Friday, October 23, 2009
I loved her very much, once. But I fell crazier in lust with drugs and alcohol, and they became more important to me than anything, even my family. I used an awful lot, you know, and I can’t take that back. It was fun at first. Now, drugs are the only things that keep my darkness away.
We have two children – both of them boys. At the beginning, when they were new and soft and I was clean, I would tell proud tales about them to all my friends. The kids really are chips off the old block, I’d say. Then, later, when I forgot to pick them up from school too many times to count, and when I didn’t pretend to be looking for work no more, their mother asked me to leave. I did. I never contacted her – them – again.
Oh, I knew about their illnesses, their schooling, their sports, their happiness at growing up with a great mom, as well as their questions about having a dad who couldn’t be bothered. I turned to a few friends who kept me up to date. My ex never asked about me, and I guess I’m okay about it since I did throw that life away. You want the cross my heart and hope to … well … the truth? I wouldn’t change a thing. I have everything I want, everything I need. Yeah. I know.
So one cold rainy autumn evening, I’m standing across the street smoking and looking at them through the kitchen window. I catch a glimpse of my oldest boy. He’s carrying dishes to the sink and laughing at something his brother said. Their mother’s dancing around the room while she turns off lights.
It’s time for me to go. I flick the smokes to the curb and its little flame goes out as soon as it hits the oily puddle on the ground. I won’t come back to this corner any more, I decide. As I turn to leave, I’m startled by the sound of the front door opening. I don’t want them to see me so I quickly walk to my car. When I reach for the handle, I can hear the kids saying bye to their mom. She waves and calls out, “Make sure you take care of your brother. Have fun at the game.”
The youngest shouts back. “Mom, come on! Don’t worry. We always do.” He runs ahead to catch up with his brother.
I sit in the car and take one last look through the rearview mirror.
My boys. They are nothing like me.
You know what? That makes me proud.