I love how babies at 2 months old will start to smile at you every morning and every opportunity they have just because they know how much you like it.
Oh how Freedom loves to smile.
You know she got these dimples and this wide full of joy way of smiling that makes me forget almost anything. It is so wide it fills all of this small 3 room apartment.
I open the shades to the small place every morning. It is part of and old Victorian. It always seems like it would have been the maid's quarters. How many a young woman my age would have been living here over the years looking over the same streets.
The big city. I can get used to this, something always to do.
Like the Troggs said "Boston your my town."
You might wonder how I got here 2 months after the hospital room. Well the quick answer would be welfare.
But there are no real quick answers in life.
Remember how I would go to town to go shopping with Carol and Sandra when I was preggers with the little pumpkin pie? Well, the first time they took me I saw a man singing in the park and people would give him money in his guitar case. Just for singing and playing. Can you believe that.
The next time we went I brought my guitar and played on the sidewalk. I played the blues. Blues is always something best heard live. They liked it. I always got some money. I got more and more popular. People sometimes ran to pay phones to call their friends to come hear me play. As my belly got larger I got sympathy money on top of it. When all was said and done and Freedom was coming into the world I had saved up $3,459.76. Now that may not sound like a lot in the scream of things but it was a great deal for me. It was enough for first last a deposit. With some left over for second hand furniture and to get on the roles of Massachusetts great welfare system.
Being a young woman with a baby I needed a plan. I had no man to provide for us. So I simply decided I could use some help.
When Granny heard I decided to keep the baby she said "Well, you want to make grown up decisions, have fun being a grown up int the world. Write when you can support yourself. Don't be calling here for any hand outs. We Are not a charity."
And that was all she hung up the phone.
Disowned, I think they call it when your family aren't your family any more. You would think I would care more. It was honestly a relief. I had no clue where I was going, I just knew where I didn't want to go. That was easier than I thought. I really didn't want those people helping raise Freedom anyway.
Sandra and Carol helped find me this apartment. They helped me get on welfare.They helped me enroll in GED classes. They told me "This is not an option, you are getting your GED!" They told me it was so I could enrol in college and start using my brains for good. I did promise them. During the weekends one or the other will visit usually. They will watch Freedom while I do homework or go play in the park for my extra money.
If anyone things welfare is a free ride they are dead wrong. They give you just enough, not enough and barley enough.I don;t know where they think I could live off what they give me, but I just pay my rent with it. My bills are always a play catch up. The lady who explained it to me told me I should spend no more than a third on rent. I asked her where do you live for 300$ a month with a baby. She showed me housing projects in Dorchester. I would hear guns go off, but I know there ere no deer int her parts and it was armed hunting humans. I would rather beg for money than raise Freedom there. But I don't beg, I sing, I sing for our survival.
That is what it is survival. It comes when you don't have enough for too long so you do what you have to just to survive. This is what welfare is like. I know the only way out is to go to college so I can get a good job for me and my child. I sing always.
So this morning I bring the smiling little one to be changed. I bath her and put her in a pretty dress Sandra bought her.
The think about Boston it is so, well Irish in a way. The music, the people, the pubs. I wanted to practice a song I heard long ago for the next time I went to the park.
Oh you know I changed it a little bit as I sat and sang it to Freedom.
As I was goin over the cork and smokey mountains
I saw captain farrell and his money he was countin
I first produced my pistol and then produced my rapier
I said stand and deliver or the devil he may take ya
Musha ring dum a doo dum a da
Whack for my daddy-o
Whack for my daddy-o
Theres whiskey in the jar-o
I took all of his money and it was a pretty penny
I took all of his money and I brought it home to Miles
He swore that hed love me, never would he leave me
But the devil take that man for you know he tricked me easy
Being drunk and weary I went to Miles' chamber
Takin my money with me and I never knew the danger
For about six or maybe seven in walked captain farrell
I jumped up, fired off my pistols and I shot him with both barrels
Now some women like the fishin and some women like the fowlin
And some women like ta hear a cannon ball a roarin
Me I like sleepin specially in my Miles' chamber
But here I am in prison, here I am with a ball and chain yeah
I started tolaugh tomyself as Freedom smiled on ather mother singing the silly song.
Along comes a wrapping on my door.
Stange enough I was expecting no-one.
I walked over, peeked out of the spyhole. Andas they say, "as Ilive a breath" there stood Miles. Almost 1 year after I left Kentukey.
