RCA In-House, Short Stories, Tale Africa

Redemption (Part 5)

Prison RedemptionBy Cynthia Ayeza, Uganda:

We know the right thing to do; it is the doing the right thing that messes with us. But what would the right thing to do be when a child is unwanted, and worse still, when the unwanted child is all forms of deformity? How do you accept what your eyes cannot believe and what your heart rejects?

The child was born dark. No. Black. Like charcoal black. The kind of charcoal black from the rich woods of the Kagooba forest in the horn of Africa. It was wrinkly too. Baaba was also shocked. She looked afraid to touch it. Shouldn't a mother be overjoyed to hold their new born? Patrick for one felt no joy – he did not want a baby. Baaba looked terrified…but she held it when it was brought to her.

“She's…he's…” Baaba tried to speak but her voice trailed off.

At the time, they hadn't even realized that they had not been told the sex of the child.

The nurses looked on; the midwife had also left having done her part.

“Would you like to hold…” Baaba offered.

Patrick stepped back. How could he respond differently? It was repulsive to him. He wished for the heavens to reverse it all.

Baaba began to cry. Patrick walked out. He had no intentions of returning.

Baaba watched Patrick walk away. He was disgusted. Baaba could not afford to be disgusted. How could she be even if she could not help it? This was her own flesh and blood. She and Patrick made the baby. The nurses left almost as soon as Patrick left. Baaba was grateful for it – some time alone to digest what was before her. A miracle. A baby – new life is a miracle. But not all miracles are welcome. Not all miracles are wanted. And some miracles we wish we could reverse – return to the giver of miracles.

“I will love you my child…you are perfect to me,” Baaba consoled her own heart. She began to peel off the small sheets of cloth wrapped around her precious gift. She wanted to appreciate every bit of the child's life.

“Eight fingers… two thumbs…ten toes…dark and soft wool-like hair on your head…perfect eyes…you are perfect my…my…my…” Baaba could not proceed for she was not sure, now that she took the time to look closely whether she had a baby girl or baby boy.

It is not true that the child was all forms of deformity. In fact, for some it is a deformity but a child is a child, right? Ours was born with ambiguous genitalia. How this happened or what it meant for the future was nowhere in our minds. The fact was we both did not want a child. We had discussed it briefly and stated without question and without hesitation that a child would be an unnecessary complication. However, common sense should have always told us that sex under any circumstance could lead to a child. And when that happens, life sometimes isn't as easy as, “let's get rid of it”!

For Baaba, this was her lot in life. She would carry it. She would nurse the child. She would love the child. Patrick would have to come around…somehow.

“Sleep little child…mommy loves you…” Baaba sang a lullaby, as she placed the child at her breast. The child's lips latched on her nipple with ease. The child was right where it belonged.

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