Walk With Us

Triplet Boys their Teen Parents & Two White Women who Tagged Along
by Elizabeth K. Gordon dedicated to Joseph Scott Gordon


Chapter Four

I think Kaki got involved because Lamarr asked her to. I think Kathryn got involved because Kaki got involved in the beginning. Later I think the both of them stayed involved because they cared about the well-being of Tahija, Lamarr and their new family. I also think that they figured that they could help and Tahija really needed the help and she wasn¶t getting the help from anyone else. from Tahija Ellison¶s in-progress autobiography ³My Life as I Know It´ [most Walk with Us chapters begin with a quote from the young mother]

³See that truck?´ Tahija stood at the front window massaging her lower back. I went and stood beside her. A waterworks truck idled at the nearest corner. ³Working on the sewage system again,´ I said ³It¶s been there all day,´ Tahija said. ³That¶s not a repair truck. They¶re undercover.´ ³You been watching too much TV.´ ³TV been watching these streets! Wait, you¶ll see. That¶s drug squad setting up for a raid down at Lupita¶s or someplace. Or FBI, could be FBI.´ ³Why would the FBI be worrying about little old Hancock Street?´ ³Remember Move?´ she said. ³The police took out a whole little old street that time, now didn¶t they?´ 1 Two workers stood beside the manhole smoking and talking. ³Could be DHS,´ Tahija said quietly. DHS ² the Department of Human Services, the state agency that investigated claims of child

Move is a controversial back-to-nature, political-religious group. A 1978 police attempt to evict them from a West Philadelphia house erupted in gunfire that resulted in one police death. Nine Move members were convicted of that murder. In 1985, a police standoff with the group ended when police dropped a bomb from a helicopter. Eleven Move members were killed, including five children. The fire that resulted burned out of control, destroying all sixtyone homes on the block.


abuse and neglect and sometimes took children into custody. We¶d meet DHS soon enough, but in a sense this was my first meeting ² through Tahija¶s eyes. ³You think they¶re watching us?´ I said. ³Watching somebody.´ A man came out of the truck with a wrench and went down into the manhole. ³They not getting these three,´ she said. ³Me and Lamarr, we¶ll drive straight to Colorado, to my dad¶s.´ ³I thought your dad was in prison?´ ³My stepdad¶s Gary¶s the only dad I ever knew growing up; he¶s in Colorado, an electrician.´ I watched the idling truck awhile longer, breathing in the exhaust that reached us through the leaky windows, wondering: was Tahija paranoid, or street smart? Were the two different stages of the same thing? I didn¶t know. But standing beside her at the window my heart knit itself around a commitment: Whatever this girl felt she had to do to keep her triplets, I was going to help her do it.

I came downstairs to find a bay of bright sails spread out across the livingroom: Tahija with three Muslim friends sewing new robes, which were called outergarments. Tahija had spread her old black outergarment over a bright length of blue and gold striped cloth and was cutting along its outline, using the old as a pattern for the new. ³This don¶t look like bed-rest,´ I said. Her friends looked up nervously, but when she laughed, laughed too. ³This is Taleah,´ Tahija said. ³Hi.´ ³And Taheera.´ ³How you doin¶.´ ³And Latangela.´


³Welcome.´ ³Pinky¶s in the kitchen.´

Except for Pinky, all of these friends were still narrow-hipped and giggly. Maybe that¶s why I didn¶t see much of them after the triplets came. They went back to the shallows between girlhood and womanhood while Tahija stroked hard for open ocean.
When Tahija, reaching for a scissors, made a face and held her belly, I ran to her. ³You need some water?´ I ran for water without waiting for an answer. ³You forgot the ice,´ she said, handing me the cup back. I went for ice, causing some serious head shaking and mm-mming among the Ta-La people. Tahija can complain that I tried to spoil her kids, but she can¶t say I didn¶t try to spoil her first. And anyway, she was supposed to be on bed-rest, not doing callisthenic sewing all over the livingroom floor. She was only six months but where triplets are concerned, we¶d soon find out, six months is more like eight, because seven is term. Those babies were coming and they were coming soon. But not before their every-day-morecrowded womb was draped in vertical stripes of blue and gold.

Purchase the full book at www.CDDbooks.com Amazon or Borders on line. Half the royalties go to the triplets.


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