Part III: Iesha

Photo by Maleka Ali via ReShot

Let me guess . . . You’ve been talking to Deidrick, this is why you’re here now, huh? I don’t mind talking to you if you don’t mind me snapping a few shots of this venue for a friend of mine. I dabble in photography — on the side. I graduated early — this past June. Deidrick’s coming out this year — late baby. I take a few art classes up at the rec center every other weekend. Other than that, I work at a local ice cream shop — you know, Dinnizzo’s Gelatos & Things? That’s my second home. By now, I’m sure you know, I’m Iesha . . . Iesha Selah Ndiaye.

My family is from Senegal. I’m the first one to be born here in the United States. Ugh. I hate saying that, but it’s like some base form of introductory etiquette, so it’s ingrained in me. The few things my parents wanted for me were to get an education, ascend to heights they could not reach prior to moving here, and become a doctor. Well, I’ve crashed all of those things, except for education. I excelled in all of my classes since elementary school and even graduated from high school with honors.

I am also taking classes online with a local university to get a degree in Early Childhood Education. I have fourteen months to go and I will have my degree in hand. After that, I have to do an internship at a school in my community for at least three months before I can begin working professionally full time.

“Everything happens for a reason,” people say. I met Deidrick when I was fourteen. It was my second year of high school, his first. We hit it off instantly. I’d like to tell you it was his charm that roped me in, but really, it was the way he always seemed aloof around me — sort of like he just couldn’t calm down long enough to simply be. I adored that about him — he didn’t try to macho up or subdue it.

He was natural — we flowed into each other from the start.

Of course, we didn’t plan on becoming young parents. I don’t think anyone ever really “plans” on becoming young parents. We’d always been careful when we were intimate, but the one time I forgot to take my birth control pill is, of course, the time the condom tore. . . and here we are. I never thought it would upset Deidrick — it never crossed my mind. He’s a sensitive young man, caring, understanding, and his parents did a great job in raising him.

I calculate my menstrual cycle. You get into the habit of doing this when you’re on birth control, so when it didn’t come on at least three days past its date, I worried. This was on a Wednesday. I’ll never forget it. Saturday morning I was nauseated. The smell of my mother’s Ndambé sent me running for the toilet. I panicked — heavy breathing, blood rushing to my head, the whole nine . . . I called Deidrick, and I told him I could be pregnant, but I was going to buy a kit from the store up the street and go through the motions later to know for sure.

He never floundered. He said, “Babe, if we are, then we are. And we will be great parents.” I was flabbergasted. I mean . . . I was happy, but I was also taken aback. Again, I never thought he’d be upset, but I didn’t expect him to be as calm as he was, either. I bought the test, took it, and well . . . you know the rest.

For the last few months, my mom and I have been attending my doctor’s appointments on schedule. I take prenatal vitamins; I walk two miles every morning, and I meditate and do breathing exercises. My mom’s a Doula, as well as a Herbalist, so . . . I am well taken care of if you can imagine.

Deidrick and I have been tossing names around for our baby girl. I’m dead set on Aida Lily-Grace Miles and he wants Aida Désirée-Grace Miles. It’s not too far off, but there’s just something about “Lily-Grace” that sticks with me. I can’t let it go. I have a feeling, though, I’ll be moved to compromise as time gets closer.

Welp, that’s the last shot. My friend is going to be pleased with most of these, I’m sure, but I have a lot of editing to do now. Then, I’ve got to work this evening. This was a nice chat.

See you around.

Originally published in soliloque via Medium.

Part I and Part II