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One Mistake and It's Suddenly Over
“What time did you arrive at the hospital?” I stared at her. I couldn’t believe she asked such a stupid question, given the fact that we were both in this wet, white, washed-out waiting room for another to arrive at the hospital. I felt that under the circumstances, it was required of me to be polite.
“I’m not sure exactly, maybe 9:50 in the morning or so? I haven’t looked at the card thing that was given to my mom in a while on the day I was born, so I can’t tell you for sure,” I replied, watching as she kept her two forest green eyes solely on me. She admires my unremarkable features.
She diverted her eyes once realizing that I was staring, and gazed straight ahead. Things like this happen, I tried to reassure girls that it’s okay; I’m just a normal guy they can talk to, but for some reason, my looks intimidate them sometimes. I shrugged, ready to bring in a major key in the “song of life” that I loved to play every day.
“So, what’re—” Nope, not the right timing yet.
“No, I meant when you got here today. I didn’t mean what time you were born.”
My heart sunk like an anchor at sea, but I knew she was kidding. She loved to tease me, to get me round up, a bull ready to unleash its lunatic wrath. The conversation broke, sadly. I completely forgot about her. I didn’t know what waited through that door and frankly, I would gladly wait an eternity before I had to live with whatever came through.
You see, about a year before, I met this girl. Man, this girl, she was something else. If you could see what she looked like then, you’d understand what I fished for her. Her perky, white little body sat so peacefully in that chair in front of me in Environmental Science—just something about her got to me. So, I played my cards and got her to fall for me, just as simple as it sounds, really. Like with poker, my hand was a royal flush. It trumped all.
Man, but how was I supposed to know that I’d end up getting her pregnant and her parents telling my parents and all this unnecessary drama would start up about me being a father? They acted like I wasn’t mature, that I didn’t even know the difference between my left and my right. I didn’t want this kid and it’s her fault she fell for this stupid teenage “love” thing. My parents knew I wasn’t the best kid, cared more about what girl I could get in bed that night rather than if I aced that test or not. So, why did they just now start caring that I be a father to this kid I never asked for?
Jesseca was always talking about how she was going to support the baby, how I needed to “grow up” and get a job. So, after wasting my time and thinking about ways to financially support this burden, I told her my plan. She was good in bed, so I told her she should become a stripper, and she’d get good pay and doing something she was good at, but get this—she got mad at me! She stomped, pouted even, her face scrunched up like a fistful of cheese, talking about how I was stupid. I’m the only one coming up with actual ideas.
I was trying to help, but whatever, she can be stubborn. It’s not like she was throwing any better ideas. Jesseca would be 18 by the time she had the thing, so she could be a stripper, it wasn’t unrealistic. She was the typical gorgeous, brunette, short girl that all guys loved. I don’t get how it wasn’t an option.
“Ethen, you need to get your life together.”
I looked over, wondering, “What’re you up to tonight? You can come by my place and help me.”
She whipped her head around towards me. I could see the excitement and mischief in her eyes; she was waiting for me to say something.
“You must be kidding me,” she wanted to play hard to get.
“What?” I whipped a soft smile, “You don’t think you’re good enough for me anymore?” Two can play at this game. I arranged my cards carefully, waiting for her to play her hand.
“How can you be so ignorant? You got my sister pregnant after telling me you loved me and you’re honestly trying to have sex with me?” Clever to bring that up. “Do you think I’m that naïve?”
She really does know how to make it interesting for me. That’s how she and I hooked up before. Now, I was just waiting to put down my best cards because I haven’t even begun yet. Everyone knows how much she hates her sister. When she found out that I got her pregnant, that anger only grew. Now was my best time.
“Sorry, forgot.” Throw out the smirk, “You know I don’t love your sister, right?” Eye contact. A smile. A passing of emotion. She could feel I really meant it, everyone falls for it.
I could tell pure joy brightened her eyes, but she still wanted to deny it. “You’re talking about my sister!” Her fake words and harsh tones were well-practiced.
“Yeah, I know,” and she didn’t say another thing. I won. She knows that. I knew that after this baby came, she’d come running back to me. She’d hope that she could steal my attention away from Jesseca. That was her goal. It was fun, really. Jesseca was good for a one night stand. Yeah, I’ll try to help her out, but I’d always go back to Eliza. There was something about the way Eliza moved that was just so enticing.
It wasn’t too much later that Jesseca was done pushing and the baby was out and shouting. The doctors told me to go into the room to see the baby, so I went in. They told me it’s a boy and that I could hold it, so I did. That was it. When you get a kid, it’s supposed to change a person. Make the person more mature. Yeah, no. That didn’t happen for me. This baby was an opportunity.
I was right; Eliza came running to me like a child running to the ice cream truck that just passed their house. It was fun while it lasted, but not as fun as I remembered it was. For some reason, I couldn’t stop thinking about how irritated I was with how Jesseca thought of me. She wasn’t normally so open about their negative opinions of me.
“Ethen, grow up! You can be a man for once in your life and be a father to this boy, or leave. I’d rather my son grow up without a father than one who’s an embarrassment.” Jesseca thought of me as an embarrassment?
Jesseca started being there. She would always nag me about how her parents were fed up putting so much money into this baby. I needed to stop banging her sister and get a job. She was right. I lost.
I’m in the hospital again. Again for him, this baby. I wasn’t in the dull burgundy cushioned waiting room seats beside Eliza. I am beside Jesseca, the mother of my child. My child. He’s just getting stitches, he’s fine. Boys are rough sometimes, I was. Play fighting with friends is normal, it is. Accidents happen and when this taller boy hits his round nose, it was playful.
“Thank you, Ethan.”
“For?” It was small talk; it’s been awkward for us. I was getting used to innocent small talk.
“You’re here; you’re not out there living with your parents. You’re being a father, thank you.” If I were cut out for this, I’d realize that my son needed help. I don’t know what I’m doing.
“Yeah,” I don’t know what I’m doing.