I cut my hair yesterday. A mirror behind me and a mirror in front of me. I stood in the bath tub and let my curls fall down. It reminded me of when I shaved my head in 2000. Or was it 2001? It was a night that I went out with my brother and papi to see Eliades Ochoa of Buena Vista Social Club perform at BB King’s in Time Square. Papi and I cried while we sang along to this guajiro Cuban music. My brother had only been in the United States for a couple of years and he did not feel the same nostalgia. I came home that night and put on the Buena Vista Social Club CD, the intro to Cuban music CD for many Americans, and in front of my hallway mirror I chopped off my hair to this song:
My cat, Mamita, stood by me watching in amazement as my hair fell down to the floor. I then shaved it with the same razor I used for my legs. I had never seen my scalp before. It was white. I felt like a two toned cone head. I shaved my own head for the next two years. I got clippers and buzzed it every week. Last night I didn’t cut my hair that short. I just cut it to my neck.
Taking risks with each curl cut. I know I didn’t do such a great job as my regular hair stylist but at least I had good scissors and I didn’t have to spend so much money. Adam thought I was brave. I was brave enough to have him help me with the back. There is something about having a shaved head for a while as a woman. I did it because I was too attached to the beauty of my hair. I wanted no attachments. This was before I even understood Buddhism.
Somewhere in my twenties I stopped celebrating Christmas with my family. We were having hardship at the time and I was also overwhelmed by the commercial part of a holiday I used to enjoy. It was hard to spend Christmas by myself when everyone I knew was with their families. I dedicated the three days my family got together, the 24-26th, cleaning out my closets. I found comfort in reading old letters from my best friend in elementary school and listening to mixed tapes. When I moved to California I kept that ritual. Every year I went through the piles of papers I couldn’t seem to throw away on a daily basis, I danced and sang to old songs. Then I stopped celebrating the new year because I didn’t want to be trapped making small talk with strangers instead of quality time with good friends. For a couple of years I made the Maceo’s Mix for the upcoming year. The songs were my theme songs for all the events that would follow that year. One year I went to a midnight new year’s yoga class in San Francisco. By candle light I was in warrior pose preparing for what was to come.
For the past couple of years things changed. Meadow moved in with me so I didn’t really have space to do those solitary rituals and now I have a family. I don’t mind spending Christmas with our families because that is what they like to do. We’ve given gifts of donations on behalf of our families to the Heifer Foundation. I am not sure how my nieces will feel this year about getting a card stating that a bunch of ducks were given to a family in their name but they have so much already.
This month I’ve been finally clearing out my closets. Not because I am alone during Christmas, it is summertime, I do it to make room for the baby. I held a garage sale on Saturday. In boxes I piled heels that I only look at, glasses from my old altars, CDs, clothes and a basket full of condoms that one man ended up taking. I met a woman with her two little girls. She asked if she could touch my belly and I usually don’t let people, but I let her. She told me she was pregnant with her youngest during Katrina. Big bellied like me she walked through contaminated water with her oldest child. I told her, thank you for telling me, I will keep that in mind when I start complaining.
My belly is huge. Bigger than ever. I am still not having twins and I swear i probably won’t have such a huge baby. I am counting the days, 4 weeks and 4 days or it could be in two weeks like I would like to think of it or 6 weeks like Adam reminds me. He teases me but he know that it is hard. I am not driving anymore and if I walk for 10 minutes, man, that is a lot. I am cleaning, reading and trying to write. I am being grateful for this space I have right now. I will never have a day like this one. I will never have a day like yesterday or the day before. I can not tell you how my days will be. I will not know until it becomes the present. There is a man across the street that watches us when he smokes cigarettes on his balcony. Our windows are his TV. He may be more curious of what is yet to come in my life than me.
When I was going through my boxes I found some old pictures. I saw a picture of my Abuelo Luis with my papi. He was so light, almost blonde. I turned to my husband and said, look at him, he’s like your dad’s coloring. What if we have a really white baby? He laughed and said it was possible and then I remembered the blonde baby that was born to a Black Nigerian family.
Omar pokes his butt out in my belly and sometimes it hurts. He moves and I still find it weird. I want to know what he looks like. To tell you the truth, sometimes it doesn’t seem real. Maybe it will when my water breaks and the birthing tub is filled with warm water in the kitchen. Maybe it will feel real when the pain is so strong I will want to burst. Maybe it will be real when I feel the crown of his head, when he will finally slide out of me, when I have him on my chest, when we will both be breathing. InshaAllah it will be real then.