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Ten Years Ago

My first black lover, Dan-Dan and I were at Michigan State living together in an apartment converted from a house that had to be eighty or ninety years old when I went into labor with my first ever "live birth." I'd miscarried three times with my ex-husband and this was the first time I'd ever carried a baby all the way to term. As I say so often in my novels, who knew I'd have to change the complexion of my lover to get pregnant. We were alone. His family was nearly five thousand miles away in Accra, Ghana; while my family was three hours away on the west side of the state living in a tight-assed coastal community where blacks had better be fruit pickers for the apple and cherry orchards. As you women know, your first delivery seems to be somewhere between a year to a decade's worth of pain while you're going through with it. To be quite honest, I was thankful for the epidural and for the subsequent injections (sorry, I forget the drug. Only that it was injected in the buttocks.). Anyway after a thousand years of pushing, I knew it was nearly over. The nurses pushed my gurney out through the post-operative area and I looked at this tiny red-black skinned stranger wailing and squirming inside a hospital incubator. "Aww," I thought "Look at that poor tiny little preemie." Then Dan-Dan gave a huge smile and showed me the preemie's incubator. "Look, here's our baby!" What! No, it couldn't be. Our baby had to weigh at least forty pounds and be three feet long. Thus my first lesson as a new mother came to an end.