Part 3

  

I said with emotion. I couldn’t see any of me in our newborn daughter, but I loved her just the same. When I looked at Nia I saw her mother, this only helped me love our baby more. The doctor had cleared out along with the nurses giving Aesha and I some much needed alone time with Nia. Aesha was smiling but then she looked away emotional, but not in the positive sense. I was standing beside her and leaned down kissing her on top of the head, I knew what this sudden stir of negative emotion came from. “Your mother wants to be here, but you know and I know your father won’t allow it.” When Aesha and I decided to get married we met heavy restistance from her father Karan. There were several reasons that he didn’t want us to marry. He said that two separate cultures could not work, and that he already had a man in mind for his daughter. When Aesha said that it was me she wanted as a husband he said he didn’t want a nigger for a son in law. I mean really? He decided to insult me more by saying that if I was white he wouldn’t have a problem with me marrying his daughter. It ended with him threatening to fight me his wife Sophia stood in the middle of us. I would not fight an old man like him, I outweighed him easily by 100 lbs or more. And I was a trained master of the martial arts. It did get ugly when Aesha decided to leave with me, Karan tried to grab her and tell her she wasn’t going anywhere, that’s when I stepped in and pushed him back and away from her. We made a hurried exit. Sophia called us ten minutes later saying that Karan wanted Aesha home and for us to forget all of this nonsense. She told her mother no, then she hung up. We were able to still see her four sisters and brother and mother behind Karan’s back. We all had to meet at a park or the library. It wasn’t quality time but Karan forbid all family members to stop communicating with Aesha which of course didn’t happen but he did tell Sophia to let Aesha know that she was dead to him. So here we were a historical moment in our life and her family couldn’t come up to see Aesha or the baby. Aesha was close to her family so this was a bitter sweet moment. My parents live in another state so they wouldn’t be here for a few days, no one expected Aesha to go into labor at this time but I suppose we all should’ve expected it since it was so close to her due date. I fell silent not knowing what to say. Aesha laid her head back onto my torso realizing how quiet it had gotten. She reached up with her free hand and caressed my arm.  

 

She said staring down at our daughter. “You think so?” I said focusing on Nia’s face. I swear she looks South Asian.” I said. Aesha laughed. “What?” I asked her. “Nia is lighter than both of my parents yet my father said he didn’t want me marrying a black man.” That was funny when I thought about it. I was brown, but my mother was a pale African American with blue eyes and blond hair. My dad however was a little darker than me. “You never know, she could be darker as she gets older. My brother is light with blond hair and blue eyes like mom, and my sis is light with green eyes and light brown hair. But I got the darker skin, hair and eyes. So you never know Nia could be darker later.” Aesha gently stroked Nia’s round chubby cheek. “Either way, dark or light; she’s beautiful.” Aesha said softly. We both looked at Nia, leaning down I kissed Aesha on the cheek, she kept her gaze on the slumbering Nia. 

  
Aesha said fondly with a smile. “Our baby, our responsibility. Our journey together.” 

“Our financial responsibility.” I said jokingly not even knowing that not long from then I’d be laid off and have the stress of finding ways to feed my family. I don’t wish it on anyone. We applied for temporary assistance with the government when I got laid off. I swallowed my pride and applied for food stamps, it turned out they said my wife made too much so we didn’t qualify. It was so damn frustrating. Maybe I was feeling what was about to come, or maybe I was scared of being responsible for this little life, I didn’t want to fail Nia, or Aesha. As I sat quietly worrying about making sure we would be ready financially for Nia it happened. 

  
Aesha said overjoyed. It was nice for both of us to see that smile from Nia, it was well timed. “A good sign?” I asked. “Why?” I followed. 

  
I held onto that moment while I peddled down the freeway in the darkness. My legs were burning because I wasn’t just peddling normally, I was pushing myself without pausing.

  
I was closer to home, closer to my family. I tried not to think about those damn mindless infected in my house seeking my wife and child out to do them harm. I fought to keep my mind sane, but deep down I was ready to explode with overflowing anxiety. One foot after the other, keep this damn bike moving along. The air felt cool blowing on my skin, sweat started to bead on my forehead. My chest was starting to burn, I was pushing myself too hard, I should know better but my anxiety was starting to take hold. The exit ramp to my neighborhood finally was visible, I was maybe 10 minutes or less from home. I kept my eyes forward staring at that exit ramp sign in the distance. 

  

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