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    Mama always said that the sea was a dangerous idea of love. At the time, I didn’t understand what she could mean. After all, there was no sea were we were… I’d only seen the sea from pictures of post cards myself. How could she know what the sea was and what it held? 



    “Kotani, come on now! We gon be late for church!” 

    “Alright!” Brown fingers left open an aged journal and pictures soon spilled out from the pages. In the aged black and white and amber…there stood a tall handsome fellow with almond shaped eyes and a big bright smile. There, demurely pressed against him stood her grandmama. The strange Asian man in the picture was a mystery that she wanted solved. He seemed to be strongly protective from the way he held her much smaller form. They looked real familiar and real comfortable with each other.

    “Get your shoes on Tani. We late as it is.” Her eldest sister hollered from down the stairwell. 

    “Girl you ain’t gotta holler. I’m comin.”

    “You know Grandmama can’t stand long. Now come on.” Huffing, she got her purse and pressed her curls back behind her ear. Darn near flying down the stairs, she let out a breath and gingerly reached for one of her grandmother’s hands. 

    “Come on Gam. We goin to church now.” The addled woman smiled, cloudy grey eyes lighting up. 

    “We gon see June Bug today?” She asked, voice that of a girl. 

    “No Gammy. We goin to church.” Her expression grew sad.

    “Oh. Church?”

    “Yes ma’am.”

    “Oh. A’right then let’s go.” 

    “Alright. Let’s head out.” It was 2010 and Kira Peterson was 94 years old. In her mind she was still the girlish 17 year old from way down south. It was hard sometimes to keep up with her because her mental state always varied but none the less, she was still the aged matriarch of the family… the family she’d always wanted to have. Said by her herself in her younger years. As they helped her into the car, Kotani’s desire to be back up in that attic grew deeper. Her grandmother never talked about herself much and she had always been curious to know why she always referred to herself as Kira Jung when she was in some of her moods. Perhaps it all had to do with that handsome man in the picture. 




    In her dreams, there he was. Like he always had been. He’d stand there, dressed in a tan cotton shirt and trousers, a clean set of suspenders outlining his broad shoulders. He’d just stand there, eyes watching over her, full lips set in an easy going smile. He wouldn’t speak and she could never bring herself to anyway. How funny that in her dreams, her silken silver hair turned dark brown almost black and the wrinkles and age of her seniority disappeared and she’d become much younger… her old self. Once she’d transform back, then and only then would he speak. 

    “Hey there pretty Kira girl.” She’d feel her cheeks grow warm and he would pull his hand free from his pocket and outstretch it towards her, fingers waiting. But before she could grab ahold of his hand, she always woke up. 

    She’d lived a good life…her later years weren’t full of complaints. Sure her knees and hands ached somethin serious and she couldn’t stand long… but she’d been blessed to live to 94 years old. The world had changed and it was too fast and foreign for her to keep up. In this modern age, the music had gotten obscene, the men and women loose and the cars even more strange looking. 

    Licking dry lips, she turned eyes onto her granddaughters, both of which were pretty and brown, one high yella and one chocolate…looking just like her daughter. At a fresh 15 and 19, they were her pride and joy. Beautiful black women who now had a chance. Not restricted anymore, they could be who and what they wanted and most importantly, they could love whomever they wanted. 

    “Gammy.” The youngest, Kotani called, starting to come towards her. 

    “Yeah Tangie girl?” Her cheeks warmed at the nickname but came to hug her, pressing her face against her breast. 

    “How come you never tell us anythin about you?” Voice laced with that sweet Georgia honey, it brought a smile to her. 

    “Chile what you on bout now?” She asked with that soft smile, wrapping her arms around the girl.

    “Can you tell me what it was like?” 

    “What it was like.”

    “Mmhm.” Turning eyes away from her, for the briefest second she swore she saw him standing there yonder, leaned back against a tree. Arms crossed and a piece of wild grass stuck in-between his lips. 

    “It was a different time baby. A very different time.” 




    Nineteen Hundred and Thirty Four 


    Sweat inched down a dark brown back and the sun was high in the sky. Bout this time it was sure to be bout noon. Eyes fixed on the dirt, the young girl briskly carried on about herself, careful not to bump into anyone else as she traveled. 

    “You there!” A deep male voice suddenly spoke behind her and she instantly felt fear slip across her flesh like goose pimples. Don’t look behind you. Just keep going. Hurry. Ignoring the increasingly loud calling, she picked up her feet, covered with dirt from the road and hurried a little faster, eager to get into the woods. 

