Redemption Song


The single wall redwood soaked in the warmth of the afternoon sun. Each time a breeze blew, my curtains, Raggedy Ann and Andy print with a red checkerboard ruffle, washed over my outstretched toes like ocean waves. It was nap time, so I took care not to sing too loud.

“The itsy bitsy spider went up the waterspout,

Down came the rain and washed the spider out.”

The walls thundered and shook so hard it caused the glass window jalousies to slam shut. I couldn't tell what had happened, but their voices made me so afraid. That was the day the chanting began.

“God, please don’t let him hurt my mom. God, please don’t let him hurt my mom. God, please don’t let him hurt my mom.”

The tempo of the desperate whispers kept pace with my racing heartbeat. The room, now void of breeze was uncomfortably hot. Sweat ran down the sides of my face, but like the motionless curtains, I dared not move from under the desk that I had found refuge.

The chanting continued throughout my life.

“God please make him stop. God please make him stop. God please make him stop.”

Always keeping pace with my racing heart. The “him” changed faces over the years. He was my friend’s brother who locked me in his room and turned the radio up loud, then covered my mouth so tightly I could taste blood as my braces cut my mouth. He was another friend’s brother whose alcohol breath and stroking fingers woke me up out of my sleep.

He became a young husband who almost abandoned my one-year-old daughter and I at a remote beach. There wasn’t even time to put her in her car seat. He nearly drove away before I jumped into the car and held our baby on my lap as he wove in and out of traffic, threatening me as he sped toward our apartment.

“God please don’t let him kill us. God please don’t let him kill us. God please don’t let him kill us.”

When we got to our apartment, I ran down the road and hid behind an abandoned car. Looking up from where I hid I could see my daughter on the balcony. I was panicking. She was small enough to fit between the railings and fall from the second floor. I dialed 9-1-1. “Please I need help,” I whispered.

When the police arrived, they sounded annoyed. "Hurry up", they told me. In a fit of rage, he had thrown everything I owned over the side of the balcony and into the pool area. The humiliation of wading through the pool to pick up clothes, underwear, and jewelry was worse than being asked about bruises that sometimes showed up. I drove away with my daughter and pool soaked belongings, and for years the chanting subsided.

Then one morning, lying on the ultrasound table, the technician’s words started it up again. “You are having a boy”.

A boy. No, I can’t. I can’t have a boy.

“God please don’t let me have a boy. God please don’t let me have a boy. God please don’t let me have a boy.”

I drove back to the single walled redwood house. I dramatically announced to my mom and sister that I was not going to come out of the bathroom until I could think of one good reason to have a boy. After about an hour, tired of sitting on the hard toilet and tired of being all alone in the bathroom, I emerged and announced, “Jesus was a boy”.

But Jesus, the Son, was more than just a boy. He was a promise fulfilled. He was an unexpected gift.

His life was a redemptive miracle.

“Mom”, he says, “Can you open the window.”

I reach up to the pull the lever of the glass jalousie and his curtains begin to dance in the cool evening breeze. I lean over to kiss him goodnight. He cups my face in his little hands and tells me, “Mom, nosey nosey”, and pulls me close to rub his nose against mine.

I whisper, “Goodnight Bubs.”

“Goodnight Mom, I love you.”

The chanting is silenced.

The itsy bitsy spider went up the waterspout,

Down came the rain and washed the spider out,

Out came the sun –

My son, Kupono Mauliola,

And dried up all the rain.

And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.

© 2017 by Daily Becoming & Janice Ikeda. All Rights Reserved.