The Basement Child of Willoughby
By: Stephanie L. Robertson
Listen here—don’t you feel sorry for me. What happened was a long time ago, and I don’t appreciate pity. I git purty tired of them long looks Willoughby folks give me. It happened over twenty-five years ago, and let’s leave it at that.
I suspect you ain’t heard the story—being new to Willoughby and all that. I reckon I’ll tell ya, since ya’ll seem so nice.
Just don’t blame me, alright? As long as ya don’t blame me, I’ll tell ya what happened.
Well, like I say, it happened over twenty-five years ago—naw, I need to go back further than that. Hmmm. Maybe thirty years ago…
I was hurting somethin’ fierce.
“Stop pushin, Mayline,” said Doc Quimby, wiping sweat from his forehead. “This baby is breached.”
It finally got born.
“Oh!” gasped the nurse, her eyes round as gourds.
Doc Quimby’s wordlessly laid it across my chest.
I took it home, grieving it and my husband who just died in the war. I let nobody see it, and before long, time came for it to go to school. I couldn’t let that truant woman have a look at it. She came along, knocking at my door.
“My sister in Mobile has it,” I lied.
“Your child needs to come back home and get in school,” said that truant woman.
I said alright.
I had to think of somethin’.
Y’all want to know my secret?
Y’all will be the only one who knows, other than my sister. She kept it the during the whole “kidnapping” ruckus in Willoughby, twenty-five years ago. When I took it down to Mobile—that was the first time since its birth that it seen daylight.
Our no-good sheriff came and investigated. I knew I didn’t have much to worry about with him on the case. Pretty soon, the whole thing blew over and went to cold case.
I brought it back from Mobile, and it’s lived here ever since.
Now, if y’all will ‘scuse me, I gotta go take a plate of dinner down to the basement. Like I’ve done for thirty years.