After Dinner Conversation

Volume 1, Issue 6, December 2020

Marie Anderson
Pages 26-34


To what degree can race relations, driven by media perception or inadvertent errors in speaking, be overcome by personal, positive, interactions? In this work of philosophical short story fiction, a retired, white, widowed woman lives in a predominately black neighborhood. Her African-American husband is long dead and she has made every effort to integrate herself into her black community. She is longtime friends with her neighbors, particularly the 16-year-old boy, Zion, who comes over daily to give her dog a diabetes shot and assist her with chores around the house to make extra money. However, as the Black Lives Matter protests escalate in the community, the narrator increasingly becomes the target of hate, sometimes for no reason, sometimes because of her thoughtlessness. Her relationship with Zion continues to falter until he sheepishly takes the side of those in the community and separates all ties with the narrator. He returns the various gifts she has given him over his life because he wishes to leave his childhood behind and take up the fight against oppression. This story, like all After Dinner Conversation stories, has suggested discussion questions at the end.