• Based on a true story •
She combed through my hair, easing knots, and taming it with coconut oil.
"You have to learn to take care of it" she said.
I just nodded as I watched the new plants sprouting in our backyard,
"Stay still" she chided as I felt my hair being secured in tight braids.
"Turn around." She looked at my face and nodded in approval and began cleaning the comb.
Delicate, slender fingers that always mesmerized me with their grace and precision. Carefully manicured fingers, working on the teeth of the comb, pulling out strays.
Brown eyes looked up at me with brows knit in confusion, "What are you sitting around for? Don't you have any homework?"
"I finished them already, I wanted to ask you something."
"What is it?" winding stray hair in circles around her index finger.
"Yes. What is it?" dusting herself now.
"The new girl at school, she told me about the story of her birth. How her father and grandparents threw a huge party to celebrate her birth. And how they invited everyone from their neighborhood and they served all types of chicken dishes and-"
"And?" she urged as she got up from her crossed leg position.
"Ma... Ma?" desperate to hold her attention before the menu for lunch does. "Mummy!"
"What is it?" she snapped.
"What's my story? How was everyone when I was born? Were grandfather and grandmother there? Was there a party?"
"Well... after I gave birth to you, they cleaned you up and took you off to show you to your father. I remember then, how excited your father was when you were inside my stomach."
"He used to come home from the Army as often as he could to see you grow in my belly. He used to write to me every week to ask about you. If you were kicking in my belly..."
"Whoa. And then?" I inched closer.
"And then... my parents told me that when the nurse took you out to show them, your father was disappointed."
"What? Why?" I spat immediately, brows creased in deep concern.
What did I as a newborn, just seconds out of the oven could've done to disappoint him?
"Was I too fat? Or too dark? Or-"
"It's because you are a girl."
I blinked at her in confusion.
"Your father was expecting a son, you see" she said getting up.
"My parents told me that your father did not even hold you when he first saw you." She patted my head and walked away.