Saturday, March 5, 2011
A Fresh Start
This is the fifth and final installment of this series. Click "To Serve and Protect" in the right column to read parts one through four.
"No you're not, all you need to do…"
"I'm serious. It's...it's colon cancer. I wanted a baby to carry on my name even if it wasn't really mine," Calvin said, looking at Jeremy.
"But you said…"
"I know what I said, Shanell. Just forget it. Why are you here anyway?"
"I just wanted to make sure you were okay."
"Yeah, well, I'm not. When y'all getting married? I want to come to the wedding?"
I would have laughed if the whole situation wasn't so sad. I realized at that moment that his sickness was the reason why he had been so mean. I forgave him instantly, and wished that things had not turned out the way they had. It was too bad. Calvin had been so sweet in the beginning. "How long do you have?" I had to know.
"Couple of months. They say I need an operation. Didn't want no operation. Don't have you, what would be the point?"
I looked at Jeremy. He didn't say anything, just stood there, and looked out the murky front window. I loved Jeremy and he loved me. I wasn't going to let Calvin get back into my heart no matter what. He could have been lying just to make me feel sorry for him. He could have been getting me back for tricking him. But deep down I knew it wasn't an act.
Jeremy and I left when Calvin started nodding off. He looked so old, so sickly. Jeremy hadn't said a thing since we had walked through the door. I had to know what he was thinking.
"What's on your mind?"
"You're not going back are you?"
"Of course not. I couldn't go through that again. I won't put you through that. He's sick, and I feel bad for him but I can't put my life and happiness on hold for him."
"Thank you. That would have been a nightmare. I don't think I can live without you. I guess he and I have something in common."
I just looked at Jeremy for a moment then I reached over to hold his hand. I hoped that he and I would never have to endure the things I had gone through with Calvin. Jeremy was different from Calvin in many ways. Calvin was always a little rough around the edges but Jeremy was always sweet. Most importantly, Jeremy and I had never had any altercations. He had always understood and respected how I felt, even when he didn't agree with it. There wasn't any other man, that I knew of, that would go with his girlfriend to visit her sick husband. And even though I had no way of knowing what the future held, I knew at that moment I wanted to be with Jeremy forever.
"So, when are you going to give me my ring?" I asked.
Jeremy looked at me perplexed, "What ring?" Then comprehension showed on his face. "You mean…"
"Let's get married, baby," I said. Then I kissed him.
Jeremy and I got married a month after Calvin died. I think I cried a few tears for my former husband along with the happy ones that I shed. A few of Calvin's brothers and sisters came to the wedding. I thought they would have been angry with me for leaving him, but they understood. His sister, Janet spoke to me during the reception.
"Shanell, I know you were surprised to see us but we came to show you that there were no hard feelings," she said, handing me an envelope.
"I'm glad, thank you."
"Calvin was the baby of the family, which meant that he was very spoiled. He'd often thrown temper tantrums as a child when he didn't get his way. I knew that he had carried that selfishness into adulthood. I loved my brother and I miss him terribly, but I'm glad you got away from him before he stole all of your joy."
I began to cry all over again. Tears had filled my eyes in those two years more than they had my whole life. I hugged Janet and we held each other for a long time. I had loved Calvin so much for so long, but I didn't think he loved me half as much until I opened the envelope his sister had given me.
Calvin had left me a very hefty life insurance policy. I knew he had good benefits at his job but, oh boy. He had also set up a trust fund for any children that I would have or adopt. I was speechless. Calvin really had loved me in his own way. He made it possible that Jeremy and I would make more money sitting at home making babies than we would working.
I had my first child a year after the wedding. I was so thankful for my little Jamie and was glad that I had the means to give my little princess whatever she wanted. And I thanked God we had a big, strong, sweet police officer that would always love and protect us.