Part 1

                   

This would be the last night that I would hear from her, my wife Aesha. I was on the road driving back home in my semi truck when it all went to shit. It was early evening as I drove, my radio was blasting 70’s rock music loudly and I failed to hear the text alert message on my phone that sat on the seat beside me. How strange, I was in good spirits that night. I just made enough money to pay our overdue rent and would manage to pay for our health insurance in time before we lost our coverage. We’d been struggling pretty bad this last year. I’d gotten laid off from a pretty good job that I had as an office manager last Christmas, I mean who knew? I sure as hell didn’t. My daughter was born in December which added insult to injury. How could my boss lay me off at a time like this? Well I didn’t have time to sulk, my wife was a school bus driver but that wasn’t going to be enough, besides she was off work and unpaid for the entire pregnancy. She had many complications, and my wife had previously miscarried two times. This time the doctor wasn’t taking any chances, he told her to not work and rest as much as possible during this pregnancy. If this wasn’t enough he also gave us the distressing news that my wife might not survive the pregnancy. He said it had to do with her hemoglobin levels. My wife is South Asian and the doctor pointed out that quite possibly due to her vegetarian diet and a few other things her levels would drop too low during labor. He said it was totally common in women from South Asia. Her body would need massive amounts of protein to make it. The dangerous thing was that while the average woman’s hemoglobin levels ranged from 12.1 to 15.1, my wife’s stayed at a steady 7.3 a far cry from average. Her doctor was concerned because he said during labor a woman’s hemoglobin levels dropped which meant Aesha’s would drop dangerously lower. The other concern was that Aesha walked around at 100 lbs, sometimes lighter. She never looked that small, but she was. 

I was a martial arts instructor and I specialized in urban combat survival, it was my second job. My dream was to have a building one day and make teaching combat martial arts my only job, but at the time I only had 8 students and I taught out of my garage. It wasn’t bad actually, I converted the garage into a pretty nice looking training area. Well anyway I talked to one of my students Danny who was a nutritionist freak and he came up with some good ideas to help me get Aesha’s weight up. Every two weeks Aesha had to go to a blood specialist to have her hemoglobin levels checked, it was stressful to see her levels raise a little only to drop a lot. But in the last week of November 2 weeks before my wife’s due date her hemoglobin levels rose to an astonishing 12.8. And then on 12/13/14 our beautiful daughter Nia was born. Only born a few days early there was never a fear that Nia’s life was in danger, it was only Aesha’s. I’ll never forget how nervous I was upon Nia being born, I kept waiting to hear the doctor say something would go wrong, but it never did. In fact it was the fastest most perfect birth that the doctor ever had. Aesha was in labor for only 25 minutes, and had to only push 5 times before our daughter came out. 

  
Nia was truly beautiful an almost complete mirror image of her mother with a full head of coal black hair. And for a moment I had forgotten all the stress of possibly losing my wife and I saw what Aesha had always wanted, a child. You see after her last miscarriage the doctor said that possibly she might not be able to carry a baby to term, this news devastated us both, but more so my wife. So we gave up on trying to have a child, and secretly I told myself I’d never ejaculate inside my wife again to even build up her hopes. I went out after that and purchased a few boxes of condoms. But as fate would have it on our trip to Lucaya in the Bahamas the romantic mood was very high. We couldn’t afford a honeymoon when we first married so five years later I surprised her with a weeks vacation to Lucaya. It was perfect, too perfect. After a romantic dinner by the ocean with the moon looking down on us, we headed back to our hotel room where we made passionate love, without a condom. A few weeks after returning Aesha started to get moody and oddly requested a hamburger. Upon her request I decided to make a trip to the store and grab a pregnancy test before getting her a hamburger, after all she was a vegetarian. My suspicions were confirmed she was pregnant. I was angry with myself for getting her pregnant yet excited at the same time, but I hid the excitement the entire pregnancy, we both did. And now 9 months later Nia was born.

  
It was so strange, I looked Nia over while I held my newborn daughter for a trace of my African American heritage and found none. Maybe that would change as she grew older. But at that moment she looked like a little South Asian baby girl nothing more. I’m sure that sounds trivial and maybe it was, my joy at seeing the happiness on my wife’s face, and holding my daughter erased that trivia from my mind, it only hovered briefly. It was a miracle that all this even happened. From my wife’s hemoglobin levels, the fact that she was able to carry to full term and deliver a healthy baby girl, her pregnancy was quite easy, and lastly she survived and weighed 130 lbs from her starting weight of 100 lbs even. I’ll never forget when she turned her head looking at me with a smile from her hostpital bed, her eyes weary from the work of laboring a baby just 15 minutes ago or so. 

She said:

  
We both cried together after that. We were so happy and thankful for Nia, and we were ready to start our new life with her. But just a short time after Nia’s birth I was laid off as I previously stated. This brought on stress at least to me, Aesha always said that God would take care of us, I didn’t argue but saw our bills starting to back up. So I quickly jumped to get my CDL liscense after my uncle who was a truck driver said it was pretty good money. During my CDL training things were pretty hard financially, my wife was driving a school bus and for extra money we cleaned a building at night, but it wasn’t enough. We were always getting shut off notices from the gas and electric company, and even a few times almost had them both shut off. But we somehow survived, maybe it was God like my wife always said.

 And so now I was finally feeling great. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell my wife the good news. I wanted to surprise her, not call or text her. I was equally excited to see Nia, our little miracle child. I still hadn’t checked my phone for my wife’s text until I hit the outer belt and saw the rush hour traffic. Traffic was stopped to a halt, but this late in the evening? That’s when I heard on the radio that something crazy was going on, there was a kind of fear that was uneasy in the radio jockeys voice as they hurriedly said to lock your doors and let the authorities handle the violence in the streets. It sounded like massive civil unrest, and it made me concerned for my wife and baby. That’s when I reached down for my phone and saw Aesha’s text message lit up on the screen. I opened the text to read it fully my stomach cramping as I read every word. I frantically called her but it went straight to voicemail, either her phone was dead, or she turned it off. I called again to make sure and got voicemail instantly. I cursed loudly tossing the phone down on the seat. Looking out in front of me at the sea of parked cars on the highway, desperation started to set in, I had to get back home. I needed to make sure my wife and child was ok.

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