I was three, playing in the dirt of the flower bed in the front yard of the duplex we rented. My grandmother came to the front screen door to check on me.
“Don’t get dirty.” She said. “They are on their way.”
A few minutes later a large yellow cab pulled up to the curb and my father jumped out loaded with bags. He set them down on the grass and helped my mother out of the back seat. She held a bundle close to her chest.
My grandmother met them and the three cooed and smiled at the blanket-clad squirmy bundle. I asked to see the baby but I was ignored, forgotten.
Grandma and Dad picked up the bags and escorted my mother up the steps and into the house. I followed them into my parents’ bedroom as they lay the baby in the middle of the big bed.
As one, they left the room and headed into the kitchen to enjoy the merienda my grandmother had prepared for the homecoming. I stayed behind to look at my new sister, the belle of the ball, the usurper of my title as “daughter of the family.”
I was three so the mattress reached my nose and all I could see was a blanketed bundle squirm. I walked around three sides of the bed but none offered me a better view.
Suddenly a tiny, skinny leg covered in a big pink booty escaped its confines. This “sister” of mine was little, but word on the street lent me to believe she was quite a cutie. I needed a better look.
I meant no harm. I just wanted to meet my new baby sister, so I took hold of her foot and dragged her towards me. Wham! Someone slapped at my hand. Swat! I nearly jumped out of my shoes with the spank to my rear. “She’s trying to kill the baby!” I got jerked away from the bed and three adults lunged for the baby, ready to give her CPR and mouth to mouth resuscitation. All three of them ordered me to leave the room. Now! At once! Baby killer!
It’s been almost sixty years. I could not love my sister more. But the story of my murderous ways still lives on in our family oral tradition.
According to our mother, in a fit of jealously I obviously planned my sister’s demise from the very start. All I wanted was to meet her.