Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Wow! (03/11/10)
TITLE: Long Island Grand Opening
By PamFord Davis
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“Roberto, so tired.”
Her husband squeezes her trembling hand and smiles. Neither can read or write and markings leading the way are of little help. Soon he views a large florescent over-head suit case sign and points the way for Christina.
The conveyor belt carries the little they possess. Two old trunks and three tattered duffel bags are lifted from the carousel. When language is a barrier, simple functions become confusing and frustrating. A terminal baggage handler notices the couple’s anxiety.
“Hello. Speak English?”
Roberto braves a small smile, drawing Christina close to his side.
“Little, not so good.”
“No problem. Let’s put your things on a cart.”
Roberto senses the man’s kindness and trusts his guidance. Soon they are in a big lobby and welcomed by excited relatives. He shakes the stranger’s hand repeatedly. Luggage will be taken the rest of the way by the many in their greeting party.
He reaches in his Levi’s back pocket searching for crumpled cash.
The assistant shakes his head no and holds up hands, palms facing Roberto.
Roberto’s broad smile is the only remuneration he’ll accept.
“Welcome to America!”
The ride to the inner city tenement makes Christina woozy. Her baby might arrive any day. She hopes it will wait until they’re settled in their own place. Everyone seems to be chattering at once. Her head begins to whirl. A shadowy face looks down from above.
“Christina! Christina! Wake up!”
Roberto looks very worried.
Her cousin Anna places a cold rag on her forehead and pushes everyone back.
“Go! Go! Give her air!”
Minutes pass. Christina believes she needs only a cool drink and rest. Suddenly she grips her abdomen in pain.
“Baby is coming!”
It turns into a family affair. Old and young take turns holding a wrist watch, counting minutes between contractions. They are steady, severe and close. Anna takes charge. They’ll get Christina to a hospital for indigents.
“Oh, Roberto, so bad!”
“Will be okay.”
Her husband guides her through hospital doors. Anna does all the talking.
“Nurse. My cousin Christina! A baby comes!”
The admitting nurse instructs an orderly. He finds a wheel chair for Christina and waits until paper work is completed.
“Take her up to maternity. A nurse will get her prepped. I’m contacting the Doctor on duty.”
Roberto trails behind like a frightened puppy. Cold steel elevator doors close and the structure leaps. His stomach remains below.
No food all day.
They exit at the third floor.
The orderly speaks, "Waiting Room,” nodding his head in the direction of the seating nook. Roberto and Anna step inside, overwhelmed by powerful Lysol disinfectant fumes.
The nurse in charge ties the revealing back of Christina’s hospital gown.
“Breath like this,” the nurse says, “Huh, Huh, Huh, Huh.”
Panting, Christina feels an uncontrollable urge to push.
“Not yet. Let’s get you to delivery.”
She could understand only enough to get by. One day she would learn to speak, read and write English.
My son be proud of me.
Lord my Shepherd!
No tests were done in Brazil to determine the gender of the expected child. Somehow Christina just knows she will birth a son.
“Okay Mama, one more push! I see the head. Good, here we go!”
Pain rips her soul as she clenches clammy fists. Her son makes his grand opening.
“It’s a boy!”
A nurse suctions baby’s lungs. Blood is sponged from folds of skin before wrapping him in a blanket. He’s laid upon the chest of Christina.
“Do you have a name picked out?”
“Yes. We call the boy Wowless.”
“Yes, the boy Wow…less.”
The confused nurse eyes a snickering doctor.
“Think she means Wallace.”
“Yes. Boy is Wow! … less!”
The delivery room staff smiles and begins to get Long Island’s newest resident ready to be viewed by his papa. They wheel the young mother to a dormitory occupancy room. Christina appreciates her clean gown and comfortable bed. She wants her Roberto and tiny baby boy.
The door swings open. Roberto and Anna cautiously tip tow to her bed. He leans forward and gently kisses her flushed cheek.
“The boy! Big! Strong!”
“Yes, Roberto. He American citizen! Wow! less!”
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