Unrequited

January 19, 2006 at 9:45 am (Uncategorized)

“I still love you,” he said, “You changed something in me the day you ran your foot up my leg, the first time I saw you, the first time I talked to you even.”

He goes on and on.

“I know I wasn’t there when Nate was born. I know I called you and told you I wished you would have that damn baby so you would stop bitching. . .”

I’m sitting on the floor of my old trailer, talking to my sister, when the phone beeps and I click over. Its Jeff. Before long, I am in tears and he tells me, “I just wish you’d have that damn baby!” I answer, “You’re about to get your wish.” “Why?” He asks. “Because I’m in labor. Are you going to be there?” “I don’t know.”

“And you go to the hospital alone and I’m not there.”

Twenty-one and a half hours later, T-Bird is with me, my kneecaps are kissing my ears, and I realize I’ve put him out of my mind. It no longer matters whether he is there or not, it only matters that my son is being born and he’s crying and healthy. Ten hours later, something wakes me. Jeff is there, holding Nate for the first time.

“I know you think I wasn’t there. I know you think I wasn’t really a father to Nate after he was born, but I was still his father. You talked about walking up and down the hill because Nate wouldn’t stop crying and I wasn’t there to help you.”

Nate has been crying for hours it seems and he won’t stop. My breasts are flat he has nursed so much. Jeff is in Baltimore on vacation. Our conversation is less than two minutes. I’m exhausted and still weak from hemorrhaging and Nate won’t stop crying.

I had read somewhere that sometimes a change of scenery will soothe them. My stitches haven’t completely dissolved but I pick him up and we go outside and I walk him up and down the hill. He stops crying and he’s curious to the big world around him. I go as far as I can until I have to go back. When we get to the door, he starts crying again, but I have to sit down. So we cry together.

“I don’t understand why you left me.”

Every moment from our relationship fast-forwards through my mind.

“You want to know? I’ll tell you. I never felt safe or secure with you. I loved you so much, but you played with that emotion. Anytime I did start feeling safe, you jerked the rug out from underneath me. If I did anything you didn’t like, you told me you couldn’t or wouldn’t love me anymore, you wouldn’t see me anymore. You kept me off-balance and anxious. You did the same thing to me that you did to Nate by saying, “I don’t know if I want to be your dad anymore.”

You’re not doing that to Nate. You did it to me, you turned your back on me, you manipulated me through my love for you. Your love was not just conditional, it was controlling. What happened between us, well it happened and no, neither of us can back it up, neither of us can change it, and I wouldn’t even if I could, but you’re not treating Nate like you treated me. You’re not going to keep him off-balance and anxious.”

“You know I would never abandon Nate. I would never stop being his Dad.”

“But does he know that, Jeff?”

Does he know it in his heart? Is he secure that you will love him no matter what?

“I’m totally sober and I just went on about how I feel about you.”

I look inside, searching and seeking, digging, and find nothing.

*Silence*

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