irma and her emmanuels
THE CLINIC doesn’t close during the holidays. Maybe on Christmas. Maybe. But for the rest of the holidays? Contrary to what most people think, babies don’t stop dropping until late into Christmas Eve.
blatantly welcoming any girl desperate enough to pass by.
A lot of the girls who come to her are students. High school, college, med school, law school. Four times out probinsyanas who ventured into the city sponsored by their parents or some extended family member in the hope of giving better chances for the rest of the family. The girls usually come right before Christmas break, right before they have to come home. If their parents didn’t know, if no one knew, then it didn’t happen. And so they look for her, for Ate Irma. All of them doubtful, all of them scared, all of them ungrateful.
The story’s always the same. They got out, they fell in love, they got fucked, and then they wanted out again. Away from this kind of responsibility, away from that kind of life.
told her. As if there was more than having another life inside them. As if there was more than this miracle inside their womb.
to keep the baby of the only man she had ever cared for, if that child hadn’t been forcefully sucked from her womb by hands that raised her, then she wouldn’t have wanted anything more out of life. Other than the one she would have borne.
So here she is. Taking care of the women who would throw away what she would tear heaven and earth for.
don’t want them, if they want to waste their chance, then she’ll be right there to catch it for them. She will take care of the miracle they can so willingly, so callously throw away.
The clock on her wall strikes a minute past midnight. left, alive if a little unsteady from the surgery. She takes the precious little thing that was just cast out of its home. She glances at the other little bodies carefully preserved in the beautiful jars she cleans at least twice a day. For later. For now, the little baby in her hands will do. If their mothers don’t want them, then she will take them and welcome them into her own womb. Make space for them again and again until one catches, until the damage is undone.
The baby twitches. She always reserves the freshest one for her Noche Buena.