Read Time: 5 mins | Serial Fiction | Drama | Part Two | Read Part One
A park ran alongside the rear side of the shopping center. It was secluded, quiet, with an artificial lake dividing the park from the busy roads. Rays of sunlight would occasionally seep through the leafy canopy and create patches of light and dark on the freshly cut grass. It’s how my mind was feeling on the walk home: patchy. Mothers were walking with their toddlers, and a few young couples had paired off in secluded areas. I didn’t fit into either category. I was a middle-aged woman with a great life. I had a wonderful husband, and an incredibly successful career. But I was a middle-aged woman with an empty womb, and I felt ashamed. Why? I almost screamed at myself.
If I really wanted to be a mother, Angelique would be a great option. We could fix whatever was wrong with her and it would be a challenge, but love conquers all, doesn’t it? This mysterious option which had just presented itself, was quite alluring. I truly wanted a child. It was something that Robert didn’t seem to be concerned about. Life was good for him as it was. But for me, it felt like not being a mother made my life incomplete. I had been a failure. Oh, this was so depressing just thinking about it.
My mother would harp on about it relentlessly. She needed at least three grandkids. Never mind that she had ten of them to spoil already. She needed the fruit of my womb, prancing around, before she died. Those were her words. She would remind me at every family get together; in subtle emails and text messages, and Mother’s Day always required a trip to my therapist afterward. And of course, there was the daily guilt-trip phone conversation. Which reminded me that I had promised to return her call.
From the moment I hinted I was ready for womanhood; all I had heard about was babies. You’d think with such a desperate urge to be grandmother of the century, she’d encourage me to get laid and get it over and done with. But she was a conservative; a good old Sabbath keeping conservative. She had to be hospitalized the first time she caught me dry humping a pillow. She’s been on nerve medication ever since.
“Hello Becky.” She answered her phone, distracted by a rerun of Walker Texas Ranger. I could hear it running in the background, and I’m sure the neighbors could hear it as well. I would have to adjust her hearing aid when I visited her this weekend.
“Hi Momma. Angelique says hi.”
Without missing a beat, she responded. “You need to quit giving me these loaner grandbabies. Soon as I fall in love, you trade em in for another. It’s not good for my nerves.”
She was only joking, but I felt a slight twinge of guilt.
“I am thinking of adopting her, momma.”
Walker Texas Ranger paused, and the line went silent for a moment.
“That’s good news. Nothing would make your daddy and I happier. But how does Bobby feel about this?”
“I haven’t told him yet. Just wanted to get my ducks all in a row.”
“Its going to be a firecracker of a conversation.”
“Why do you say that? Robert loves Angelique.”
She hesitated. Every time she paused to choose her words, what followed was like popcorn going off in a microwave. I braced myself.
“Bobby is a proud man. Until he accepts his own responsibility in this situation, he’d only be guilt-tripped into pretending to be a father, just to please his woman. Make sure he’s comfortable with the idea. Take your time. Don’t go ruining your marriage because of something an old woman teases you about.”
“I hear you, Momma.”
“You know that I love you. Now go on about your business, so that I can get back to my show. It’s the one filthy pleasure the good Lord grants me in my old age.”
“I love you too, momma.”
Momma had given me something to think about. It’s not that I hadn’t given it any consideration before.
I decided to cut through the parking lot, as it would shorten my walk home. That’s when I saw it. A huge mural covered one side of the building. It was a painting of several horses. This is what Angelique had seen this morning. Just further down the road the landscapers were working, pruning the trees in the parking lot.
Maybe I was looking at this the wrong way. Maybe, just maybe, I had everything I already needed, and I was being unkind to myself, and to Robert. He has always been my champion, my lover, my best friend. The news that he was the one with the problem had impacted him, but he was kind to himself. He overcame the initial feeling of inadequacy, after counselling, and spending many nights in the man cave. He would be open with me, almost apologetically courting me again. We went out on many dates, just so we could spend time with each other. He felt like an absolute failure, and there was a guilt that hung over his head. He took up running, got himself in shape, and his mood had changed quite a lot. He felt great about life again. But he would not come near me sexually and that was quite frustrating. The therapist simply said to give him space to process his emotions.
Then one day, about a month later, his hormones got the better of his melancholy, and we made love. The kind of sex that made me glad we didn’t have any kids in the house. He declared thereafter, that if he could still get it up and functioning, he would be fine. He had been true to his word. Our sex life is great.
But I saw the pain he felt every time we placed a child with a family. Robert wanted to be a father more than he was willing to admit. It is a pain and a desire we both shared. No amount of counselling had brought us the peace we needed. Our home needed more. I needed more.
To be Continued…
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