Make Christ Come Again
"I swear on every choker I own, if I have this baby in America, I'm burning the whole thing to the ground!" raged Maria from the backseat. Julia stifled her chuckle, keeping her eyes on the road. When Maria had insisted on visiting her sister in Texas earlier that day, she'd had reservations, and now that they were still an hour out from the border with Maria's water long broken, she was starting to suspect they were never going to get there in time.
But, hey, you try telling that to a 9 months pregnant ball of fury.
"Mi amor, I know you don't want to hear this," she began.
"To the GROUND, Julia. I mean it -" But her rampage was cut short by a particularly intense contraction.
"That's it, Maria, we're pulling over -"
"No! Don't pull over! I'm fine -"
"You're not fine, you're just stubborn!"
"We'll make it, we'll make it, I promise we'll make it!"
They didn't make it.
And that is how a very irritated, very pregnant Virgin Maria and her best-friend-turned-doula Julia came to stand on a stranger's porch in Texas during a torrential downpour.
Well, actually, the torrential downpour wouldn't have been a problem if Maria hadn't, during a wave of contractions, invoked the Lord's fury by looking up to the heavens and screaming, "Why the fuck didn't you warn me about this, you cunt?!" And, of course, it promptly began pouring on them.
"You made Him angry," chided Julia.
"Her," corrected Maria.
"God's a woman?"
"Of course God's a woman. You think a man would be creative enough to invent the platypus?"
Julia didn't respond, though she supposed Maria made a fair point. Instead she turned her attention to the house before them.
"Should we...?" she asked. Maria shrugged, supporting herself against the porch railing.
"If I can't have this baby at home, I'd at least like to give birth somewhere dry," she said, cringing at another contraction.
Julia knocked urgently at the door, and moments later, a portly white man in his 50s answered. He might have been any other portly white man in his 50s except for one thing that made both girls blanche: the "Make America Great Again" hat on his head.
"I don't think I can give birth to the savior of the world anywhere near a white person who owns that hat," muttered Maria muttered in Spanish. "It might be hard on him to find out his savior is Mexican."
"You two lost or something'?" the man asked, looking suspiciously between them.
Julia recovered with a smile. "Sir, uh. We're in some trouble..."
It was only then that Julia realized she had no plan. They couldn't very well ask to deliver this baby here, at a stranger's house. But where else could they go?
"The trouble is I'm pregnant," offered Maria sardonically.
"Okay..." the man said.
"I know this request is - odd, but do you have a shed or anything where we could take shelter? I'm worried this baby's about to come any minute."
The man frowned, looking between the two women. "Where's her husband?"
Maria laughed. "Ah, papi, there's no husband. Just me and my lesbian lovahhh."
Julia rolled her eyes and shot a glare at Maria. That girl had no concept of when to keep her mouth shut. Forcing another smile, she turned back to the man.
"Look, sir, we just really need anywhere to stay."
"I don't think..."
Maria let out an aggravated shriek. "Look, man, I know you won't believe me, but I'm carrying the savior of the world in my womb and either she's coming out on your porch or she's coming out somewhere else. Which is it gonna be?!"
The man gazed at her a moment, and Julia was sure he'd turn them away for good when he nodded and said, "You can use the garage. I'll move my truck."
Julia was shocked. "Wait, that worked?"
The man laughed. "No. But I got a daughter 'bout your age. I'd hope somebody'd do the same for her." And he disappeared around the corner.
As soon as he was gone, Maria said, "This is my worst nightmare. This baby's about to be born in a Trump supporter's garage! God must think She's real funny." But a new wave of contractions stopped her from making anymore smart remarks.
By 6am the next morning, Julia was certain this baby was never coming out. They'd been at it for nearly eleven hours and the thing was still lodged firmly in there.
Maria, for her part, was delirious.
"You'd think agreeing to have this kid would make God my friend but noooooo," she complained. Then, more lucid, she looked seriously at Julia for a moment. "Why me? Why couldn't it have been you? You're so strong and calm and smart. And I'm just Maria. Maria the Mess."
Julia smiled. "Maria the Hot Mess." Smoothing back a hair from her friend's forehead, she added, "It had to be you, silly. No one else would believe those voices in their head were real, just you. Plus, that whole virginity thing."
"Ah, yes. Virginity. I knew not having sex when everyone else was doing it was gonna come back and bîte me in the ass."
The two girls shared a laugh, and then -
"Oh. Oh, Julia. I think - I think she's ready."
"Okay. All right. I got you. Just breathe. And push!"