Yesterday I got my fourth personal e-mail from a blogger saying they'd been reading my archives and were wondering about Little A's dad. Each time I've gotten an email, my heart has smiled a little; I know that they are heartfelt messages from kindred souls, not gossip-mongers waiting for me to turn the corner so they can stop the whispering and just talk out loud.
When I started my blog, much of what I wrote was about him and the loss of him; the shock over his departure, the sadness, the anger. As with my life, his absence also consumed my writing.
For years, God, it's hard to say that-"years", he was the first thought when I opened my eyes and usually the last thing that I thought about before I fell asleep. He was the back of a head in a crowd that made my heart skip a beat. He was the knock on the door that never came. Barring this phone call, he was the words that were never spoken. (He was Hope: dying a slow, painful death).
Prior to those years, I need you to understand what else he was, because it's hard to get past who he is to me now. The man made me laugh, all the time. I could call him, day or night and know, absolutely know, that he'd be there. I could speak to him about anything and never worry about him judging me or loving me less. He loved Big A like you wouldn't believe. He even loved my dogs that way, too.
When I told him I was pregnant, we sat on my couch and he held me when I cried, sobbed, actually. He assured me that it would be alright, and I believed him.
If I had known, if I had even suspected, that when he walked out the door of my house that night, that it would be the last time that he did so, there would have been so many things that I would have said to him before he left. Instead I let those words rest within me; I thought we had a lifetime to say them.
When days passed, then weeks, then months without hearing his voice, still I waited. I had reason to wait. Everyone who knew him and I believed absolutely that he would come around. I was willing to let time pass and let him sort out what was the biggest shock of his life, because part of me still believed in fairy tales then.
Time passed, and Little A had more surprises in store for me when she arrived early, a whisper of a life, hooked up to ventilators and monitors and sealed off in a solitary room within the sealed-off walls of the NICU.
I don't recall much of those days clearly, but I do remember how my heart ripped in my chest when I saw him walking down the hallway of the hospital.
There's still a scar there.
Over the course of the last two years, he's called occasionally and seen her twice. Instead of moving to be with us as he said he planned to do, (Hope: holding on, fighting back, beating the odds) he bought a home and got engaged. Of course, he didn't tell me these things, I heard them from someone else.
My ankle turned out from under me when the words were said. I blamed my burning tears on the pain from the twist as I clutched my ankle that didn't hurt one bit. (Hope: saying her goodbye's, kissing my forehead one last time).
He came to see us for Easter, with the assurance that he wanted Little A in his life. He wanted her to be a part of it, and promised (again) that he would be faithful in his efforts.
When he saw her come running around the corner, the look on his face nearly crushed me. The last he had seen her, she was an infant--and now she was running at him, white hair in piggy-tails, jabbering a hundred sounds a minute, bright blue eyes studying him, taking him in. I saw it then, that he realized what he had left behind, and I wept for him that night.
He told me that the woman that he's marrying hates the idea of Little A and I. He's not allowed to speak our names. He hides the pictures of her that he saves. He's not allowed to let anyone in their new lives know that she exists. I told him she was welcome to meet Little A, thinking that if she just met her, she would love her because she loves him. He laughed, a bitter laugh and said that would never happen.
He asked Little A for a kiss and hug before he left, and she happily complied. Arms open, lips pursed, her sweet little head rested on his shoulder. It took everything within me not to chase his car down the street and scream out for him to stay. Instead, I held Little A and read her a book. (Hope: breath rattling, eyes closing)
He didn't call again for weeks, and I made a decision. He couldn't have an open door any longer. It was one thing for him to wreck my heart, but to be the first wound upon hers, no, that I could not live with.
I couldn't let her believe that it was acceptable for him to call or visit upon whims. I couldn't let her believe that she wasn't important enough to be the sun that his world revolved around. I couldn't let her believe that maybe if she were better or smarter or anything else, that he would want her or love her more. (Hope: a handful of dirt sprinkled on the casket)
So I removed all ties. When he asked that I at least occasionally email him and let him know that she's alright, I declined. In the end, despite my love for him, I couldn't give him a blanket of comfort to keep him warm at night.
So that's it.
This is my last post dedicated to him. I'm sure there will be mentions of him, or rather, of his ghost, but no more eulogizing his memory.
(Hope: a handful of flowers laid gently above where she rests, three towheaded girls, walking slowly away).