1.2 – Growin' Pains
It took time, that bigga’ house. Buildin’ takes time an’ money, an’ the last we din’t have much o’. But we made due. Tommy an’ Chloe got their own room, sep’ret from the baby’s, an’ wit’ thuh lil’ left over, Susan got one o’ them fancy computurs tuh work at home on. Shaye moved into Chloe’s old crib in mine an’ Bernard’s bedroom since there jus’ wan’t enuff money tuh finish thuh expanshun.
That day mah heart jus’ ‘bout broke fer pride an’ gloom, seein’ my babies off tuh their firs’ day’a school! I’ll always ‘member it. I wuz so happy fer’ em, Chloe an’ Tommy. They were gonna go an’ get a eduhcashun! But that day…Tommy, he came home so mad! I’d nevuh ‘fore seen that boy so stewed! He wuz always so happy an’ friendly! An’ Chloe, she wouln't tell me nuthin’! Jus’ picked at her dinner an’ then ran off tuh thuh park. I’ve nevuh known what goes on it that gurl's head!
Chloe nevuh told me nuthin’. Tommy calmed down, but I couln’t get anythang out’a him neither! Those two were true blood. None o’ ‘em were gonna say anythang ’til thuh othuh one did. They nevuh came home upset after that, so I let it go. Those kids had’a way o’ workin' thru thangs. I weren’t gonna pry.
‘Round thuh same time, Susan an’ Bernard bof’ got pro’shuns.
Shaye weren’t a month ‘fore I found out I was wit’ child again! I was so excited. That didn’t last long. I started feeling really run down. I couldn’t eat nuthin’, it all just made me sick. An' I din’t have no energy tuh play wit’ Shaye so much. I got real big an’ could hardly walk. The doctors said it’d be best if I rested in bed. Maybe it woudun't a been so bad, but Bernard were also feelin’ sick an’ not at’all right. He said he kept havin' bad dreams that put’im in a right funk fer thuh rest o’ thuh day.
So I had a sick husband, still workin’ hard, a ‘nuther baby tuh look aftuh an’ two kids off doin’ who knew what! I couln’t rest! I kept on mah feet!
I were gettin' big when Susan’s final pro’shun came. Aftuh six years o’ hard work and detuhminashun, Susan got her dream! She was promoted tuh astruhnut. Thuh next week she got called up tuh space. She weren’t happy ‘bout leavin' her baby boy wif’out his mama, let alone me in such’a state.
I dint see mah big sister fer a long time.
It were dead winter when I gave birth, too early. As I wuz goin’ intuh labor, Bernard wuz workin' late at thuh lab.
I had tuh call a babysitter fer thuh kids while I drove myself tuh thuh hospital. I don’t ‘member much. There were “complications”. Lots. An' thuhy gave me all sorts o’ drugs tuh help with thuh pain. I had triplets, two girls an' a boy. I wuz so happy when thuh doctors told me. Two more daughters an' our first son! But thuhn…apparently thuh complications got worse. My baby boy…died…an' one o’ thuh girls wuz so weak…thuhy told me she weren’t gonna make it neither.
Oh, what a state I were in when Bernard got tuh thuh hospital. One child already dead an' anothuhr expected tuh jus’ stop breathing at any moment! But my Bernard…he’s a sweetheart, an' thuh strongest man I ever did met. He kept me goin’. He kept us all goin’.
We named thuh boy David, after mah younga’ brothur. His older sister wuz Medea an' his younger sister wuz Lucy.
We brought home thuh twins an'…I barely held myself togethuhr. Even with that, I still cried myself tuh sleep that night. I jus’ kept thinkin’ ‘bout what lil’ David would’a been like. What he would’a looked like. How he would’a acted.
Thuh next day, Bernard came home from thuh lab early.
He wuz so shy an' stuttering, trying tuh explain that he had somethin’ that might help but he didn’t know fer sure if I would want it, an' on an' on. Finally, he just passed me a basket.
Inside was a little baby with dark green skin.
Bernard wuz talking about how thuh lab had created it from some skin or somethin’ thuhy’d found. I don’t know, I weren’t really paying attention.
“Wh–what do you think?” Bernard finally asked.
“He’s precious…” He felt warm in my arms. An' he opened his eyes an' oh! Those dark eyes, I fell in love! He yanked my hair an' babbled something, but I couldn’t stop smiling. He were too cute! Even with green skin. “You cutey gotta name?”
“Well, we never thought of it, just DNA-OD. It stands for DNA Off-world Duplicate.” He paused. “No one really thought about what would happen to it after it was born.”
“Well, that’s no name fer a baby.”
“Since it was just me and the tech guys, we figured in order to really study how different humans an' aliens are, we should have an alien grow up in a normal, human environment, away from the lab, but still closely monitored.” Bernard smiled at me. “He’s all yours.”
All mine. This little thing…was all mine. My son.
“Donovan.” I don’t ‘member where thuh name came from. I hadn’t wanted tuh name him ‘David’. That would’a jus’ made him a replacement tuh thuh son I’d lost, which wouln’t honor neithuh of ‘em. But Donovan had a exotic sound tuh it. Something different. An' he was somethan’ different.