The Baby Knows (The Baby Is In No Hurry)
- Jurmi Chhowing
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There are angels in the sky. They are made up of clouds that fly. I’m looking at a flock passing by. And they leave me yearning with a sigh. Now the baby’s gonna come. The baby’s gonna be here. Mama looks fine. Papa needs a beer.
It looks like the bellybutton holds the body together. And it looks like the ant that is lost is on a journey to find itself. I’m waiting for the birth of my second child – sixteen years hence after the first – and I’ve no clue what I’m waiting for, and neither does K the mother of this lore. That is how it looks.
I’m in the sprawling city of Adelaide in South Australia in a suburb called Surrey Downs; where the houses are neat and pretty, and the lawns are watered green front and back. The traffic on Hancock Road is ceaseless. The commotion from the vehicular transportation is proof that there is no such thing as a Final Destination. The road is the life, and the traffic is the drive; and everyone hurries on from trap to trap.
I sit in a chair on a backyard concealed from the road, listening to the speeding ruckus, trying to read yet another new map. I’ve also been reading some of D’s stuff from the bookshelf. Tuesdays with Morrie has left me soft. Chronicles Vol. 1 has left me hard. Book of Longing has left me long. And Homo Deus has left me in a shock.
My dreams have been haphazard. And I’ve been sleeping a lot. I’ve also been sober as a drought.
The baby is in her womb, inside K’s belly, and though her birth was expected five days back, she won’t come, and I don’t blame her. Who wants to leave a womb to speed on towards a tomb?
It’s the third day after Good Friday, and since yesterday, the big blue skies over Adelaide have grown bigger and bluer. Today, there’s not a speck of cloud drifting in the big blue. The traffic outside the yard is getting a momentary respite, and the songs of the South Australian birds are loud and right. The sun is shining brighter, and the holy days seem holier. Close by, a dog on a leash is barking, and under the shelter of the midday shade, I’m still sitting in a chair, still leaning back, still trying to process it all for the thirteenth day.
But in the forty-fifth year of my moon, I’ve no clue what is going on at all.
The paperwork to process the Australian visa took more than a month. The bottom-line was money. They wanna know you’ve got more than enough. Or enough proof to convince them that you’ll get out of the country once your time is up, as indicated by your return ticket back out of the country. The fear of the dole is frighteningly real, and a freebie is the demonic ghost everyone wants to quell.
I’ve no money, much less the desire to hoard a vault. Gimme one meal a day, a cigarette and a cup of coffee and I’m happy. But such a state doesn’t work in the minds of the powers that be. So you’re forced to cook up a more digestible story, with some more believable facts, figures and some more proof that this is indeed your life story.
So I did, because there were no other choices. Because the world wants to hear a sunnier story rather than the usual ordeal.
I’ve no desire to hang around here. I came here to be with K in her hour of birth, and once the baby is born, I’ll hang around a while and hop on back into the belly of the flying beast; out of kangaroo land, preferably with her and the baby, and out of the land of plenty to one that’s more real.
This is the reality we live in, and my country is no different. So when I leave I’ll leave no evidence that I was ever in. The world is governed by numbers, and if you carry the wrong digits you’re in a lot of pain, if not a lotta paperwork.
Adelaide is both hot and cold and thirteen days after I landed I’m still trying to work out the weather. The season is the beginning of autumn – feels funny – having just wintered and flown in from the Northern Hemisphere, where spring is just about thawing.
Here the sky appears bigger, the moon seems closer, and the stars look shinier. The plants are strange, and stranger still the wildlife. On a drive to the Adelaide Hills I saw my first two kangaroos within a minute, and the other day a family of Emus. Some evenings a mother Possum with a juvenile comes in the backyard of the house hunting for fruit and vegetable, and the birds are colorful and noisy.
The land is beautiful, stark, burnt and vast.
The baby was due a couple of days back. But the baby is in no hurry. The baby knows what’s in store – tough love and a lotta sore.
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