Message To Danny
Please don't let him forget me. I know I made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I was a good mother to Josh, I really was. He was the light of my life, the center of my soul, and everything I did, I did for him. Now I'm so afraid for him. Without me there beside him, he's so all alone, so small and vulnerable.
Danny, I know you don't approve of the way I earned my living. The way you ripped up the pictures of me and the other dancers in our bikini costumes made that pretty plain.
"My son doesn't need to see this," you said. Well, the truth is, I wasn't exactly thrilled about it myself, but what other choice did I have? After Josh was born, I tried to get back into hairdressing, but all my clients were gone, and I just wasn't making it. It costs so much to feed and clothe a growing boy, but I guess you'll find that out for yourself soon enough. Your dad sent a little money once in a while, and that helped a little, but rents just keep on going up, and then of course there were Josh's medical bills. He broke his arm in three places last year when he fell off the jungle gym at the park. They had to put in a steel plate and some screws and stuff, and it still hurts him sometimes.
It would have been so much easier if you'd stayed. We were good together, at least in the beginning. You were so charming, so romantic, and so handsome. I really believed you were my knight in shining armour. The three months you lived with me were the happiest time of my life. The places we went, the things we did, it was like a fairy tale come true. You did love me, didn't you, Danny? I loved you desperately, but I never would have tried to trick you or trap you. You of all people should have known that.
Getting pregnant was an accident, but I wasn't sorry. I was happy, and I thought you would be, too. You can't imagine how I felt when I came home from work that day and found your note. I felt like the world had ended. I wanted to die, and in a way a part of me did die, the young and carefree part. It wasn't until Josh was born that I really started to live again. He was so beautiful and bright, so full of energy, and most of all, so happy. Just having him around made me feel whole again. He's my best friend.
I took him to Catalina last week for his sixth birthday. We took the seaplane over, and then rented a small outboard to sail around the bay. He was so tired when we got back home he just laid his head in my lap and whispered, "I love you, Mommy." It was kind of funny, because he never called me "Mommy" before, just Monica.
He really looks like you, doesn't he? He was so little the last time you saw him, barely ten months old, and just starting to stand on his own. You bounced him on your knee and he laughed so loud. I though surely then you would fall in love with him and we could be a family, a real family like I never had when I was his age. I wanted Josh to grow up knowing his father and his mother loved him and wanted him. But instead you just walked away.
You could have called. You could have written. I know the Coast Guard kept you pretty busy most of the time, but surely you could have visited once in a while. I hope you have time for him now.
I've dated a lot of guys since you left, most of them guys from the bar. I really wanted Josh to have a good father, but these guys, they only wanted one thing. A couple of them acted like they might be serious, but as soon as I took them to meet Josh, they were gone. Poof! Just like that.
I guess you've met my baby-sitter, Jeanine. I know nineteen is kind of young for overnight sitting, but they get along so well, and he really likes to sleep over at her place. Besides it gave me some free time to be with my girlfriends and have a little fun.
Jeanine was so happy for me when I showed her the car I just bought. It was an '85 Honda, and I drove it to work for the first time that night. I know I shouldn't have let Ray drive me home. He'd had three or four drinks, but he didn't really seem drunk, and I thought he could handle it. Of all the mistakes I ever made in my life, that was the worst - and the last. We were just a mile from home when he bounced off the center divider and collided with two other cars. Thank God no one else was killed.
It was two days before Jeanine found out what had happened. At first she was sore at me because she thought I was just out playing around somewhere, but then she read in the paper that a thirty-year-old woman had been killed on the freeway, and there was no next of kin to notify. When she called the coroner and found out it really was me, she just about went to pieces.
How did you feel when they told you, Danny? Were you sad that I was dead, or angry at being stuck with a little kid? And on the flight here from Texas, were you preparing yourself to be a father, or figuring out how to unload him?
You really took to each other, though, and I'm glad. I was so afraid he'd have to spend his childhood the way I spent mine, shuttling from one foster home to another. Having a real father will mean so much to him. I know he misses me a lot now, but little kids grow up so fast. I just don't want him to ever forget how very, very special he was to me, and that everything I did, I did for him.
Copyright 1998 by Kathleen Mc Pugh, all rights reserved