It was a typical morning for our family. I got up around 6 am to prepare breakfast. All the girls were downstairs and fully dressed for school by 7. We chatted with each other over an omelette breakfast and before we knew it, the school bus arrived to take the girls to school. I was cleaning up when Zachary offered to help. Nothing was unusual. The day started off as any other morning.
Except for the part when my ex-husband went into labour!
I was upstairs in my bedroom when I heard the faint sound of a coyote howling. It was too early in the day to hear something like that so I knew something strange was happening. As I walked out into the upstairs hallway I heard the sound again only I was able to pinpoint its location – the nursery. I hadn’t been in that room since Johanna was a baby. We decided to designate that room as a nursery for all future children since it was the smallest bedroom in the house and babies didn’t need as much room. Since Johanna was now a teenager that meant it had been a while since anyone had any reason to go in there. As I entered I found Zachary and realised the howling was coming from him. He was panting and groaning and gripping his stomach, it became clear to me what was happening.
“You okay?” I asked, trying my best to conceal my amusement.
“Do I look okay to you?” He yelled.
“Relax, Zachary. Do you need anything?”
“I need to get this baby out because it hurts so bad!”
“Didn’t your scientist friend tell you what to do when it’s time?”
He nodded. “He said it would be a waiting game. It could take minutes or it could take hours. It’s whenever the baby decides to teleport out of me. I can’t even push or anything to speed up the process. And it hurts so much! Was this how it was for you?”
“Pretty much.” I shrugged. “Don’t worry I’m sure it will be over soon.”
It wasn’t over soon. In fact, it went on for about two hours. Zachary wailed and panted the whole time. It was then I realised how lucky I was to have my babies at the hospital where I was given drugs for pain. With the drugs in my system, I no longer felt any pain so the delivery was not as bad as it would have been had it been a natural birth. I guess you can say that Zachary was having a natural birth since he was without any drugs for pain even though the fact that he was a man giving birth was as unnatural as it could be.
Finally, it was time for the baby to decide to come out. He came out with a heck of a lot of pomp and flare! There was a burst of bright light that surrounded Zachary before I finally noticed there was something purple in his arms.
A purple baby! I never thought I would ever see such a thing. Most of the Sixamians I met when I traveled there were blue or green, but I had never seen purple! Come to think of it, in the research I had done on Sixamians there was never any mention of a purple child but there he was resting comfortably in Zachary’s arms and I could tell by the look on Zachary’s face that he was already in love with the thing.
“Gem! Look! It’s a boy! He’s…wow…he’s so cute! Oh my Watcher! I can’t believe it…do you see this?” He squealed.
“Yup… a sight for sore eyes.” Not really.
“Oh wow…oh…look at his eyes! I’ve never seen anything like it! He’s got ten fingers, ten toes. He seems like a normal baby!”
“Normal? There’s nothing normal about this baby, Zachary.” I said. “I hate to burst your bubble but now that the kid is here and you’ve made up your mind to keep him, what’s next?”
“What do you mean?” He asked as he cuddled with the thing.
“Well, how will you explain the sudden appearance of a child in our household? How are you planning on registering his birth? You know any clerk from City Hall will need to see the child before they can deliver the birth certificate. You think they won’t notice how different he is?”
“Dr Livingston, my scientist friend, said he’ll help me organise the paperwork and the backstory. It will be like I adopted him. No one will know I gave birth to him. They won’t even know he’s an alien. That’s why I hid the pregnancy from everyone except our family. I didn’t want to register the pregnancy with the government because then it’ll be a matter of public record and I don’t want him to live with the stigma of being an alien. I learned that alien babies born from a human surrogate end up having to disclose their alien status when registering for schools or getting jobs. Everyone always knows who they are even when they disguise themselves. I don’t want him to go through his life having people judge him because of where he came from.”
“You aren’t being realistic. He’ll only be able to disguise himself when he becomes a child but what will you do until then? No babysitter will agree to watch him far less keep the secret of what he is.”
“He can always stay with you. It’s not like you have a job or anything to do with all the spare time you have.”
“Excuse me? How dare you say that?!”
“I’m just joking.” He laughed. “I knew that would get a rise out of you.”
“This isn’t the time for jokes. This is serious.”
“I have plenty vacation days that I haven’t used. If I have to I’ll take early retirement or something and I’ll stay home with him until he becomes a child.”
“You’ll give up your good job for him? Zachary, you’re going to be an elder soon. This is the time when you should be trying to get that last promotion to secure a decent retirement payout. Ivy and Isabel will be graduating from high school soon and before you know it and so will Johanna but instead of spending as much time with them as possible, you rather take care of a child that’s not genetically yours! You’re not making sense. I get that you want to be a Dad again but think about how much work taking care of this child would be? I think sending him back to his home planet would be the best decision for all involved.”
