people begged me to write this. So, here it goes. 

 

Jeb stood in front of the Jefferson Davis Monument. Waving the Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia he wondered what was becoming of the city of his birth. He had long since moved and his family took up residence in several other parishes over the years. He turned to another patriot, an older gentleman with a long gray beard, “Do you reckon this a lost cause?”

“I sure hope not,” said the older man. “These symbols are our heritage. They want to erase us from history. Stand tall son. This is important for all of us.”

Canal Street separated the Confederate protesters from the locals much like the Mason Dixon line separated North from South. Jeb scanned the crowd across from him. You never knew when those “AntiFa” would cause problems. Suddenly, he locked eyes with a darker skinned protester from the wrong side of the protest. This wasn’t a gaze of hatred or anger, but one of intrigue.

Hours passed and protesters came and went. The only constant was the two of them. The stranger crossed the street when they were finally alone. With an outstretched hand he said “My name is Sherman, yours?”

“Jeb. Where you from?”

“Right here, well the lower 9th ward born and raised. NOLA all my life. In fact, I am so in love with my city my friends call me Nola. You?”

“Born here, but moved all over. Currently living in Waggaman.”

Both men stood there for a second, the heat from Sherman’s gaze burned through Jeb’s soul like Atlanta burned during the civil war. Jeb reached down for his cooler. “I got a couple of beers left, you want one?”

“Don’t mind if I do.”

Sherman opened his beer and looked at Jeb. “Why do you stand here defending a man whose purpose was to keep my people enslaved? I don’t want to attack you, I just want to understand.”

“I don’t see it as that. I view this as history. I don’t want slavery; that is evil.”

“But to celebrate it? His outstretched hand is a symbol of oppression to me.”

Jeb gulped his beer and opened another one. He could feel the genuineness of his soul and for the first time he felt conflicted. He outstretched his hand again “I understand how you feel. I am just glad we can talk civilly about this. I hope your take my outstretched hand as genuine.”

The two men shook hands but the grasp remained longer. Jeb had rented an AirBnB around the corner and suggested that they finish the beers there. Sherman agreed.

****

As soon as they entered the door Jeb walked backwards into the living room. Neither had been with another man but both knew they wanted this. Sherman slowly reached for Jeb’s belt buckle and zipper. Jeb whispered in his ear “Take em down, Nola.”

That night Sherman was driven to his knees with overwhelming conviction. Instead of dying a thousand deaths, they surrendered to their passion. And after about four score and 7 minutes, both men fell to the bed. A few minutes later, Sherman was pleased to find out that the south would indeed rise again.

****

The next day Jeb woke up, half of his bed empty. Nola had opened his eyes and his heart. He knew what he had to do. Battle flag in hand, he marched down to the protest. Instead of joining his fellow confederates, he crossed to the other side where he found Sherman standing there. He decided to throw away a heritage based on hate and instead embraced love and kindness. Cigarette lighter in hand, he set the flag on fire for all his former friends to see. He grabbed Sherman’s hand and shouted “Take em down! Take em down!” because he knew that a love divided against itself could not stand.