I met King James today. He was sitting on the bus stop bench on 40th ST. He told me he doesn’t like bad people. I told him, yeah, stay away from bad people. His hair was white, white, white against his hazelnut brown skin. I looked at him, some teeth missing, a few wrinkles here and there and I thought, he was good looking once. I wondered if it was the alcohol on his breath that renamed him King James.
He flies, he told me. Like the pigeons he feeds. They know him. They love him. All animals do. And then he told me about his dog that didn’t listen to him and got scratched up by a racoon. In Berkeley. Yes, even in Oakland I see racoons run to hide in the sewage.
I ached to write today. Maybe because the baby didn’t want to take a nap. He’s sixteen months now and I am teaching him to say please. More please. Down please. Sometimes I hear a thank you. But next week is my last week with him. This line of work can be difficult to the heart. I walk around pushing a stroller and people congratulate me on having beautiful children. Sometimes it feels like I am acting. They think I am the mother.
Maybe that is the book that I should be writing: Motherhood without being a mother. I am like a single mom eight hours a day, I sometimes say. Last year I had three children. Hope (3) Ruby (2.5) and Zeke (1.5). We took the BART to Fairyland and walking with two kids in a stroller and the other one on my side or my back can be quite difficult. We missed the bus and I got all frustrated. We walked towards the lake and then realized that we missed the bus so we can just take a break and eat our snacks on a bench. In peace. I told the kids that and they liked that much better than me being frustrated. The kids ate and watched the geese go by. And this older lady came by. Saw us and the beauty that all these kids had. And then she turned to me, Different fathers right? And I laughed and said, yes. The woman must of thought I was a slut that got impregnated each year by a Chinese man, a White man, and a mixed Black/White man. I love the Bay Area.
In two weeks I will know what will happen for the rest of my life. Ok, I am exaggerating. I will know what will happen for the next several months, insha Allah. Or at least I will have an idea. All, I want to do is write. I want my mornings back so I can write all hours of the night. I want to sit around and talk about God and words and art and life and the world and everything around like the birds and the stars and the flowers that grow out of concrete. I want to dip my toes in the ocean and feel the breeze kiss my neck. I want to say Alhumdullilah, Alhumdullilah, Alhumdullilah ten million times because I am grateful for my existence, even if it was a lil rocky at first.
Breath. I want all of this. I’ve been praying for a long time. And doing something about it, too. Breath.
The birds are chirping outside. Maybe they are telling my to clean or just to take it easy. I am like King James minus the alcohol, the birds know me.