I’m 27 and going through a divorce with my three-year-old. I’m so thankful for her that I just don’t know what I’d do without her. Right about now the walls are closing in on me. I can’t breathe. At least that’s what it feels like.
A thought floats through my mind: You are not a bad-looking woman. You can get a man. Sure, I can. I am not putting a man over my child.
“Just a minute, Joy. Now what did you ask? When is your daddy coming back? Do you remember him? Please, listen to me. He didn’t leave you. He left me. You are too beautiful to leave. What do you mean why? He just did, honey. That’s men. You’ll find out later in life. What! Can you call him? Geesh! I’ll talk about your father if I please. You’re not my mother, Joy. I am yours. And by the way, the next time I have a baby I’m praying for a baby—not an adult trapped in your little body.”
She clung to me looking like her father conceived her by himself. Rage swept through my being. He is not paying me child support. I’ll leave the country before I let her talk to him. He will never lay his eyes on my child again.
I’m so glad she’s grown. She works at the airport selling yogurt. I hate that. It’s a new job. It won’t last. I pray it won’t. My kid at the airport selling yogurt. What is up with that? She’s going to college and that’s that. I hear her coming in. I don’t like the way she’s looking at me.
“Why’d you do it, Mom?” She screams. “I was just a little kid. I needed my daddy. You don’t know how I needed him. You’re selfish. It’s all about you. Isn’t it? I don’t think I can forgive you for this!”
“Now see, hear. What do you mean? You can’t forgive me. I don’t care what you mean. You don’t talk to me in that tone. I’ll slap you so hard I’ll feel it myself. Swipe your face like a credit card. Your father. Your father. What about him? I told you the truth. He didn’t leave you. He left me. Don’t bring that man up to me. I don’t care to think about him. He’s a loser.”
“You kept me from my dad! All these years you had his number and address too! He sent me money and letters! I know you! He did. I know you!”
“According to whom, Joy? What! I don’t know what you are talking about and don’t care. You have never talked to me like this in all of your years. Get out! I ain’t going to jail for smacking you.”
“You all ready did!”
She left in huff with tears streaming down her face. Wiggled her bony butt right out the door. Twenty minutes passed. I should have taken my car. I bought it and everything else she owns.
I’m the Queen Bee. She ain’t nothing but the princess. Can’t hold a torch to me. I pick up the phone. “Hurry up. Pick up the phone. You know your home. “
“Hello,” I finally hear in a kind tone.
“What took you so long?” I yelled.
“I sent you my number and never missed a check. I have the receipts. I gave your mother the money faithfully. Then came cell phones. I gave her my cell to give to you. She gave it to you. I know she did. She was faithful to you. Wouldn’t tell me where you high-tailed it with my daughter. Just assured me that you and Roger were fine. Raising my daughter with him. ’What goes around comes around is what she said.” My number has been the same. I waited for this day. I was about to board a plane when I saw Joy flounce by me. I’d know her any where. I just called her name. She turned around. I fell to pieces. Staff later informed me that they bellowed my name over the intercom for an hour or more. I failed to board my own plane. What do you mean catch the next flight? I’m not the passenger. I’m the pilot. Detain no plane for a passenger is a rule we fly by. I thank you and Roger for raising her. She is beautiful. I remember the day she was born. Joy is banging on the door. I must go.”
“Wait! Wait! Please don’t say anything to her about Roger. She doesn’t know I left you for Roger.”
He hung up. Hum is all I heard. Why didn’t he raise his voice? That man never did raise his voice?
Vivian Dixon Sober