Birth~ The Ultimate Success

It began early on in the fall of '86. In a little town called Bethlehem, Pa., a child was born under the hot glowing star of the Texaco gas station. Her parents were travelling back to their home on the Jersey side of the Delaware when Maria, the wife of computer mechanic Jose, suddenly knew what it felt like to be a shattered Evian bottle. Contractions grew closer and closer together at a mysterious rate and before the final rays of the moon dissipated into their brother's first glances of light, the child had entered our world in the convenience store section of the most inexpensive gas station this side of I-80. Jesse was her name and it fit her justly. As soon as they were able to travel, the parents and their wonderful little girl were whisked away to Bethlehem General. It wasn't long after their transfer that Jose's fingers grew weary from the constant pressing of buttons on the hospital pay phone to inform eagerly awaiting relatives of the good news. Maria's three brothers were the first to meet the child, their niece, as they all quickly stopped their important work and walked into the hospital room.

Jasper walked in first. He was the oldest of all the Riviera siblings and was thought to be the smart one, though the others would say different. He had rushed out as soon as his rounds at the hospital had ended in New Brunswick and quickly traded his white coat for a brown fur lined winter jacket to face the chilly Pennsylvania air. Smug to some degree and debonair on that same token, Jasper was extremely prideful in all aspects of his life. And why shouldn't he be? He had worked hard for many years in medical school, started a successful private practice and sold it to find better paying work in the hospital, the kind of better paying work that provided him with the necessities of the privileged life, including his BMW and now his insane alimony. It should be noted that this well paying job is not exactly deserved by the eldest Riviera. This isn't to question his knowledge of human medicine but this know-how Jasper possesses would be better suited for writing a textbook than actually helping patients. While he was making lots of money now, he always felt sad these days. Covering his wounds and questioning his life privately, he hid his discomfort in his present situation by stimulating the economy with cold, hard, unloving, cash. He made sure he was first to enter the room to see the new child, though he, as he usually does, waited for the others to come in before greeting anyone.

The birth was an interesting one for Maria and Jose. Well, mostly Maria. As they drove back home towards New Jersey, the expectant mother asked her beloved husband to pull over so she could buy a soda or something for a mysterious and undying thirst had come over her. When they pulled into Bethlehem's only Texaco, neither of the parenting pair was expecting to walk away with child in hand or anything more than a Pepsi and a full tank. Reaching towards the sliding refrigerator door with her right hand, suddenly Maria grasped her swollen belly with her left. Jose rushed to get the store owner who quickly grabbed some warm towels.

Fortunately enough for Jas, his two brothers were walking right behind him, so his wait wasn't long. The next one to force himself through the door was Mel. After all, he was the second oldest and so it was only fitting that he be the second one through the door. One could say that he was a Jasper clone but that description isn't quite as accurate as one might think. Where his older brother was just prideful, Mel added a new dimension of cockiness to the party. He was the quickest rising star in the highly competitive New York legal world. Having graduated from law school only three years earlier, Mel quickly worked up the ladder at his law firm to only a notch or two from being partner, a rank that many senior employees envied to no avail. Mel took great pleasure in his position though he wasn't satisfied because he was not yet a partner. An incredibly brilliant attorney, Mel had never lost a case to date; thus the cockiness. His personal life and work life were interchangeable terms, neither of which really could describe what Mel had. Life is correct in the sense that he was alive- or alive as a lawyer could be- but once second and third connotations to the word come into play, Mel leaves the table. Most of his time is occupied by law and the thieves who rule that arena. His own sorrow at his loneliness, after all he only deals with crooks and businessmen-both equally wicked, is very similar to that of his brother. All his commercial success left him emotionally bare. But it is best not to think of such things. As long as he keeps winning cases and moving up in the firm, Mel could do without all that interpersonal crap; all it would do is slow him down in the end anyway.

Jessie was struggling to escape. It was not that she did not enjoy the comfort of being so close to her mother but like all children, she had the urge to break free. The store owner called an ambulance but it was too late, the birthing process was already started. Maria's water was broken and she was dilating. At such a sight Jose started to dilate too out of panic but he recovered quickly and aided his wife in her Lamaze exercises. The eager child started to help her mom push and make her way into the world. Crowning could be an appropriate term for Jose's little princess' first real appearance in the world.

The third brother walked cautiously through the door, as if not to disturb the young one or her delicate mother. Barry was the baby of the family until this point in their lives and it was a title he did not at all mind giving up. Being the youngest meant that Barry was the last person to receive anything which made him the best sharer in his kindergarten class. Barry was very different from his brothers in more than one way. First off: they both had looked down on him a little because he was simply a high school teacher. Making a respectable teacher's salary-one which most third world countries would mock openly- it was safe to say that Barry had much less money than the other two Riviera boys. But despite the fact that he made so little money compared to his "successful brothers", Barry loved his job. It was the only occupation where you get to interact with such fine individuals as high schoolers. Barry also appreciated the unique environment in which he worked and that he was helping to share the knowledge of the past with the generation of the future. Empirically speaking, he learned more in high school as a teacher than he ever did as a student; not only about history and math but more importantly about life and people in general. What he lacked in finances he more than made up in social wealth. The other two Riviera brothers were like mirror images of their brother. Being a teacher had made Barry happy and also made his students happy. Perhaps Barry was even as happy as his brothers with their vast fortunes. The only difference is that he did not feel the need to express his content through high end market purchases.

"One more big push!" Jose stated excitedly. And then Jessie was out. She sat staring up at her adoring parents and the friendly store owner with his long white wooly hair extended out to grasp his slim shoulders. It was a miracle; the labor only took an hour though it took the hospital longer than that to respond. To celebrate their victory, the family drove to the hospital, to make sure everything was okay, where little Jessie had a feeling that someone special would be there to greet her. This emotion could not fully be understood by a child or an adult, but the premonition was there instinctively in Jessie's mind and what's more is that she was right.

All the brothers were now in the room. They rushed over to congratulate Maria and see their niece. Everyone was happy and exclaiming the already well-known fact that he was "an Uncle!" And just for a moment the rest of the world melted away. The only thing that was real in the world was this room with these people. Mel and Jas felt a warm radiation coming from their brother and decided to take a page from his book and to focus less on the pages of their own checkbooks. During this intense and joyful isolation, Barry did think of his school and his students and it added to his bliss. Jessie looked at her Uncle Barry, the closest to her age, and smiled. It may seem amazing to some, but within those first few minutes of her life, upon the first glance at her family she had decided something. Perhaps this was her first decision ever aside from involuntary actions such as the decision to breathe, though it was just important. Jessie had decided that she wanted to be like Uncle Barry, before she even knew his name. The thought soon left the infant's head as quickly as it arrived but its imprint shall forever remain. With just one look, she could tell that Uncle Barry was the one of her three uncles to be. Despite the fact that the others had more money and better paying jobs and nicer cars, Barry was the successful one to her. He laughed the loudest. That is who Jessie wanted to become. And she would many years later but that's a whole 'nother story. I hear it's a good book.