Like Forbidden Fruit

Greenwood Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma | Google Maps

Greenwood Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma | Google Maps

She had seen him before. He was one of the pretty ones, broad of shoulder and slim of waist. He had almond eyes and high cheeks, but it was his lips she thought of the most. She wondered how they’d taste. She wondered what it would be like to kiss them.

Would it be different than kissing a white boy? The thought sparkled like a sky full of stars under a new moon. Milky way stars. But instead of Clarence’s face huffing over her, drops of July sweat dripping down, it would be this boy, this beautiful boy.

She realized as he boarded the elevator that she didn’t even know his name. She only knew she had to know once and for all how those lips tasted.

He walked to the back. He stood at one corner, eyes looking down. She smiled and closed the elevator door.

147 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

No one can say for sure what happened in the elevator between Dick Rowland and Sarah Page, the pair whose encounter launched the controversy and violence that was the Tulsa massacre. I went through many possible permutations in my mind, most of which I didn’t want to write, since neither of them can speak for themselves. Not exactly thrilled with this one either, but it’s hard not to wonder what really happened that day. 


  1. I do like your treatment. Restrained, yet brewing with misfortunes…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Crispina. I had a hard time, for sure, so I appreciate it. I hope you know you are invited to do whatever inspires you for this week’s prompt.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea, but I’m not taking it up this week. Head is splintered around too many other things, and some have higher priority. Apologies.


  2. Dear Karen,

    I love where you went with this. We’ll never know what really happened on that elevator, will we? However something tells me Dick Rowland neither raped nor even assaulted Sarah Page. I, for one, couldn’t resist the historical challenge and it’s a direction I might have gone in any event. (Don’t be too hard on the man 😉 )



    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you, Rochelle. It makes no sense that he would do that–and she did retract her story. But I guess we’ll never know. There was even speculation they had a Romeo and Juliet attraction. If that’s the case, it certainly ended a lot more tragically.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. yes, a lot of speculation the woman never went to Police to report she was assaulted. That is assuming she was, cause a scream could have been one of ecstasy and others who were jealous started the violence…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Could be! I had all kinds of speculation of what really went on, but none of them had him assaulting her in a public elevator. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Really excellent envisioning of this tale. It’s such a common element of racial hatred attacks, this alleged rape of a white girl by a crazed Negro. That narrative has been used as justification for countless murders and massacres , including the 1943 Detroit riots. Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much and thanks for the challenge this week.


  5. I took a similar line, but from his point of view, but left it just before he entered the elevator. Whatever the speculation, nothing justifies what followed. It’s hard not to wonder what really happened.


  6. It’s astonishing that their statements don’t exist – if they ever existed. I think it’s telling she decided not to press charges – surely, a white girl in those days would have felt entitled to if something, even a small something, had happened. And I’m assuming neither of them are now around to ask, so, as you say, we’ll never know.
    I think you wrote the story beautifully, Karen, and it’s just as likely as any other interpretation of that event.
    I could read a longer version of this, that forbidden attraction. Very well done


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.