Where were we last time? Oh yes … I was crying myself to sleep when I heard the news that Calla, hear this, MY daughter had been born healthy. Jeddy actually used the sentence “I’m holding your kamzungu here.”
That was the picture I slept with at 2:00 am and woke up to at 4:30 am without the need of an alarm. Those who know me know I can sleep, and I do sleep. And I need an alarm to get up, after snoozing like 17 times.
Not this dawn, May 19 2017. I woke up like a father should. I didn’t shower – what’s showering? – and dragged Kero out of the other bedroom. He was also so excited you would think he was the father. When the hospital doors opened at 6:00, we were the first in – running. Even the nurses and other patients started clapping and cheering when I ran in like a village boy expecting scones from his mother.
And there she was. Sleeping like a little, cuddly doll, breathing softly – I placed my ears under her nose to listen to the most beautiful sound you will every hear, the sound of your child breathing. I just looked at her, transfixed. She was beautiful, too beautiful to be true. I’m not saying this because she’s my daughter, but honestly, she was the most beautiful baby. Curly, dark hair, lips more beautiful than her mother’s (and Jeddy has beautiful lips), a masterpiece of a nose (like a cat’s, not my long German nose), and the clenched fingers, long a thin like mine…
Then she opened her eyes, and my-oh-my!
I was mystified as I looked into those eyes. So pure, and innocent, and loving and white with large pupils at the middle like a cat’s. I swear she was also looking at me too, I can swear I saw her smile when she saw me. Haters will say babies’ eyes don’t actually see the first day and that was just a movement on her lips, but hamsemi kitu. Calla saw me, recognized me, and gave me her first ever smile.
So, I looked at her, she looked at me… We looked into each other’s eyes like true lovers – that’s who we were, anyway. I was her true love and she was my true love. She was all that mattered to me at that moment, and it was overwhelming… a pure emotion surge hit me. I started trembling and tearing up. This small life was my blood, and flesh, and water… and sperm. My seed.
God had blessed me with the most beautiful child, ever. And she was breathing and looking at me and smiling at me. I didn’t hold her first… I walked away for a moment before I could burst into a sob in front of my daughter. See, I’m an African man and we don’t cry in front of women and children. Well, apart from Kero who was crying again and wringing his hands like a certain woman in my village.
Jeddy was laughing at us grown, crying men.
By then, I had not even greeted her, nor had I held Calla. And I looked at her look at the baby with a lit face like we see in the pictures. I wish Rich Allela were there to capture that moment. Only the previous evening she was ashen with pain, and now, having done her thing, was beaming like the morning sun. Ever been slapped by love?
When I finally held Calla in my arms (I still hadn’t), my life was complete. I was in Wonderland.
I still am.