Illustration by Gizem Vural
Or two. Or three. My mom called and gave me the secret news. It turns out my little sister gave birth to a son this winter and I HAD NO IDEA. She told mom to keep it secret, and today mom finally spilled the secret to me, making me swear I'll keep the secret, but then my sister showed up and mom gave her the phone and she told me the news herself, so at least I don't have to keep the secret now. Whew. But who the father is remains a mystery, and she won't tell me. And there is no internet where they are. Yes, they moved again. And so I became an aunt and I don't even know what my nephew looks like and I don't know when I'll see him. This is just like out of some crazy book. I mean, my whole family is this one dark mystery that I glimpse pieces of here and there, but the rest of it remains secret.
In other news, grandma is dying. And I can't afford to go see her, or go see my new nephew, or even send a gift. Truly, it's so funny I'm crying. And it's so sad I'm laughing. At least I know his name and his date of birth and that the birth went well and that my sister is happy, she told me she's happy. She sounded happy. She wanted a baby for a very long time, she told me. I believe her. There are unspoken things. I asked her who the father is and where he is, and of course she told me she doesn't want to talk about it. The tragedy of my family. The men who appear and disappear, and leave children and havoc in their wake. And the women bear it, survive, make ends meet somehow.
I'm often sick with guilt. I have managed to escape this. This rut. I have somehow succeeded in arranging my life so that I can do what I want, what I always wanted. Make stories. Write full-time. It's a dream and yet it feels undeserved. Like how can I do things for myself when the women in my family struggle alone? How can I be in love and together with a man, when the men in their lives are singular occurrences that have no permanence and no promise of anything good? And now among all those women there is a little baby boy. How I want to see him, to hold him, to smell his hair. He is three-months old now! How precious that is!