    “Hey!” She didn’t stop to hear the rest, instead taking off in a run, clutching her dress in her hands as she fled. Today would be the day she’d attract the wrong attention. Normally, she had her brother Jimmy with her but he’d gone up to Atlanta for some business. Alone, she knew the horrors that awaited the black female. Panting, she ran until she didn’t hear the voice anymore and felt relief wash over her as she met the cool shade of the trees. Then and only then did she relax, letting out loud breaths of exertion. 

    “Damn you’re a fast little thing.” Twisting, she found a man bent over, hands on his knees as he panted. Sweat dripped off of his nose and his shirt was already soaked. 

    “Leave me alone…” 

    “I’m afraid I can’t do that.” Turning, she began to run again, drifting in and out of the trees, the cool moist dirt of the ground taking the heat off of her legs. 

    “Come back!”

    “No…No leave me be!” In her haste to get away, she slipped over a thick patch of roots and fell, slamming hard into the ground. Digging short nails into scratched up palms, she pressed her face into the dirt, tears starting to well up in her eyes. 

    “Found you.” Hands grabbed her and she started kicking. 

    “Be still now! I ain’t gon hurt you.”

    “NO!” The much larger man gripped her and forced her to turn around. Nausea hit her in waves as she felt him slip in-between her legs. The hair from her braid had come apart and she eyed the man through the thick dark clumps of sweaty strands. 

    “You’ve grown more beautiful.” 

    “What?” She panted, heart pumping against her chest. His hands let her go and she took the opportunity to push his chest hard in an attempt to fight him but quickly found her arms forced back against the hard root, part of it starting to make her hip ache. 

    “Quit fighting me dammit!” His dark hair was messy and she could only see his nose and lips. 

    “I’ll fight, bite, scream and scratch before I let you take me you wicked white devil!” She hissed back, lifting to jam the heels of her feet into his backside. To her disbelief, the man grinned and licked his lips before pulling himself off of her. 

    Pushing her dress down to cover her legs, she sat up, watching as the man finally revealed his eyes, hidden by all that cursed hair. Her mouth dropped open and her eyes grew wide. Those eyes were familiar and she’d know them anywhere. Almond shaped, they were a deep chestnut, deep and playful. 

    “J-June Bug?” That grin of his grew deeper. 

    “Seems I’m not a white devil after all. Thank Gawd of that.”

    “You corn eyed fool!” She bit out before she threw herself at him, feeling his stomach and chest bob with his laughter. 

    “Where’d the hell you learn that? Jimmy?” 

    “Don’t matter. Why you scare me like that huh? I thought you was a cracka somethin.”

    “I’m awfully sorry sweetheart. I ain’t mean to scare you. You ain’t give me a chance.” He said turning eyes down to take her in.         

    “I missed you Kira girl.” A soft sweet smile came to her mouth and their eyes met. 

    “Missed you too you big ol fool.” 





    “I’ve never talked about it…about him.” Her voice had grown soft and her eyes melancholy. 

    “But you loved him Gammy.” A sad smile drifted across her lips. 

    “Yeah. I did. Loved him more than life.”

    “Who was he?” 

    “He was everythin to me. Everythin.”

    “What was his name?”

    “What you say baby?”

    “What was his name Gammy?” The sad look in her eyes grew cheery all of a sudden and her voice grew girlish. 

    “Why that there was Jung Chanjoon… my June Bug. He was my very best friend.”




    He’d been away from home for a lil over a year and yet he always made it back to see her. In the quiet of the woods, he told her about his travels and his adventures away in a place called California. The Pullman Company had took him out that way and listening to him talk made her want to go there. All she’d known was her small town in Smyrna, Georgia all her life and he made her want to discover new places too. 

    “How you been pretty lil gal?” He asked, hands back in the pockets of his suspenders. Her cheeks flushed.

    “You know me. Still helpin Mama and Daddy crop. Me and Lily been wantin to go to Atlanta with Jimmy, see what it’s all about but you know Daddy won’t let me go.”

    “City life is very different from what you used to Kira girl.”

    “Yeah you would sound jus’ like him.”

    “Well, I gotta look out fore you don’t I?”

    “Yeah says the man who just tried to set me nine feet into my grave.” He chuckled. 

    “Why you gotta be so mean to me huh? What happened to the quiet timid lil thing you was growin up?”

    “You make me not so timid and not so quiet. You make me mean.”

    “Do I?”


    “Remind me to keep it up. I like it.” He said with a playful wink, setting her cheeks aflame. 

    “Whateva.” His laughter warmed her heart though and she playfully pushed him as they came out of the clearing and again into daylight. 

