His pregnant girlfriend’s father had abandoned her and her mother when she was young, and the writer is determined to prove to them that he’ll be a different kind of man and father:
“When Kenyatta was 2, her father walked out on his family. He never returned, but his ghost walks with Kenyatta and Camille, dredging up ancient issues of trust between black men and women. And so for their mutual protection, Camille has forged a secret pact with her daughter—it’s the two of them against the world. Nobody, especially not a man, can save them.
“I want to believe that I’ve given both Camille and Kenyatta reason to think differently about me. I don’t close down the clubs or run the streets. I have a passion for cooking and reading, which makes me a natural homebody. Most important, I love Kenyatta. And I also feel bound by her pain. Her father’s sin of abandonment, so common among black men, feels like some sort of burdensome family debt. On my honor, I’ll have that debt paid. But I want to do it as I see fit—without fanfare and pomp, without grandiose titles and pronouncements, without marriage.”