“I understand everything you’re saying and you have some valid concerns but let me worry about my career and raising my child. Don’t forget we’re not married anymore. I’m not trying to be mean but it’s a fact. This is not a decision we make together, this is MY decision and mine alone and I’ve made up my mind.”
“You’re being selfish Zachary!”
“Yes, selfish! I don’t want to have an alien baby in my life!” I yelled.
“Like I said before, we’re divorced. You don’t have input in my life anymore.”
“Like hell I don’t! You’re living in my house, my family home. Yes, it’s all in Ivy’s name but doesn’t my opinion matter at all? I grew up here. I designed and remodelled most of the rooms here. This is my home and you expect me to just be uncomfortable in my own home and accept the decision you’ve made!”
“You’re right. This is your home and you shouldn’t have to accept a child living here if it makes you uncomfortable.”
Finally! He was making sense. “Thank you for understanding.”
“Yeah, so, I’m going to move out then.”
“You don’t want the baby here and I do. You yourself said the girls will be adults soon so they won’t need me as much. That house next door has been unoccupied for years. I can buy it so I’ll still be close by and be able to see them whenever I want. Since we’re divorced, it makes sense for me to move out. We both need to move on anyway.”
I don’t want him to go away! I don’t want to move on. I want him to stay! I just want that freak gone! “No! You don’t have to go anywhere. It’s that thing that doesn’t belong here!”
“Stop calling him a ‘thing’!”
“He is a thing!”
“Stop it! I’ve had enough! I’m done listening to you! Ever since I’ve known you I’ve always done what you wanted because I wanted to make you happy and now I want to do something that makes me happy and you hate that because it’s not something you want! If it’s not what you want as well, then forget it! That’s your motto! You call me selfish? You’re the one that’s selfish! I’m not changing my mind so you can accept it or not, I don’t care!”
It started to cry so Zachary went and picked him up, cuddling and playing with him to soothe his cries.
“There, there, my son. Daddy’s here.” He purred to his new favourite creature.
I hated the sight of him holding that thing. The more time he spent with it, the more attached he became. I think I pushed him too hard. I shouldn’t have gotten so angry because now I’ve motivated him to move out and leave me. As infuriated as Zachary would make me I still loved him and I hoped we could eventually reconcile but if he moves out there would be no chance of that.
The worst part was later on that day when the girls returned from school and learned about the baby. They all rushed to the nursery to meet him. Of course, Ivy was most excited and rushed to hold him first. I think the other two were taken back by his appearance so they hesitated, allowing Ivy to spend as much time with him as they watched on.
“I don’t know. His eyes are kinda creepy…” Johanna groaned.
“No way, he’s so adorable!” Ivy beamed.
“You of all people should love him, Jo!” Isabel laughed.
“Why?” Johanna asked.
“Because he’s purple! You practically live for the colour and now you have a little brother who’s purple!”
Johanna sighed. “Yes, but, until he grows up I can’t have any of my friends over. That means, no more parties, no more hanging out by the hot tub. It’s kinda unfair don’t you think?”
“So what?” Isabel added. “He’s our brother. We’ll just have to adjust.”
“Exactly.” Ivy added. “He’s our family now.”
Ivy and Isabel managed to get her on their side. The one person I could count on to support me has also fallen in love with the creature. Isabel was right. The fact that he was purple made it easy for Johanna to accept him.
I was all alone in my feelings. Little Gabriel Chin had wormed his way into all their hearts by the following morning. It was ridiculous how much they all fawned over him. The girls even wanted to take the day off from school so they could stay home with him. Zachary would have agreed if only they didn’t have midterm exams that day.
I didn’t really get a good look at the thing even though I was there when Zachary gave birth. I didn’t want to look at it properly since I was so freaked out by his eyes. But after seeing him properly…he wasn’t so bad looking. I could see why they would think he was cute.
But then he started wailing. His cries were the most annoying sound I’ve ever heard! It was like an echo of some sort of mating call from a bird. It made my ears ring! And he only cried around me too. He barely cried at all whether he was soiled or hungry but when he would see me he’d start screaming.
Smart kid. He could probably sense that I don’t care for him at all. I’ve heard that they can read minds. Maybe Gabriel is reading mind and knows what I’m planning for him. This kid is trouble for me and my problems will only get worse the older he gets. He’s already taking Zachary away from me, and it’ll only be a matter of time before he drives a wedge between me and my daughters.
Zachary’s little bundle of joy needs to go before he ruins everything and I know exactly what to do to make it happen!