“I got the baby!!” Anna called out through teeth clenched around a little plastic doll. Her lips rolled the doll covered in King Cake crumbs out of her mouth and into her hand. “See? I got it! This is my year for good luck!”
The rest of us actually cheered. We had planted six babies in that cake and everyone else had been careful not to bite into their piece until she had found one.
“Oops, oh damn, there goes the rest of the cake! Looks like you got my share of luck.” I said as I knocked the table over, spilling the rest of the cake onto the floor. I didn’t want her to find out what we had done by cutting into another piece. As I scooped up the broken bits of glass and cake and threw it into the trash can I smiled. She needed luck or at least the perception of good things to come.
In August her brother-in-law had shot her sister and her mother, all the family she had, in a drunken rage. She had lost her job when she took too much time to grieve them. With no job, she lost her apartment and with no family, she had to rely on friends, or find herself homeless, she couldn’t even stay in her car. She had parked it in a no parking zone and it had been towed. She had no money to get it out of impound and the city of New Orleans had claimed it as abandoned property.
She didn’t come to stay with me right away. She stayed with our mutual friend Sunny. It was only when Sunny was arrested for prostitution and lost her apartment too, that she knocked on my door. I was stunned when I heard the circumstances. Part of me was afraid that Sunny had gotten Anna involved in her secret profession and that I would have to monitor her visitors but Anna assured me that she too was in the dark about what Sunny had been doing. Just more bad luck. She said it was following her.
She had been my roommate for three months and no bad luck had befallen either of us. She had met and fallen in love with my best friend Matt and had made Thanksgiving and Christmas so much happier with her presence and now Mardi Gras was here and we had been having a blast.
No sad thoughts had permeated this day of revel ling. We had awakened at dawn, had breakfast, and caught the early parades so we could get footage of the little kids catching beads. We had four hours of bead tossing footage and had met and dragged home most of our mutual friends for a private Mardi Gras ball of our own at the community hall of our apartment complex.
“Good luck would be nice for a change.” Anna said looking at the naked doll in her hand as the room unexpectedly got quiet. I could tell she was thinking of her family and of all that she had lost the year before. Suddenly her face turned ghostly white and she stood up quickly and ran to the bathroom.
“What else was in that cake?” Matt said as he got up to follow her. No one said a word until they got back then there were words of concern and a few jokes as everyone tried to pretend nothing bad had just happened to our Anna.
“Have a drink Pooh, it’ll take the edge off.” I suggested and I passed her my glass of wine. She took one sniff and zipped back into the bathroom. It was at that moment that I had a feeling her luck truly had changed.
Seven months later she gave birth to a beautiful little girl, my god-daughter Alisha Marie. She looks like her father and is as sweet as her mother. All of us will see to it that she never has a day of bad luck in her life.