This post was inspired by a writing prompt from Write on Edge.
“Wanna come over and see my new baby brother?” I ask my best friend, Dara.
“Maybe.” she replies with a shrug. I can tell that babies don’t hold any special endearment to her either since we’ve both been recently ousted from our ‘baby of the family’ status.
She and I are sitting cross-legged on the playground’s concrete. There are no swings or monkey bars on which to play, just the fading outline of a hopscotch template. Our knees are touching and though it’s only morning, they already show signs of the day’s adventures. We toy with the loose gravel between us. We are hunched over, bending our heads close in a huddled conference. Dara and I have followed my older brother and sister to school, even though it would be another 2 years before she or I even start kindergarten. No one is around but still we whisper, so as to not draw any unwanted attention to ourselves. We do not want a repeat of the last time we followed them to school, and actually marched right into the school with them after the bell rang. Neither of our moms were nearly as entertained by this impromtu visit as was the school’s Principal, what with newborns at home and all.
Then we get down to business.
“Did you ask her?” Dara inquires.
Curious about our mothers’ growing bellies and the sudden appearance of a tiny human being, we had pinky-swore to each ask our mothers, where do babies come from?
“And?” her eyebrows raise inquiringly.
“She didn’t want to talk about it. Too tired. She’ll tell me later, she said.” is all I have to offer her.
“You?” I ask.
“Yeah, I asked her.”
“So. What did she say?”
“She told me she pooped the baby out …” Dara states matter-of-factly.
“You’re lying!” I hiss.
“Swear to God! That’s what she said!”
“Woah.” I think to myself but I say nothing outloud.
What else was there to say? It made sense at the time.
That’s the way I remember it – one of my life’s first pivotel conversations. Of course it would be years before I learn the truth, and Dara’s inaccuracy, on the miracle of birth. On that day in September 1967, however, Dara had held the key to life and had passed it on to me.