I opned the door.
He stood there with a great big old smile. Damn she has his smile.
"Hey Blue's Lady! I heard you decide to keep the little squirt I'm going top school around here next year , thought I would look you and my baby up."
He stood there smiling. Like nothing happend. His baby! His baby! Where was he past the pleasure?!
I started to slam the door shut, he stopped it with his foot. "Hey, we are both older and wiser, eh." He said.
"Oh, I got older and wiser real fast, and what life changing experiences made you older and wiser?"
"Hey graduated High School. And somewhere out there was a id of mine.Hey that weighs on a guys mind."
"Is that more or less heavy than being a pregnant girl that her lover denies?" I looked at him wishing he could feel all the pain he caused me.
He walked in the door and grabbed my head gently and kissed me quick.
Old feelings stirred.
Thoughts of a family stirred.
Thought of a normal life for Freedom flooded my head.
Thoughts of a wedding.
Thoughts of a house.
Thoughts of more children , brothers and sisters for my Freedom.
Thoughts of everything but me.
I kissed him back.
He looked at me. "I heard you named it something hippieish." He brought in 3 bags. "It's about time we play house. See if this could work. Where is your t.v.? " He sat down on my coach.
There was no t.v., it wasn't in the welfare budget.
"Why don't you get a job and buy one for us?" I looked at him head cocked.
"I heard you were on welfare, don't they give you money for that stuff up here? Welfare mothers get cadillacs. Maybe we don't have enough kids yet." He said with a smile "What's for breakfast, mama?"
And that is how he moved in with me in my little apartment in Boston.
Monday, 15 June 2009
My child is perfect.
Thank God, she is perfect.
She will not know what I have known. She will not bear the sins of her parents on her face.
Her name? Damn. I hadn't thought about it. I didn't know I could not bare to let her go. To give her to strangers.
Janis. No, she was too depressed, I don't want my baby girl to grow up depressed and lonely yet surrounded by people. That can be the worse kind of lonely. But I want her as talented.
Bobbie or Dylan. She is born on bob Dylan's birthday, really. Not Like the fake way I got the birthday. Naw, my mother probably think it was an homage to her. Heaven forbid.
Precious. Beloved Moses' wife. But I really didn't know her.
Oh so many names went through my brain. I needed st stop and just look at my baby. She will tell me.
I turn her over. Naked. Perfect. Small. And what is this between her shoulder blades? A little butterfly birth mark.
"That is only a wine port stain, she will grow out of it." The nurse says as she sees me examining her.
" I hope not. It is her freedom. He wings to fly." Just like me I thought.
"Freedom." I say. Looking at her wings.
"What?" the nurse said,thinking I was woosie from giving birth.
"Her wings, my wings it is our freedom. We are free."
I totally felt Free at that moment. I breathed out.
"FREEDOM FOREVER." I say.
"What are you going on about, child?" Carol said . Both her and Sandra were over me and the baby.
"Yes. what is her name, hadn't thought of one, did ya." Sandra said. Knowing full well this was more a whim but a last minute life changing decision just the same.
"I told you."
"Told us what?" Carol said trying to wrap the baby up again.
"In all that gibberish? Can you remind us?" Sandra helped wrapped her up. I think they were about to fight over who got to hold her first.
"Her name?" They said together.
"Yeah, her name is Freedom Forever."
"Who gave you the drugs before you came here?" Carol scrutinized me.
" Did you see HER birth certificate. Carol? You know she was born into a commune in San Fransisco, be glad it is only two names." Sandra winked.
"It is only two names? Right?" Carol smiled.
"Kids from hippies all way pick weird names or weird spellings." One of the nurses said to the doctor. In a whisper, like I could not hear in in this small room. "How are you spellings that dear?" she said to me.
"Oh, with 4 Ps and 8 Qs.relatively normal otherwise. I am a bit dyslexic. That is correct. right?" I said with sarcasm that could be cut with a knife.
"Are you serious?!" Some of the nurses said in unionsin
"No, stupid, F-R-E-E-D-O-M F-O-R-E-V-E-R. First name Freedom, second name Forever."
"Is Forever the father's last name or yours?" The oldest nurse inquired.
"It is her's"
"Well you can always change it later, if you think of something better." the doctor said as he signed birth certificate in such a sweet, isn't she young type tone.
Carol and Sandra fight over who gets to hold her as I fall asleep.It is over. the pain is over. The past is over.