Lee Nelson, a Character in “Just One Kiss” by Rita Hestand

What is your story?

My name is Lee Nelson, I fought for the Union Army in Texas against the Indians. I fought for the south in the civil war. I’m from Alabama originally and although I’ve lost an arm, I fully intend to go home and work my land, maybe see Hattie and Sam again, and hope I don’t have to still fight the Jeffries as they want the water on my land.

Are you the hero of your own story?

Hattie thinks I’m a hero, although, I never looked at it that way.

What is your problem in the story?

My problems are, I love a black woman in a state that refuses to accept such a thing, and I own land that everyone around me wants the water on it.

Do you run from conflict?

No, I never ran from conflict, that’s been my problem I face it head on. Guess that’s why I lost my arm…but I’d do it all over again, if I had to.

How do you see yourself?

I’m a well seasoned man, after eight years fighting Indians and the North, I’ve learned a lot, lost a lot, and want to find a peace in the world.

Do you have a goal?

I want my land, to work and live on, and above all, I want to claim Hattie Tanner as my own. I want to make a family with her, but I can’t do it in Alabama, and even I know that.

Do you have any special strengths?

I’ve learned to cope with having only one arm.

What do you believe?

That the color of skin has no place in love. It’s just a color. That it’s the person inside that counts. And that some are destined to be together no matter what.

What makes you happy?

Hattie, the kids, Sam, even Ole Joe, and knowin’ I have a piece of land that’s mine.

What are you afraid of?

Something happening to Hattie, the Jeffries want to shame her, ruin her, kill her. I want her love that’s all. She’s been mine since that first kiss, I knew that. I knew there would be trouble too, but some things you just got to fight for, she’s one of them. She’s damned sure worth fighting for.

What makes you angry?

Bigots, men and women too that think they are better, people who are greedy, can’t share.

Do you have any handicaps?

Sure, I lost an arm in the war, but I learned to cope so maybe I don’t have a handicap as you call it. I feel I’ve overcome. Some people have a handicap and don’t know it, because you can’t see it.

What in your past had the most profound effect on you?

Meeting Hattie was unexpected, falling in love with just one kiss was not planned. It just happened, and I couldn’t shuck the feelings I had for her in all the wars nor the eight years I thought about her.

Was there a major turning point in your life?

Even though the kisses we shared were unforgettable, when I saw her again, eight years later, I knew I wanted her for my own. I knew there would be trouble, a lot of trouble. But I knew she was the only one for me, and I think she felt the same.

Was there ever a defining moment of your life?

Joining the service made me a man, meeting Chase Rivers taught me how to live, meeting Hattie and Sam taught me to love.

How do you envision your future?

Hattie and Sam, and Joe and I and the kids are all going to live at the Indian Village in Texas. It’s the only place we can go and be accepted and live a normal life that I know of. And we will live happily, and learn much, and grow as a family, I want many children too. I want her to be my wife, as the Lord made her the day I kissed her.