I got the call at 6am.
The ringtone—a sudden shatter of the morning's silence by Eiffel 65's "I'm blue"—meant only one thing.
It was family.
“It’s a girl." My sister yelled into my ear.
Or it was family announcing more family.
"Stop talking to yourself and wake up!" My sister yelled again.
I closed my eye with exasperation.
I had long since stopped the search for the source of my Sister’s Insanity.
I didn’t have to look far. Coming barely a year after me she had had the misfortune of having me as her only friend and ally as we chugged through the tracks of life. I was the lead coach tugging her along as I announced my discoveries, perceptions and dreams. Somewhere along the line I took a sharp turn of the straight and headed down the twisted and rarely visited. Ever the loyalist she turned off with me.
So, no, I didn’t bother questioning why she was the way she was. That I already I knew.
What bothered me was not why she was a screwball but why she still was.
It was okay to have a mind that could think off tangent and the will to act on it but when you went past 21 with a perfect pair of legs and a lovely flat tummy you started to think that maybe, just maybe, a return to normalcy was called for.
My concern did not stream primarily from my wells of sibling concern.
I was being selfish. Just in case my plans didn’t work out. She was supposed to be my backup. She would marry a Billionaire and split the fortunes with me.
I checked the market. Most Billionaires didn’t want Wacko's as wives.
Problem is my sister didn’t share this line of reasoning with me.
To get from her position to marriage she would have to do a 180, switch tracks and develop a fondness for men, none of which took her fancy.
“Men are douche bags" she pronounced whenever I brought the topic up.
I looked at her wearily as she made the pronouncement, I was male wasn’t I?
She didn’t come by her verdict overnight. She had dated a couple of times. The last one had been serious. It lasted 3years before coming to a mutually orchestrated end. Since the breakup though, she had refused to re-dive into the pool.
When probed she announced with scorn that it was her decision to make. The fire in her eyes where very familiar. What had I done?
Maybe I was a douche bag.
She was way past my control now. I had taught her independence and the merits of seeking solace in illogical logic. She was now her own train choosing where she went. And so I had to suffer her opinions, views and continued disregard for the male folk.
"A girl?" I asked slowly. My mouth felt dry and my eyes were still trying to let the light in.
“Yes a girl. You're an Uncle now." She chuckled wickedly "Wake up and stop being a cow. And oh--before I forget--call mum. She still hasn’t forgiven you for that Silly” I just got married yesterday" April fool's joke."
And then she hung up.
I stumble off to the bathroom to see if my morning could be salvaged. I spent the rest of the week in silent torment.
My cousin, to whom I had been best man, was the reason for my early awakening. His wife had been two months pregnant before the wedding. I hadn’t been told this most important of information when my services as Best man had been propositioned. I still felt cheated. I had been best man to three instead of two people. Once the fact of the pregnancy had been established I had walked over the the groom and demanded that in compensation I be allowed to play Godfather to his forthcoming child. He gave me a worried look and handed over his car keys.
Why don’t you just take that as compensation instead? He offered with a hopeful look.
Was I that bad a nominee for Godfather?
Was I really that terrible?
A douche bag who couldn’t be a God father?
I spent the rest of the week in silent torment.
That was six months ago.
From my sister’s announcement it seemed the baby was finally here. I looked in the mirror and reminded myself for the 30th time that I had to have a haircut.
This was turning out to be an annoying morning.
Still Groggy I pulled out my toothbrush and grabbed the dish along the sink. I rubbed it against the soap and then put it in my mouth.
I woke up after that.
I sighed with more frustration.
After 30 minutes of spitting and yelling at myself I got dressed and prepared to go visit my niece.
Whilst I zipped up my trousers very slowly, I considered my dilemma.
I had been convinced that the baby would be a boy and consequently had made a list of male names.
Rock, Phoenix, Kanye and maybe, just maybe, Naapali.
Now six months later I was left with a girl to name.
I experimented with the names. Would adding a suffix ia at the end breathe some effeminacy into them?
Oh God no....Naapalia?
With the exception of Phonexia most of the names didn’t sound like the sort of thing that she would survive primary school with.
I sighed with more frustration.
Almost ready, I called 3 different people to find out the name of the hospital the baby was gurgling at and came up with 4 different addresses.
I didn’t see how this was possible, unless it was one of those bouncing babies that literally bounced upon birth. Frustrated I picked my novel—a lovely book by Nelson Demille called The Gold Coast—and with Psophie safely tucked into my pocket I made my way to my cousin's house. My logic was simple. Once I got to the scene of the crime I was convinced someone would point me in the right direction.
Fortunately for me I didn’t have to go to all that trouble.
I met the mother as I walked in.
My cousin's wife was something else. She was actually back home. The baby had been born at 2am on the 13th of April and here she was 8 hours later back in her home.
