“Clara!” the cry came from somewhere deep in the upstairs chambers of our home. “Clara, you come here right now!” Her mother was obviously quite angry.
Clara was sitting next to me in the recliner in the livingroom. At the roar her face became stricken and her gaze turned up toward me as a silent call for help.
“Clara.” I told her, “if you obey your mother, I offer you my protection.”
She nodded in agreement and began to climb down from the chair.
As she reached the stairs her mother emerged and looked down upon the small child.
“Clara, did you write on this?” she held up a pink sheet of paper.
Immediately my awareness of what was happening came together. Earlier in the day Clara had found a pen in our bedroom, and having found it she was searching for something to write on. I remember telling her she had permission to only write on paper and nothing else. “How about this paper?” she had asked. Lazily, I had granted permission with only a cursory glance.
Now this paper was being held aloft like a pink battle flag at the top of the stairs.
Clara looked over her shoulder and gave me a look of absolute betrayal. She stood in judgment now and she knew it was because of me. And she knew she could not defend herself or she would risk losing my protection and her mother’s paper thin mercy.
“Yes.” she responded plainly with a nod.
Her mother continued. “Clara, do you know what this is?” of course she did not. “Clara, this is the paper we need to send in to get your brother’s birth certificate.”
“Sorry.” she said, not understanding.
“Clara.” Her mom continued. “Look here. You see this bubble you filled in? You just told the Department of Vital Statistics that Gideon’s father, your father, is Asian.”
Clara stood silently. Her mother waited.
After a moment she looked back at me and asked expectantly “Daddy, are you Asian?”
I shook my head.”No dear.” and then I reconsidered. “Well, maybe.” and then after some more thought. “Okay, yes, according to the US Government, I am now Asian.”