Sat in my armchair reading the Evening Gazette, I was taken back about thirty years. It was a cold and wet November evening, the streets were empty; the wind was blowing the rain into my face. I could see the phone box at the end of the street from where the urgent call had been made, but the house number 1a could not be found. An elderly lady had called the house, asking for the doctor, her great niece was pregnant and in discomfort.
I decided to knock at number one and ask directions, I was told, “round the back”, before the door was closed quickly on me. As I pushed my way past the bins and overgrown hedge, I could see a dim light through a small window. I was greeted at the door and taken quickly to the young lady; her husband was working and great Aunt staying over a few days to help prepare for baby’s arrival. It soon became clear that baby was imminent and would be delivered there and then.
The house was less than basic but Aunty was a great help rushing around preparing what was needed. Jenny (the young lady) followed all my guiding and soon we had a beautiful baby boy. The gift of new life has never ceased to amaze me, and there was a moment when Aunty was holding the child in her arm; she looked at him and said “You will be called James, and you are very special; we have waited such a long time for you”. She placed her first and second finger of her right hand on his heart, bent over and kissed his forehead. Before I knew what was happening, Aunty said “Here, have a cuddle” and there I was, looking into the child’s eyes; the moment was an eternity and I could sense something that I could not understand, but strangely did not disturb me.
A few nights later in the newspaper, there was a mention in the birth column: “James Davidson born to Chris and Jenny. Blessings and hope for the future. Love, Aunty Liz”. What are the ingredients, what needs to happen, for there to be hope for the future? Could James, shape, mould, create new colours, that our lives became fused in such a way, that possibilities became our reality; now I was beginning to dream.
I had little contact with the family over the following years. Life was not easy for them but they seemed content in their unity and keeping themselves to themselves. James became known as Jaz and gained some popularity around the community, involving himself in social action, speaking out against injustice, poverty and inequality. I read this evening in that same local newspaper, how he intends to run for office in the next election. He is challenging a regime that has been very comfortable for far too long. Jaz speaks with simple words of truth and wisdom that has freshness about them; he speaks with integrity that people respond to, they want to believe, and turn away from how things have been. The old ways will not give up easily and I can see a battle brewing. I remembered again, that first moment I held James, and wondered how this story will end.
©Copyright 2013 John Pearson