When my mum had me she had stayed in the hospital for one week. I’m not sure whether it was necessitated by her need to heal and recuperate or because (as I suspect) she was trying to return me to the hospital. Whatever the story I was staring at an oddity. Here was some lady who was back on her feet after only 8 hours.
She explained herself. She had decided to go stay at her mum's for the next 3 days and so I caught her at home packing for her next 2 days.
“Where is she?" I asked happily.
"Don’t you dare touch her" the mother said every bit a lioness.
We laughed at each other. Secretly I was relieved. I never felt comfortable carrying babies. They were so frail and kept judging you with those lovely eyes of theirs.
“I’m going to call her Phoenixia."
"What?" She asked me wearily.
"Phonexia. That's the name I’m going to call my first niece,"
She gave me a worried look and asked me to carry a trunk for her. It was heavy.
Why did girls pack for a year when they where traveling for a week?
It occurred to me that I hadn’t seen the father yet.
“Where’s Dave?" I asked after spraining my arms.
"He is in the bedroom. He isn’t talking right now" she gave me a smile “He was with me during the birth."
I stood with a stunned look
I wasn’t the only one who wanted to see the baby. A couple came in minutes after I did.
I stood aside whilst they yelled out their congratulations. I didn’t see what they were so happy about.
True the contractions had stopped, but the labor seemed like it was just beginning.
"Where is the baby" the man asked. He had a funny moustache.
"Phonexia." I corrected.
"What?" Funny moustache asked.
“The baby's name is Phonexia."
"Don’t mind him. He is insane" Phoenix’s mum said with a laugh. She introduced me. “This is my cousin in law. I don’t know if you remember him but he was the best man at our wedding."
I stuck out my hand and shook funny moustache. I hoped he wasn’t contagious.
He and his wife nodded wearily at me. They looked around the room briefly.
“Where is Dave?"
"He witnessed the childbirth." I said cheerfully.
They didn’t disappoint me.
The woman laughed.
The man raised his eyebrows.
He might have smiled or frowned ,i wasn't sure. It was hard to tell with the moustache.
As if he heard us talking about him, Dave walked into the parlor with the baby in his arms.
Dave smiled proudly at me when he saw me.
I didn't blame.He had a daughter now. Two cars, a beautiful wife and a lovely daughter No question about it. He was winning the race.
I smiled back at him. Phonexia looked so lovely. She gave me a slow look and closed her eyes.
She didn’t think much about her Uncle Carl.
That settled it. I liked her already. She was a smart one.
“You think you can wait 26 years?” Dave asked funny moustache.
Funny moustache laughed. Beside him the woman gave an uncomfortable Ha ha with us. I didn’t blame her. It was one thing to be upstaged by the young girls in the world but to actually meet your competition. It was sort of like Madonna meeting Shakira.
The man blind to his girlfriend (she couldnt be his wife anymore) discomfort smiled at Dave.
“Haba. Me ke? In 21 years I’ll give you a gun to help protect her.”
Once again everyone burst into laughter.
I didn’t pay them much attention. I was staring in shock at Phonexia.
Only 10 hours old and already her ears were pierced with accompanying earrings.
“What’s wrong with that?” My sister asked me later on at night.
The sun had gone down 4 hour ago but the moon was yet to come up for air. It was one of those monthly events where the baton got lost mid transitions. The stars filled the sky announcing their apologies for the moon’s absence. Characteristically, no one noticed.
“Nothing. Girls will be girls I guess.” I said with a smile.
My sister’s grunt over the phone announced what she thought of my verdict.
“Did you call mum yet?”
“Yes I did. She told me to grow up. Then I told her of Dave’s baby and she told me to get off the phone so she could call him.”
My sister laughed with me.
“Don’t mind mum. It was a pretty funny joke but I don’t want to encourage you.” She said. “Speaking of Dave how was he anyway.”
“Not too good. He was with her during the delivery.” I said.
“Ooh. That’s so sweet.”
I didn’t argue with her.
Men were from Mars and Women where from Venus.
Being present at child birth was sweet?
“What do you think about Phonexia as a name for the baby?” I asked.
We chatted a bit more and then with a yawn, she hung up with a sleepy “Love you and good bye.”
The time was 10pm.
My mind wandered over the events of the day. The scourge was spreading, I observed.
My mum, my grandma, my sisters and my niece.
All of them where female.
Women really where taking over the world.
I pondered the choice of a female name and finally hit on Renee.
It was either that or Bridget Jones.
Renee sounded good.
And with that thought I closed my eyes and slept off.
And thus it ended .
The moon might not have made it and once again i forget about my hair but April 13th ended on a good note.
I did not become a Godfather but at least I was an Uncle.
Content, I slept on.