Sometimes when someone has their back pressed against a wall, their true nature comes out. Whether that nature is an anxious one or something akin to a hero, it's always an interesting thing to see. I think this always happens when an uncomfortable question is unexpectedly shot our way. Answer with grace or stumble. Go with the flow or be taken over.
He couldn't meet my eyes for a moment. Shame? Remorse? Self-loathing? Who's to say, but after a few huffing sighs he said, "I was broke. You deserve better than that."
I deserve better than an arbitrary number printed on a piece of paper that we regard with high importance? Did you put said object above yourself? Above stepping up and doing the right thing?
Even if he hadn't stayed with my mother - which would have been disastrous - he could have stayed in my life in some way. And in the very least, helped my mother through the arduous nine month task of pregnancy.
But no. Because you were broke.
My mother was broke too. Despite this, she got us out of the welfare system. She moved back in with her parents so I wouldn't be entrusted to strangers. She came home after work, certainly exhausted, but she never made me feel like we were broke a day in our lives. We were broke, but we ate well. We were broke, but I always managed joyful Christmases and birthdays. We were broke, but the love I received far outweighed any dollar that I've ever made.
It was in that moment that I could understand my mother's bitterness after all those years. When he was brought up, she became passionate about the injustices he commit against her, her voice would raise and her My own body stiff, brows narrowed, nostrils slightly flared. No wonder mom was bitter all those years.
You were broke.
I was fatherless. My mother was alone. But you were broke.
Money can't buy the experience of fatherhood. So, in that regard, he was broke of his own doing. Parenthood can be one of the richest experiences of one's life if they choose to go that route - or so I've heard.
You may very well have been monetarily broke, but more than that you were fucking lazy. Because what you did was easy, but what my mother did and continues to do is much more difficult.
At that point, I couldn't even feel anything. No anger, no sorrow. It hardly seemed worth it.
Of course, I still stayed pleasant throughout the duration of our trip and when I finally made it home, I ignored his calls more and more until they stopped altogether. There was nothing I had left to say to him.
But when I returned back home, the first thing I did was call my mom.
"How was your trip?"
"It was good," I said quietly before I told her what he told me. Being broke and all.
"He told me the same thing. At least he's consistent," she sighed.
I was quiet for a while before I said, "You know, thank you for being my mom."
And mom always has a modest reply, "I'm glad to be your mom."
And really, I'm glad that things turned out the way they did. I wouldn't want it any other way.
"I love you, mom."
"I love you, too."