I laid there like a sky before a storm – eerily calm, but ready to explode and lash out at any minute. Tears welled in the corner of my eyes but pride wouldn’t let them spill over. Without a single blink, I stared at my child’s father with enough burning resent to pierce a hole right through his heart. As far as I was concerned in this moment, he had no soul anyway. He was ready to up and leave. This entire pregnancy journey had been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride and just when I thought I would get some kind of a break or “happy ending” after giving birth, I was wrong…wrong for the millionth time.
Maybe I wasn’t enough to make him stay, but wasn’t baby Santana enough? I needed a break. I needed him to help me.
“I’m only going downstairs to smoke real quick…Don’t even do that…Fix your face man… I love y’all. You really think I don’t care? Where am I right now? You think I would I be here if I didn’t love my son?,” his words trailed on, but I had already wandered off into the twilight zone. Was this really my new reality or was this all just a horrible dream? His words began to sound more like gibberish that I no longer had the energy to discern. Deflated and exhausted, I didn’t muster a word. Perhaps he mistook my silence as consent because he soon vanished like a thief in the night.
Another night alone with just baby Santana, the on call nurse, and myself. I told myself I wouldn’t cry, but somehow one tear managed to break free and after that all hell broke loose. Tears with the intensity of Hurricane Katrina flooded my face.
One hour turned into two. Two turned into three.
Meisha, go to sleep. Get some rest. You know what’s up. He’s not coming back any time soon. Why do you keep doing this to yourself? At this point, is he really to blame? He’s showing you how he’s getting down and you keep thinking it’s going to be something new. Adjust your expectations! You have a whole child now. What, you’re going to keep crying in front of your baby boy? I don’t doubt that your child’s father has love for you and baby Santana. He does, but it takes more than love to raise a child. You need help and support – a village. Tell your mom what’s going on tomorrow. Let her just…let her just hug you at least. You need to feel love, beautiful.
It felt as if I blinked and the night was over. Morning came quick and sure enough, I looked over and my child’s father was laying in the chair next to my hospital bed, loudly snoring in between deep breaths. What the hell are you so tired from? He had crept his way back into the hospital room. Lord only knows what time that was, but I made it up in my mind that today would be a good day.
Like fine-tuned clockwork, my mom was the first visitor again ready to see her “most handsome grandson in the world”. Loud and proud, she boasted to the nurses about her first grandson being perfect. She soothed baby Santana with baby talk and kisses and stared at him adoringly. Did I tell her about the night before? …
How could I? She brought so much positive energy into the room and truthfully, I needed that. More visitors arrived with cards, flowers, and congratulatory messages. Soon, my mind was completely off my child’s father who had decided to wake up. Tuh. He mixed and mingled with the visitors as if was father of the year. I could have rained on his parade but I craved love from my guests more than I craved drama with him.
“That girl Mei Gotti (the nickname my clique of friends had given me) done had a baby doeeeeee,” one of my home girls yelled as she entered the hospital room. “You already know Auntie Fook is here. Where’s my baby?” What can I say? Some would call us ratchet when we get together and others would call us loud, but I wouldn’t trade my friends for the world . More friends showed up. We all laughed, caught up on the tea at school, and I felt like a normal 18-year-old again.
“Girl, so what are you going to do about graduation? You know it’s in a few days away, right? The way you laying in that bed child I don’t know if you’re gonna make it,” one of my friends asked.
“Yeah, ain’t you supposed to rest and stuff after your c-section?” another friend chimed in.
“First of all, y’all tried it. Y’all know me. I was always walking across that stage,” I responded just before sticking my tongue out playfully. They knew better. I had worked my butt off this senior year to still graduate Cum Laude despite being pregnant. Jesus would have to come down and tell me himself that I can’t walk across the stage for my high school graduation.
The words hadn’t even fully left my lips yet when my mom turned around wide-eyed as if she’d just been told the most shocking news of her life. She slowly mustered the words, “Meisha I need to talk to you about that later. It really slipped my mind, but I spoke to your teachers the other day.”
She paused before continuing and I could practically see her mind spinning, trying to find the right words.
“We spoke about graduation and you just giving birth and they think it’s best…we think it’s best if…”
No. Whatever it is. Just No.