July 17, 2007
Five doctors (including three anesthetists) and two nurses looked after N when we were getting ready for Farizah’s debut almost three years ago. Both of us knew what to expect more or less. N had started her contractions the night before, and what needed to be packed had already been packed much earlier. Our only worry was whether we could get a taxi without having to go too far from our building. It must have been around ten or eleven when we decided that it was time. The apartment was quiet save for a few quiet moans of pain when N had her contractions.
N had everything under control as always. Azmina was still awake and knew her sister was coming. She was, as calm as N, and did ... actually I can’t remember what she did at that time. Both Azmina and I asked N questions which were answered concisely. By the time both N and I had our coats on, Azmina was at the bedroom door, in her PJs, trying to put her rainboots on, because she had been under the impression that she could come along.
The doorman didn’t take long to get us that cab. Going through Second Avenue, passing the all-night delis reminded me of all the lives that were being built at that very moment. Dreams of the future, dreams of strength in the face of adversity, dreams of happiness and of togetherness. I didn’t ask what N was thinking; her eyes were closed, her eyebrows wrinkled in focus. Hope and worry were woven in silent prayer.
25 blocks is not a long taxi ride during a weeknight. And I know a few years is a long time to wait to write about those brief moments. Still I write it now not because of fear that I would forget, but because I might lose that opportunity to share.