She is sixteen years old and standing in front of me. Just sixteen this past June, she says. Sixteen and hardly a wisp of a girl: her fiery curly hair tangling down her back and chest, her young eyes staring back at me, challenging me, searching me -- I think almost desperately.
She has life spilling in and out of her membrane. Life tucked deep within the depths of her uterus, life that is eight weeks old.
The sun is setting next to us, behind is the barn we just danced in, the acoustic guitar strumming tunes in our ears. It’s teen week at the summer camp I’m working at, and she’s sixteen years old, here for the week. I think of the week I have with her, how a week can seem so short and sacred when all you want is a person to intimately recognize how deeply loved she really is.
Her bright eyes flash when she speaks to me. She scares people, I think. “When I put on this outfit I thought, ‘This is something Aliza would wear’.” She tells me.
I laugh. “I like your outfit a lot.”
“I’m already showing.”
“How far along are you?”
“Eight weeks.” I echo, taking out my phone. I bring up the baby app that I use to track the progress of my sister’s pregnancy, and pull up Week 8. “Your baby is the size of a raspberry!”
Her mouth forms a small o, and she glances down at her stomach. “A raspberry? The baby is so small.”
I keep reading to her.
“It says here that you can’t feel the baby yet, but the baby is moving his or her arms and legs, and the taste buds are now forming. And you’re probably extremely tired and have a heightened sense of smell. It also says you might be having some weird dreams.”
“I do have weird dreams! I thought I was going crazy!”
I laugh, tucking my phone away. “Nope," I confirm. "You're not crazy.”
“Just pregnant,” she quips. “With a raspberry.” She takes a deep breath, and I can feel the awe exuding from her. “A raspberry. The baby’s so tiny and it already has arms and legs? I can’t believe it.”
The sun is setting faster now, faster and bolder, a thousand colors streak and smear across the sky, and I feel small and tiny talking to her.
“Do you want to know something, Aliza?” She asks me.
“I think God gave me this baby.”