Twenty one years old! I can’t believe it. My first-born! Mi Orisha Enana! My Yemaya, Mother of the Oceans, and savior of my heart and soul is twenty-one years old today. She came into the world with only a little angst, born in the wee hours of morning, with rain coming down and my wife being brave despite the fear that must have enveloped her, because it enveloped me! Would she be healthy, would she be okay. Mi Orisha Enana, a phrase I swiped from a Jose Marti poem about his son. I was big into Cuba and Marti back then, and writing. I used to write in a journal for her that was all Spanish. I used to speak Spanish to her. All of that fell by the wayside, but not my love for that darling little creature who was so tiny and with a head full of hair, and had the most adoring look that I had ever seen. I was even afraid to hold her for fear that I would drop her. The nurses, far from being helpful, were antagonistic and shoved her at me, with admonitions that almost made me lash out, but I did not, and restrained myself and took that little one into my arms and held her and kissed her little forehead and cheeks.
I wished that my father would have been alive to see her. I wished a great many things were possible regarding my father, but realized that if he were alive, then maybe My Yemaya, Mi Orisha Enana would not be able to be in existence. When I was twenty-one, my father was taken away from me, beaten up during a drug deal turned robbery, and then left to die by asphyxiation. He wasn’t meant to die, but he did. Complications with his asthma being the culprit in the end, so in theory, one could say it was an accident, his own lack of will to go on, a strange kind of suicide brought on by the complications of being tied up. None of that matters to me now, at least in this moment, and my only concern is that My Yemaya, Mi Orisha Enana, knows who Pork Chop was. Oh yeah, I told her about him on our little jaunts around town to go and play tennis or get ice cream or drop offs at school. I told her the good and the bad, and of course how much I loved him, and how little I truly knew about him, and of course, how it hurt me tremendously to not have known him, or gotten to know him when I was a man. I had to tell her about him. He implored it through a dream. It was one May 13th when I awoke clutching my chest and crying, because I had dreamed of him and My Yemaya, Mi Orisha Enana.
I was on the tennis court, battling with someone, as I am apt to do. My Yemaya, Mi Orisha Enana, was sitting outside the gate, watching me. She couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 years old, and she was smiling and I smiled back at her. We both knew I had my opponent on the ropes and it was time to put an end to the madness. I looked over at her one last time before serving, and who was there by her side? Pork Chop, Austin J. Hubert Sr. I smiled even harder, and pumped up my chest, because in all the years that I have played tennis, my dad never got a chance to come and see me play, especially when I played in high school and invited him to a match, but he couldn’t make it. I served, and did my thing, and just as I was moving to the net to shake my opponents hand, I saw Chop walking away with Yemaya. He held her by the hand and she looked up at him and smiled just as she looked at me. She knew her grandfather and was eager to walk off with him. The problem for me was this. In the dream, I knew that he was long gone from this world, and seeing him walk away with my first born filled my heart with fear, and I awoke clutching my chest and crying, short of breath and fearful. I went in and checked in on my little one, and she was sound asleep, and peaceful. By the time I had my morning coffee and began writing down the dream, I realized that it was Chop’s birthday. He wasn’t taking My Yemaya, Mi Orisha Enana, away from me, he was ensuring that I did not forget him and that I shared who he was with her.
I regret not having him here now and that I did not get to know him as I grew more and more into manhood, but I also understand that he had to leave. He had to go away so that I could become who I am, in all of my complications. Spanish-speaking, Flamenco playing, Farsi trying to speak, Portuguese learning, two times a father, one time a husband, convoluted self etc., etc.,
Happy Birthday, My Yemaya, Mi Orisha Enana, from me and Pork Chop!
More about Yemaya: http://www.aboutsanteria.com/yemayaacute.html