“It gives me the creeps the way he just…stares. All the time staring. Is that normal for a one-month-old?” the caramel colored woman languished. She was careful to say this after she and her husband were left alone with the baby.
“He’s just listening to you, that’s all,” her smiling husband remarked. “Hey there little Kevin. Aren’t you a handsome young man?”
“He’s coal black! What’s so handsome about that?”
“But he so cute honey. Look at those eyes. Ah, look…look, baby, he’s smiling at me.” The man picked Kevin up from the crib. He cradled him in his arms. “You’re going to be my little man… at least for a while.”
“Since you two are hitting it off so well, you can change his diapers.”
The man was Scott Jones and the woman was his wife Tina. Scott worked as a physical education instructor at the PIGC New Jersey campus. They had no children of their own. Scott had been approached about fostering a special child. He and his wife would be well compensated and they would be assigned a nurse. Tina liked the idea of extra money because she liked to shop and as long as she didn’t have to do too much she welcomed a child into her home. Scott was more excited because he always wanted a big family. Tina so far couldn’t have children and secretly didn’t want to mar her skinny figure.
The baby had been brought to their house an hour ago accompanied by the nurse, the doctor and both Gaydos men. Nobody told them the history of the child or why he was considered special. They were told by the Gaydos men that he must be well taken care of. Trent gave them his card and told them to call him directly if there were ever a problem. The nurse was unpacking in her room and they were left alone with Kevin.
The first moment Tina saw Kevin her heart sank. She and Scott were both lighted-skinned African Americans. Now they were given this dark little creature. She had thought it would be nice to show off a baby to her family and friends but now she would be embarrassed.
All Scott saw was a baby boy. His color didn’t matter at all. He just hoped his wife would loosen up. Besides, there was something about this baby that Scott couldn’t put his finger on. His stare was so intense, as though he were trying to communicate through his bright glowing eyes. To Scott, the baby was longing to be loved and he was willing to comply.
The entire trip to the Jones’ house was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to Kevin in his short life. It was springtime and the smell of new flowers was in the air as he came out of the building for the first time. The sun shone on a breezy day. The nurse had put something over his face but he could still feel the breeze and the warmth of the sunbeam. When she strapped him in a car seat she uncovered his face. His green eyes took in everything he could see.
The doctor and nurse rode in the same car Kevin was put in but didn’t speak to each other. They followed a burgundy Mercedes which carried Trent and Mr. Gaydos. The radio was playing soft rock and Kevin heard music for the first time. He liked it. He smiled. When he entered his new home his eyes took in the new surroundings. There were plants everywhere, a grandfather clock, carpet, wall hangings, and paintings. He liked it and smiled.
The new faces were a joy to him also. Tina was pleasant to look at even though her expressions were not. Scott’s joyful face reminded him of Trent. Tina reminded him of the doctor.
The room they called his had fluffy white clouds on blue walls. There were soft stuffed animals all over, even in his crib. The mobile over the crib had cute little monkeys on it just out of his reach.
Kevin thrived in this atmosphere. There were plenty of educational toys for babies. His mind sucked up everything he could learn. By the time he was seven weeks old, he knew the names of the animals his stuff animals represented. He knew the alphabet because his nurse had set him in front of the television a few times when Sesame Street was on. Kids and puppets were singing the alphabet song. He didn’t understand the significance of the letters but he remembered them all.
After he passed the two-month mark the young men who had tested him in the hospital returned to place pads on his head and one on his arm. They showed him the same cards in the same order as before. Since Kevin had already seen them he didn’t react when the words didn’t match the pictures.
“He’s just not getting it,” one of the men sighed.
“He’s only two months old,” reflected Trent as he watched the pads being removed from Kevin. He looked at the little baby and his beautiful green eyes sparkled up to him. Trent smiled. “Next month we’ll try again.”
When they left Kevin reflected on the letters that were matched with the pictures. He figured out the pattern. One of his stuffed animals was a dog. He knew it was called a dog and he also knew it was a D.O.G. So a D.O.G. must represent the dog. He processed the information into the back of his mind.
“Hi Kevin,” his nurse greeted him enthusiastically as she burst into his room. She picked him up and snuggled him into her arms. “You are so quiet. You never cry or make any noise.” She looked at him with a worried look. “I wonder if you’re mute.”
Kevin smiled at the nice lady. He wondered what a mute was as she took him to the kitchen. She had prepared a bottle for him and placed it in his willing mouth. He looked up at her as he sucked.
A door slammed in another room.
“Where’s my little man?” the voice of Scott yelled. The nurse’s grip tightened around him. Kevin could hear Scott going into different rooms. Finally, Scott’s head peeked into the kitchen. “There you are!” He gently took him from the nurse. Kevin laughed and milk dripped down his cheek. The nurse grabbed a paper towel and began to wipe it off. Scott grabbed it from her. “I got it!”
Kevin saw the nurse’s face change. There was a look of resentment but he hadn’t learned what it meant. He put the expression in the back of his mind.
“So you had a busy day huh little Kevin?” Scott said in a gooey voice. He took Kevin out of the kitchen without speaking again to the nurse.
The nurse leaned her back against the counter with her arms tightly crossed. She had known Kevin from the day he was born. In her mind, he was her little man, not Scott’s. She had bonded with the baby while he was still in an incubator. She, not Scott, had nursed him to health.
The nurse knew the day would eventually come when her services would be required no longer. She knew it was stupid to be so attached to Kevin but she felt drawn to him and his green eyes. There was something about the way his eyes latched onto hers. Even the day he was born he had stared into her eyes. The intensity of his stare went straight to her heart. She loved him.
Her eyes watered up as she dreaded the inevitable day of leaving him.