“Princess Tomorrow,” I stated.
“I’m 23 years old.”
I sat with my legs crossed at the ankle, shoulders held high and chin raised above the collar bone, and only exhaled quietly through my lips. My braided ponytail laid across my chest with a black tie at the very end. My black dress wrinkled free, just above the knee and black tights new from our commissary along with the black pumps my friend gave me to wear for this interview. My hands were placed in my lap not to appear nervous, but confident. Strong but humble. Miss. Norris sat behind her oakwood desk and looked over my file as she had done with the dozens of young sisters that were waiting in the hallway for their chance at an interview for the Motherhood Program. One of the most prestigious and highly selective organizations here in the community.
“Where are you from?” Miss. Norris asked without looking up as she began to take notes. Her streak of silver hair was tucked in her french braids like a beautiful pattern and her nails shined of classic clear polish, and a single beauty mark in the corner of her right eye.
“I was born and raised under the guidance of our founding mother Francis Wilde,” I replied, adjusting my yellow brooch on my dress before sitting up proudly once more.
“Of course, with a name like that,” she remarked underneath her breath, but I smiled. Not in the slightest bit offended. It was common to have unique names where I was from. We didn’t believe in being tied to slave names the way our ancestors were. “When did you last bleed?”
“A week ago from today,” I replied, seeing her look over my doctor’s notes.
“You have no complications from your monthlies?”
“No ma’am. Apart from the usual bloating and occasional headaches, I am fine.”
She closed the file and looked up for the first time with a sigh.
“Why do you feel you are ready to become a mother?”
I inhaled, closing my eyes for a moment because this is what I’ve prepared my entire life for.
“I believe I was destined to become a mother. I want to do my part in the community in raising the perfect daughter. I want to help mold and shape her dreams, her goals, and be the example she looks up to as a black woman. I…feel its my duty to raise daughters as my mother has done for my sisters and I. It’s my birthright and its all I’ve ever wanted…”
“Do you understand why we interview our sister factions for this program here in the Village? Why we prefer our daughters of Margaret Brentwood in this program over the others?”
This was a trick question to see where my loyalty lies. She was testing my allegiance. If I talked badly about my faction, I would be seen as desperate and easily persuaded. If I spoke too highly of my faction, it would come across as I’m not ready to leave so there had to be a middle ground, and there is.
“I believe my upbringing has been a blessing and I am forever grateful for my founding mother and her teachings. The woman I am today aligns with becoming a mother under the guidance of Margaret Brentwood.”
Miss. Norris smiled before standing up as she motioned me out of the chair.
“Let me get a look at you. Stand up and let your hair loose for me please. Should you bring a daughter into this world, we need to make sure you’re physically impressive as you are on paper. ”
I stood up and began to quickly under do my hair, letting the thick clump of wavy curls fall freely against my body, just past my hips.
“Your teeth,” she motioned as I smiled, gritting my teeth together for her to look before she nodded. She continued to slowly circle around me as I patiently waited. “Do you smoke?”
“No,” I lied easily. Weed was common in my faction and I would smoke on occasion since I was 11, but I haven’t in a year since I prepared for this interview.
“Have you partaken in any sexual acts with another sister in your faction or neighboring faction?”
“No,” I lied, taking a deep swallow.
“Young sisters in The Wilde are known for their connection to the our sisters in The Ward.”
“I understand there are alot of stereotypes regarding my sisters but as I stated, the highest honor in this community is being a mother and I would not do anything to jeopardize that. I’ve known I wanted to be a mother since the age of five.”
I could feel her pick through my hair before lifting my dress up to eye my stockings, and proper undergarments underneath. She stood before me to look my face over, my skin, and my nails. In her eyes, I had to be physically worthy enough to become a mother despite the doctors giving me a clean bill of health. My body was ready but was I worthy of raising a daughter like me, into this community. That’s what the interview was for.
“Alright,” she sighed as I slowly began to smile with anticipation, “I will allow you to train as a Sister Helper–––”
“Oh!” I let out, clamping my mouth shut with excitement as she held her hand up to silence me.
“You will attend training for 3 months before becoming a certified Sister Helper. After that, you will be assigned to an expecting mother and help guide her through the process for the year. Once you successfully complete that, you will be automatically put on the list the following year for the Motherhood Program.”
“Oh!” I let out again with excitement as she smiled. “Are you serious?!”
“I am,” she nodded tiredly as she sat back down behind her desk. “We strive for perfection here in The Village. Do as you're told, make a great impression as a Sister Helper, and little to no mistakes, you understand? We do not tolerate drama, disruption of any kind, and we expect rules to be followed at all times. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes ma’am,” I nodded, finishing up my braid. “Thank you for the opportunity. I will not let you down.”