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"Ma-ma, ma-ma." I baby talked. Being an eight month old baby, I was gradually able to bring up coherent words little by little. Mum would say monosyllabic words to me and I would try to pronounce them. She would smile and throw me up into the air and catch me. I used to be frightened when she started it but now, it was so much fun to me and I'd always end up giggling tirelessly.
It was mom's 30th birthday and the party outside the house made it seem like the birthday of someone who clocked 100 years old. We loved parties in my family and as a baby, I never cared about much, but enjoyed the attention everyone gave me and the tidbits of cake placed in my mouth during such events.
Today, my extended family came. Aunt Rachael, mom's younger sister and her husband, Uncle Simon brought Anabelle, my cousin who was a year older than me. She always played with me anytime she visited. Aunt Rachael was always drunk in most parties. Mom said she was an alcohol addict. She had been to rehab six times but she got worse by the day.
Everyone was cheerful and smiled at mum and I in the kitchen. Dad came over and I stretched out my hands for him to carry me. He did and I was content.
"Baby, go say hi to the guests outside." Dad nudged mum with his free hand.
"Oh dear! I can't believe, I, the celebrant isn't out yet. I need to go change." She chuckled as she hurried up the large stairs leading to the various rooms in the mansion.
Yes, mansion! My parents were very wealthy people. Dad's father was an Ex-senator and he made a lot of money during his time in office. He was kind and liberal. He used his money to help a lot of people. Grandma and him died long before I was born. Apparently, they were already too old.
Mum's parents on the other hand, were quite vain. They were the stereotypical rich people who were snobby to others especially poor people. Mum grew up to be like them. She carried herself with so much class and sophistication that made people sneer. She had just two friends, and I know that they were only friends because they benefitted from one another. Once, one of them got bankrupt, they threw her out of the circle. When she got back on her feet again, they brought her back into the circle.
I know I'm just a baby but I know so much. Although I was born tabula rasa, sometimes I wonder if God placed an extra brain in my head which made me understand my environment.
Dad took me out to the large area full of people from influential positions. I heard the governor was in our midst as well but I haven't seen him. Mum came out, dressed in one of the prettiest gowns I've ever seen. Her hair was styled to perfection. She walked towards us with confidence and everyone clapped.
"Ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to announce to you that this beautiful woman right here is my wife. I'm so lucky to call her my wife because I know I don't deserve her." Dad paused to clear his throat. "I love her dearly and I want to make a toast to more wonderful celebrations, more love and more happiness. Happy birthday darling. Cheers!"
Everyone clinked their wine glasses and I watched mum wipe a tear off her face. Dad's an American-Jamaican. Mom's parents never wanted her to get married to him at first because he was black. They both shared racial prejudices and imposed this belief on mom. But she fell in love with him, going against her Scottish parents. They eloped and got married. The only reason her parents were able to come to terms with it was because of my birth. My grandparents were madly in love with me at first sight. They decided to give my dad a chance since he gave them something special; me.
I'm Cassiopeia Eleanor Raymond, by the way. A Biracial child, who had the best parents in the world. My dad's name is Matthew Raymond and mom is Stephanie Raymond (née Bolton). I was born on the fifth of December 1997.
"Dance with me honey." My mum cooed. Dad was quite hesitant because I was still in his arms.
"Let me hold her, you pretty couple can enjoy yourselves." Aunt Rachael came over and took me out of dad's grasp. Dad and mum smiled at me one last time before going to the dance floor where others had already gathered.
"Ah! Dear Cassie, let's take a walk, shall we?" Aunt Rachael whispered in my ear. She nibbled on my earlobe for a while and I giggled in delight.
She walked about fifty steps and stopped at our large garden. She took a seat on the long metal chair at the centre of the garden. The pleasant smell of the flowers wafted around us and I watched her close her eyes for a brief moment, inhaling the scent.
Suddenly tears flowed down her eyes and I looked up to see her crying silently.
"Simon is leaving me and he's taking Anabelle with him. He wants a divorce because he's tired of my drunk lifestyle." She said to the herself.
"I've tried to change but nothing I do can ever help me leave alcohol. I don't want them both to leave me." She cried harder.
"Ma-ma!" I said, patting her with my little chubby fingers.
"Aww! You just called me 'Mama'?" She hicupped and the smell of beer or something stronger breezed out of her mouth. How come my parents didn't realize she was drunk before giving me over to her?
I started crying, already sensing danger.
"Stop crying Cassie. I'm your mother... Wait a minute," She slurred, and thought deep. "I can be your real mother. Since Simon wants to take Anabelle from me, then I can have you. All I have to do is run away with you. I won't be alone anymore. I'm sure my sister, Stephanie and the rest won't notice our absence." She whispered excitedly.
Immediately, she stood up and began to run towards the gate. Her legs were unbelievably fast and I got scared. This made me cry the more.
"Where are you running off to?" Gemma, our house help yelled. Her heavy British accent brought my Aunt to a pause.