This isn’t the way that the story was supposed to play out.
They told me that I would hate you. That you would disappear from my life, and I would likely never see you again. They told me that you were just like every other man who had done this to a girl. The kind of man that just didn’t care, that didn’t want to deal with it, and of course, that you would never care. They told me that we were better off without you, that if I kept him, that it would be complicated and messy. As though life isn’t generally complicated and messy.
And yet, here we are.
The years have past, and there is still this flicker of a flame between us. This unrequited connection that shines with love and caring. We still love each other, but in a very exceptionally different way now. They didn’t tell me that I wouldn’t stop loving you. They filled my head with hatred for you, and I filled the void in my heart, the one that missing you created, with anxiousness and distrust.
I only hated you because you never came back. Wrapped up in my own selfishness, I never truly considered that you might be feeling the same level of fright that I was. We were kids, just two crazy, madly in love, stupid kids who found themselves in an incredibly huge, bigger than them situation. We never meant for that to be the way the story ended, and really, it wasn’t the end, like they said it was. It was just a chapter closing, bringing with it a new chapter for us to navigate.
When I see that seventeen year old girl in my mind, the one collapsing to the floor when she heard the news that she was pregnant, I can only think of you. I want to rush to her now and tell her to hold on. To just wait. I want to tell her to let time take it’s course, and not to rush. She knows things will be hard, but she didn’t know that she didn’t need to listen to all those outside voices. I’d tell her that no matter how hard she tries to fit into their story, the one of the Perfect Birthmother, and the vacant Birthfather, she’ll, we’ll never fit. You can’t put characters from one book into another and expect them to work out the same. It just doesn’t work like that.
She’ll regret the hatred she had for you, but she’ll want to know why you never came back for her. When you had been there for her through so many other things, why was it that this was the moment when you chose to abandon her, and pretend that she never existed? She’ll want those answers, and one day, you give them to her, just as she suspected you might. When she forgives you, she’ll finally start to forgive herself, because the true reason she hated you was because she hated who she had become.
You can’t blame her. The world that she was thrown into, the one where she was a teenager, pregnant and alone, was an isolated, lonely one. Between the troubles of her past, and the notion that you would never love her, or him, she made choices for you, for her, and for him. It was easier to paint you as the bad guy, because admitting that she, that I, still loved you was too hard. Fighting for a relationship with you, fighting for a life with you was too hard, and I didn’t know that life was always going to be about the uphill climb. That there was rarely anything good in life that didn’t need to be fought for. Life is a series of events, some easy, some difficult, the things you’ll fight for, and the things you won’t.
You were a battle I should have fought for. Not just for me, but for him. He deserved to know you. You deserved to be a part of his life, and I took that option away from you. Out of spite, out of anger, and out of assumptions about the dealings of the heart. Because, in my youth, I assumed that life wasn’t complicated, and that parenting with you, keeping our child, would just be unwarranted complication. Maybe it would have been, but I didn’t have the right to make a choice for three, a choice for one.
The hardest pill to swallow is the eager regret we both feel, and the cold-hearted reality that what’s done, is done. Because we were both foolhardy. Because we were both scared. Who knew that ten years later, we’d be staring into the nostalgic abyss, waxing poetic on how things were, sharing another piece of history. It was the passion and love we found together that brought us together, and now, it’s the basic commonality of being erased. We’re two shadows, melded together, in the life of a child we bore together, and we are both haunted by the regrets of yesterday. Maybe it’s the passage of time, but as adults, we recognize the stupidity of our youth, and understand that the storm that I was warned against, was likely one we could have weathered together.
We could have tried. We should have tried.
But they told me that I couldn’t do that to him. They told me that he wouldn’t want to be raised by us, separately, or together. And, I, oh, I was foolish enough to listen to that. Even when my heart was still pumping for you. Even when my dreams still reflected your image in them. Even when I knew they were wrong.
In that season, I was obsessed with the idea of hating you, simply because you never rescued me. You didn’t show up on my doorstep, begging to make things right. You didn’t see a single ultrasound, or hold his tiny hands when he was born. I hated you for that, but I never fully admitted that I never let you have any of that, because I was too surrounded by the notion of hating you.
Ironically, this ordeal, it’s still complicated. It’s so messy. We have the years between us, the wisdom to match, and the pain of the mistakes we both made. Most importantly, we don’t have him, and that’s the most complicated aspect of all of this. Especially, when we both want him now. Especially when we know the error that was made.
It’s too late. All of it, it’s just too late.
At least we can give him this:
His mom and dad loved. They loved each other. They loved him, and the adoption, was never about him. We were just two kids, young and crazy. In love. With adults in our lives who didn’t believe in us.
I always believed in us. I never stopped. I just lost sight of you.