Posted: January 19, 2013 in Life
Tags: , , ,

As I sat squished on the Bart train between a young black too-young-to be-pregnant teenager, and a middle-aged, tattoo-laden blue collar worker with a toothpick danglingCashmere from his mouth, I pondered my current affairs. After looking for work for over one year I had finally landed an interview for the job of my dreams. The economy had been playing hardball with my pocketbook and I was on the verge of losing the only thing I had left to my soon to be changed name – my home. If I didn’t land this job my house would go into foreclosure for sure. I only had enough funds left in the bank to make another two payments at best, with perhaps a few cents to spare. At least my divorce had left me with something over and above the heartache of being married to a man who had decided to become gay after 25 years of marriage, and the birth of our beautiful daughter. Thankfully she was old enough to understand she wasn’t the one to blame.

The train groaned to a stop and allowed another large group of commuters to join the mosh pit. A young Mexican guy talking on his cell phone snuggled his way into my personal space by grabbing the rail above my seat and stood so close I could see that the thread on his third button was the wrong shade of blue. The doors closed and the train took off so fast nearly everyone standing went over like bowling pins at a U.S. Open Championship. Grumbles and resounding expletives filled the air along with a sudden and very sharp elbow to my ribs. For a moment I couldn’t breathe, but as my head spun around to the source, I was met with the face of a woman in intense labor whose chocolate-colored face had beads of sweat gathering around her quivering lips. The screech she then emitted left no doubt to the matter – she was in active labor.
I turned to the two men closest to me and shouted, “Would one of you please pull the dammed emergency cord?” They looked shocked. The one on the phone continued to make plans for what sounded like a hot date, and pointed at his phone. The tattooed dude said, “Yeah, like I can move lady.” The girl grabbed my hand and squeezed it so hard I was certain I would never use it again. Just then warm water flooded our seat and splashed Valentino’s $200.00 basketball shoes. “Oh, my god!” he yelled. The shock of his shoes being baptized by less than holy water caused him to lose grip on his cell phone which landed in the puddle at his feet. The look on his face was priceless.  An observer with a heart and common sense pulled the emergency cord and dialed 911 on their cell phone, which had been handed to me via tattoo guy, “Tomorrow is my birthday and I never knew my mother,” he said with tears welling in his eye. “I was deserted at birth.”
“Hello,” I said to the emergency operator.
“I understand you are sitting next to a woman in labor,” she said in a perfunctory manner. “I will stay with you on the phone until the EMTs arrive at the next stop. Okay?”
“Yes,” I responded. Just then another scream along with a motion which caused me to believe she had begun pushing. “No, don’t push,” I said in a panic. “Please breath. Just breath. Don’t push!” I mimicked the exaggerated breathing technique I had learned in Lamaze twenty years earlier and begged her not to give birth, hoping it would delay her bodies response to do just that.
“Are you still on the line with me?” said the operator.
“Yes, and she’s pushing!” I responded in a panic.
“Make room for her to lie down,” the operator said in an urgent tone. “And, make her as comfortable as possible.” As she spoke these words I pushed my buddies into the gawking crowd and gently moved her into a more comfortable position. The movement brought on another groan, push and blood curdling scream. I stripped my cashmere sweater from my body and placed it under her bottom. As I did so I saw that the baby was already coming.
“It’s okay little mama,” I whispered loudly not so much to her as myself. “We are having a baby.”
I felt the train’s brakes being applied. We were coming to a stop, but not soon enough. She gave another push and we had a healthy newborn child. I gently grasped and wrapped the baby girl in the soft sweater and handed her to the new mama just as the train came to a complete stop and the doors opened. Everyone clapped and spoke congratulatory words.
The new mama smiled up at me and said, “Thank you.” She fondled her newborn child in her arms and smoothed the sweater with a gleam in her eye. “Her name is Cashmere.”

Please comment freely
  1. rachel says:

    Loved the story Cashmere. You have a gift in writing, could feel and sense the emotions involved.

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