    “Tell you what… it’s damn good to be home.” He said with one of his bright sunny smiles, leaning back to let the sun drip drops of sweat down his neck. Watching him, she hadn’t known that that was the year everything between them would change. That would be the year that she’d fall in love with him. 



    “Come on Gammy, let’s get you ready for bed now.” 

    “Bed? It ain’t bedtime yet.”

    “It’s goin on nine o’clock Gam.” The eldest girl, Fronnie said gently, coming to grasp one of her hands. 

    “That right?”

    “Mmhm. Come on. Tangie and I help you into bed.” 

    “Okay baby.” Her updo was gently taken apart and small brown hands brushed her soft silver curls before loosely braiding them into a simple single plait. 

    “Gammy you got such pretty hair.” 

    “That right?”

    “Mmhm. It’s like silk.” Grey eyes watched as a night rail came across her shoulders. 

    “You know…he said the same thing…once a twice.” The two girls blinked as the woman struggled to get up. 

    “Guess that was one thing good about me. I had good hair.”

    “This about that man in the pictures?” Fronnie asked as they led her to her bed. 

    “Yo granddaddy neva knew. Couldn’t have him know.”

    “Know what?”

    “That I loved somebody else…” The sisters looked up at each other but quietly pulled the covers up over the small frail woman. 

    “G’night Gammy.” Two pairs of lips kissed the smooth dark skin of her brow and blew out the kerosene lamp that she insisted upon, not desiring any modern lights. Once they left her, the two eagerly found themselves in the attic, the old journal right where Tangie had left it. 

    “We gotta find out bout this June Bug man. Gammy ain’t never talked about him.” She spoke, picking up the heavy journal. 

    “How’d you even find this Tani?” Fronnie inquired, eying the thick dust that covered some of the storage containers and pictures surrounding them. 

    “Ion know. Just started lookin through stuff.”


    “Cause. Don’t act like you ain’t curious too.” The older sister worried her lips with bites. 

    “Fine. I am. I wanna know just as bad as you.”

    “He Asian. I know that much.” Fronnie’s eyes grew wide. 

    “Come again? He’s what?”

    “You heard me. Asian. Non black. Non white. Asian.” 

    “Wait..wait wait wait… you tellin me our grandmama was in love with an…an Asian man?” 


    “Ion believe you.” 

    “Look for yourself.” Gathering the pictures that had slipped out of the journal, she handed them to her sister and watched as her mouth dropped open, setting eyes on the same picture she’d seen. Of the tall undeniably and unmistakablyAsian man and her petite grandmama…awfully close and awfully familiar. He had his arm around her waist and one of her small hands pressed demurely against his stomach.

    “Oh my Gawd. You right.” Tani smirked. 


    “But that was unheard of in the 1930’s…. wasn’t no Asian man with no black woman during them days…”

    “Well there’s a couple right there.”

    “But how… This don’t make no sense.”

    “The only way we gon get our answer is by reading this journal. In Gammy’s own words.” Fronnie viewed the other pictures that she’d handed her. Pictures of their great uncle James Burnett Jr. and great aunt Lily and their great grandparents Tommasina and James Burnett Sr. All of them together and some with pictures of who they assumed were friends. 

    “Okay…let’s not spend all night up here. You gotta be at school early tomorrow morning and I got class.”

    “Just a few pages and then we’ll quit for today.”

    “Deal.” Neatly piling the pictures together, they opened the thick heavy journal’s front leather opening and started from the first page. 





    On this day, August Twentieth of the year Nineteen Hundred and Forty Five, my life will never be the same. From this day forth, consider it irreparable and permanently damaged.

Chapter End Notes:


A/N: Well guys, what do ya think? THANK YOU FOR THE SUBCRIBERS HEHE. I'm glad you've decided to take another journey with me. You all are so very lovely. Our June Bug is quite the prankster isn't he? Kira shoulda hit him for that LOL. I'll add some more character pictures of everyone I've compiled. Let me know what you think. hehe. 

Much love. God bless. 



Kotani "Tani" Bisset (15)

Saffron "Fronnie" Bisset (19)

Kira's husband (deceased) Mr. Robert Peterson in his younger years: 

Kotani and Saffron's parents:

Addilyn "Addie" Peterson-Bisset (Kira and Robert's only daughter) 

Their father Oliver Bisset 

Kira's brother James "Jimmy" Burnett Jr. 

Her sister Lily Burnett

Kira's parents: 

Tommasina Burnett 

James Burnett Sr. 

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.