(Sophia is a young single mother who is talking to her 6 month old son, Michiko, about life and the importance of holding onto wisdom and knowledge).
Sophia: Do you know why I named you Michiko?
Baby Michiko: (he is lying on his back kicking his feet as if he is still getting used to the feel of having them).
Sophia: Well, Michiko is a Japanese name that means “child of beautiful wisdom, child of beautiful knowledge”. And I said when I have my children; they will all be blessed with wisdom and knowledge. But there are always some children who fall to the wayside.
Baby Michiko: (he reaches his hands out for Sophia to pick him up and as she does, she cradles him in her right arm and he leans close to her bosom and Michiko takes in her scent).
Sophia: I want my baby to grow up and be strong and prosperous and not let life take control of you. You take control of your life.
Baby Michiko: (Michiko stares up at Sophia as she looks down at him. His face is in a state of wonder).
Sophia: I look back at my childhood and wonder how three children raised under the same roof can be so different. I was the only girl and the youngest at that. Your uncle Poppy is the oldest; Barry the middle. The boys were so sweet one point in time. But man, were they rough!
Baby Michiko: (his eyes are still fixed on Sophia as if he is mesmerized by her voice, and anticipating the rest of the story).
Sophia: Yes. Yes. Momma would scream at them to calm down before they broke something. I would hide right behind her laughing, happy that they were the ones getting in trouble instead of me. Poppy was always bullying Barry and then one day; Barry got up enough guts and decided he had enough. He picked Poppy up and slammed him so hard on the kitchen floor. Poppy was in shock! His right arm snapped in two and ever since then, Poppy gave Barry his respect.
Baby Michiko: (he hiccups and stills as if he was in shock himself).
Sophia: Your grandma Bibi, my mom, was a hard working woman. She did her best to raise all three of us on her own. She worked a full-time job, put food on the table and made sure we ate together every night. She’d encourage us to share our day and said families who eat together stay together. Then after bath time, we’d all gather on the living room couch and momma would read us a bed time story.
Baby Michiko: (Sophia rubs her left index finger through Michiko’s right hand and he grasps her finger tightly, waving it back and forth as if he was in a trance, as if he could remember the times Sophia read him bed time stories).
Sophia: But no matter how much your grandma nourished us, Poppy and Barry, something happened and they fell into trouble. Poppy started getting in trouble around twelve years old. First it started with calls home of truancy. Truancy led to theft, then came drugs. Barry followed soon after, said he wanted to be like his brother. I told them fast money is no good. Its dirty money and the last place they will end up is either dead or in jail.
Baby Michiko: (he stops waving Sophia’s finger back and forth and grasps it more tightly as he feels her body tighten).
Sophia: Momma became a nervous wreck. She never talked about Poppa much. I never really knew him, but the boys did. Sometimes I would hear talk about him to people on the phone. She would say things like if Poppa would have stayed in our lives, the boys wouldn’t be getting in so much trouble.
Baby Michiko: (starts making soft cooing sounds that begins to loosen Sophia as she feels his soft vibrations).
Sophia: Baby Michiko. My boy, so full of wisdom and knowledge. No matter how old you get, I will always talk to you and show you the way so whenever you feel you are on the verge of doing something to get in trouble, you will hear my voice.
Baby Michiko: (Sophia looks down and Michiko has fallen fast asleep).