Sunday, August 08, 2004

NDAWNIS -first baby

Zephry’s Recollects: yellow girl’s first baby

Oh that girl. We wanted our son to have a good brown wife, who worked hard and had babies to bring over. We were not expecting him to bring home a corn princess all yellow up against our brown who didn’t want to have any babies. But as soon as Arthur got to Law School she was pregnant. He had decided that she needed some company –something more to do. After the birth strange words greeted us.

I was a disappointment. They wanted their son to have a good brown wife who had lots of babies. While he went to school I worked a day job, and took in sewing and typing to make ends meet. And then I realized I was pregnant. Pregnant, totally alone, a husband who paid no heed except when he wanted money or attention, or angry because I was there when some other woman called. The women in the office tried to be supportive –there were five of us pregnant at the same time. One of the girls didn’t even know how the baby would come out, someone laughed --the same way it got in. We were a bunch.
My boss was furious when she found out I was pregnant and even more furious when I called after six weeks leave to come back to work. --Talk about the boss from hell, she would sit up drinking with her mother every night and come to work organizing files with colored pens and tabs. Her main job was looking for anything to harangue and she would sit and sulk if nothing went wrong, or scream at the phone if her mother called telling her to buy more scotch.
I bought a mynah bird to keep me company. It learned to laugh the way I did and make a mechanical sewing machine noise. I tried to teach it to say ‘hello’ but it didn’t take. When I returned from my three days at the hospital, the bird had been taught to say some new words. Zephry soon came to visit us --her first words through the door, even before Hello, “I came to see what color the baby is.” The mynah bird laughed and then said, “Fuck you” and laughed again. Arthur was shocked. I thought it was quite wonderful. I had always wanted to say that to her. Beloved husband had taught the bird to say FU while I was in the hospital –he wanted a son, not a daughter. It had not occurred to him that the bird could make it clear about how he felt in front of his mother –the mother who would have chosen for him to have married anyone but me. Isaiah came over quickly and hugged me and the baby, asking how we were doing.

Strangely the bird died a few days later.


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