Thursday, August 11, 2016

MILES


“I think I’d make a good father,” he said, as he looked up from his hands. He was sitting across from me in one of my postmodern chairs, the kind that you hesitate to sit on because they have no arms and no cushions. “If you decide to keep it… I don’t have any money, but I have a big heart.” I had a sudden urge to record the entire scene, to memorize it. I almost didn’t tell him. I almost couldn’t. I was so afraid of his reaction that I opted to send him a picture message instead. When he knocked on my door, I said “Did you get my message?” and he said yes, and he held me so close, he could feel my heart pounding through my chest.

I was so nervous. I couldn’t believe it. And he was so calm. More calm than I had ever seen him. He seemed solid, like he could withstand anything. I showed him the results of my pregnancy test. He read the small print on the instructions from front to back, and he looked on the internet. “It doesn’t look like there’s much room for error,” he said. But I took another test anyway. And as I was waiting for the result to appear, I knew what I wanted it to say. “Don’t worry,” I told him. “There’s three in a pack; it’s not official until I take the third test.”

He took a few steps, then turned to face me, saying “I’ll support you either way… I had plans to leave, but if you decide to keep it, I’ll stay. I know what it’s like to grow up without parents, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone… But if you decide that it would be better to give this one back to God, it’s ok.” “That’s a terrible way to put it,” I said. He had been through this twice before, albeit years ago, and with different women. They both decided to give theirs back. He sat down on the couch next to me.

This is where I should have told him, I was going to keep it. I should have told him I needed him to be there with me, the whole time. I should have told him that I loved him and that this baby was a gift that I would never give back. I should have said “you will, you will make a great father.” Instead, I asked him if there was anything he wanted to listen to. “Miles Davis,” he said. An artist we’d never listened to together, he wasn’t even on my playlist, but I found him on Pandora, and he leaned back on the couch, extending his arms, inviting me to curl up beside him, which I promptly did, my incongruent heartbeat drowned out by the sounds of that restless trumpet.

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