by Gabriel Urbina


Paul and Francine are military brats, who spend much of their childhood and adolescence overseas. Paul does not feel like a full-fledged American, while Francine seems to have a different perspective.

"I don't feel like a true American" I told my sister Francine. "My major flaw is that I really don't like American football, and here you are, inviting me to a watch party with you and some of your friends, most of them probably football fanatics. I won't fit in." Fran laughed heartily.

Fran and I are military brats, products of DOD schools, Department of Defense schools that is, for the children of American servicemen and government employees based overseas. My sister is seven years older than me, and she was born in England. I was born in the USA, during one of those rare occasions when my dad was stationed stateside.

When Francine finished high school in Italy, she returned alone to the United States to attend college, so I didn't see much of her for several years. In high school she was excellent at math, biology and chemistry, so I'm not surprised that she became a Lab Technologist. I excelled in math, but I was just average in science. I am presently working on my degree in Architecture, while working part-time restoring old houses.

Fran finally stopped laughing and said, "It just a game, a sport, a pastime; an opportunity to socialize. I think I know why you don't like American football; but i want to hear what is your take on it."

"Well, I see a bunch of black players defending the quarterback, and another bunch of black players trying to attack him. Now, the hero, the quarterback, is a white guy. So, the black defenders are busting their butts protecting the white hero, while the black attackers are trying to bring him down. With the opposing team is the same story. This is done for the glorification of the white quarterbacks."

" You have an interesting vision of it, Paul; I won't deny that," Fran said, smiling broadly. "If I were you, I wouldn't share this vision with others. Let me give you my opinion about this feeling you have about your Americanism, and about your dislike for American football. You feel semi-American, when in fact you are very fortunate to have received an excellent education, we both have, which makes us better Americans. All those years in Europe made you a soccer fan; you are just not into American football, that's all. Not everybody likes it, but they keep quiet about it."

We were silent for a moment, then she said, "Your interest in Architecture comes from your exposure to Europe also, as well as your interest in Art. Your education didn't just happen within the four walls of a classroom, that's for sure.'

"Well it is so nice to have an elder sister to guide me in my life journey, let alone setting me straight." I wasn't being sarcastic, and she knew it.

"We are who we are, Paul. In a sense we grew isolated from the way things are in the United States. Many people have trouble making ends meet, and the best they can do is to live from paycheck to paycheck. The only affordable entertainment they have is to watch sports on television. Before you were born, and when Dad was stationed In England, we saw basically the same thing, or even worse. There were many small towns who depended on one factory, one mine, one industry, and all these hard working people had was their soccer team; and that's the way things still are, I'm sure."

"I get it sis, many of us have the option of several sports as entertainment, while for others is the only thing they have to keep them going."

"That's it, my dear little brother."

"If I'm so dear to you, how come you want me to go to watch a sport I don't like."

"Because I want you to meet my friend Frances, who also goes by Fran, that's why. She'll be at the party, and she wants to meet you."

'Oh yea? And how do you know this Frances person?"

"I went to high school in Italy with her. We were in the same science classes, and we both were in the volleyball team. And we went to the same college."

"I see. So you were Fran One, and she was Fran Two?"

"No. The opposite. She was Fran One. She's a month and a half older than me."

"Wow. She works at the lab too?"

"Nope. She is a Physical Therapist."

I remained quiet for a while. I went to fix myself a cup of coffee, and Francine said she wanted one too. I was taking my time, I needed time to process all this information. Then I said, "So let me get this straight; you want to fix me up with an older woman; older than my own sister?"

"That's correct. You don't have a girlfriend. You have dated a string of young women, and obviously things are not working out for you. Believe me, when you meet Frances you are going to forget all about her age, and both of you are not going to pay much attention to the football game. She's interested in you, and what you do."

It is so nice to have a sister like Francine. She is persuasive. She took care of me when I was in elementary school, and she is taking care of me now. Suffice to say that she was right about everything she said. I even forgot about feeling like a semi-American. I didn't see the football game at all, and neither did Frances. We were too busy talking to each other. We really hit it off. So now I have two Frans in my life.

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