Saturday, March 12, 2011
When I arrived home from work the first thing I did was check the mail box. I didn’t really look through the bundle until I got into the house. Scanning through the bills and magazines I noticed that I had received a letter from my older sister, Regina. But according to the salutation it was supposed to go to my brother, Thomas. I had never gotten a letter from Regina. Even after she left Memphis and moved to Somerville, Tennessee. She and I got together every weekend so there was no need for us to be pen pals. Thomas lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, so I guess I could see her writing a letter to him.
Since it had my address on it, nosey me opened it. When I read the contents, I got hot all over. She was telling Thomas the secret that I had revealed to her the last time we talked.
I had just found out I was pregnant and was considering having an abortion. I wanted to be married when I had a child. I had just graduated from University of Memphis and was starting my career in management at a local mortgage company downtown. There were so many reasons why that was not a good time for me to be a mom.
I wanted Regina to give me some much needed advice not tell all my business to Big Mouth Thomas. Being six years older than I, my sister was naturally someone I looked up to. But after reading the entire letter laced with every detail of our discussion, I was ready to write her out of my will.
“Let me get this chick on the phone and give her a piece of my mind,” I said aloud. Sometimes I talked to myself when I was stressed. Ring. Ring. Darn voice mail. I knew she was at home screening her calls. “Look, Ms. Lady, you need to call me. Trying to put my business all out in the street.” I mean I wanted kids someday just not right then. Leon was the one who was always talking about having kids with me. Talk about pressure.
An abortion was really not something I wanted to do but what else could I do. I mean, adoption was out of the question. Who wanted to go through all of that discomfort and then give your baby away? Made no sense to me. Who would I get to watch my baby when I was at work? Some of these daycare owners are too careless for me. Leaving babies in the van. If they left my baby in a dog gone van some heads would roll. Maybe Run-Her-Mouth-Regina can watch him, she ain’t got no job. Talking about, “Sheila, women have babies every day and still pursue their careers.” I had already made my appointment at the clinic and went through the counseling sessions. I just wanted to get her opinion.
All the next day, I tossed my sisters suggestions back and forth in my mind. Since Regina did medical billing from home, she could stay at my house with the baby, keep him with her during the week and bring him home on weekends, or she could rent her country home out and move back to Memphis.
I could barely pay attention in the training class at work. Faces of little babies spun around in my head. If I had a boy he would inherit my gap-tooth smile and Big Body Benz physique, if it was a girl she would have Leon’s height and nice wavy hair. I had to decide if I really wanted to take on the responsibility of being a mother. Being a realist, I felt that no matter how much Leon proclaimed to want to be a dad and even if he is there in the beginning who’s to say that he wouldn’t walk away some time in the future.
By the time I got home, I still hadn’t heard anything from Regina. I didn’t really feel like talking to her anyway.
Just as I had finally decided what I wanted to eat for dinner, Leon called.
“Hello. What are you up to?” I asked.
“Thinking about you. Hey, you wanna go get something to eat?”
“Sounds good to me.”
When Leon picked me up he was really quiet in the car which was unusual for him. “What’s wrong with you?”
He didn’t answer right away, I could tell he had something on his mind but wasn’t ready to talk about it yet.
“Aw nothing, just hungry. I didn’t eat lunch today.”
“You not eating lunch is not a good thing. You are the only person that eats six full meals a day and doesn’t gain any weight.”
“That’s ‘cause I work it off,” he said, with a wink.
When we arrived at El Porton’s, it did look rather crowded but fortunately we didn’t have to wait long to be seated. Before we had placed our order, Leon grabbed my hand and kissed it. “I was going to wait until after dinner but this thing is burning a hole in my pocket.”
Before I could ask him what he was talking about he pulled out a small box. Once again, me being a realist or maybe a cynic sometimes I don’t know the difference, did not jump up and down or burst out crying. I had seen too many movies where the woman just knew she was getting an engagement ring but got a charm for a necklace or some big ugly earrings. When I saw what was in the box, I had the type of reaction that almost required me to have on some Depends. But then, of course, tears really did come to my eyes. I nearly knocked the waiter down trying to jump on the other side of that booth.
“Leon, this is so great. I’m not going to be a single mother and …”
“We can get a nicer house than both of ours put together and…”
“Baby, what do you mean? Are you pregnant?”
“Yes, almost twelve weeks. I was afraid to tell you. Do you think this is a good thing? I mean you know, I could…” He put his finger over my lips.
“Don’t you dare kill any child of mine?”
“I won’t,” I said, burying my face in his chest. “You know you can’t leave me right?” I said, looking up into his face and pointing my finger. We had the whole restaurant’s attention by then but I didn’t care. The most perplexed look I had ever seen crossed Leon’s face.
“Why would you say something like that? I’ve been putting up with your crazy butt for six years, why would I leave now?”
“I’m just saying, if you get sick of me, you can’t move out, mister. You can sleep in another room but I ain’t with that divorcing mess.” He just smiled and pulled me closer to him.
“How ‘bout we get bunk beds. You might try to sneak some dude through the window. I gotta watch you.”
I pulled away from him and looked at him over the rim of my glasses. See that was my serious look. “Boy, you crazy.”
I called Regina when I got home to tell her the good news. The first thing she said was, “Have you come to your senses yet?”
“Yes, but do you know that you sent me a letter addressed to Thomas. Telling him all my business. What’s up with that?”
Regina burst out laughing, which kinda ticked me off all over again.
“That’s not funny. You know he used to get us in trouble all the time. Always snitching. I think he was a nosey old lady in a former life.” My big sister was coughing, trying to catch her breath.
“Whew! Girl, how dumb do you think I am? I sent that letter on purpose to give your spoiled butt something to think about.”
“Spoiled? Who spoiled?”
“You. You spoiled. I raised Joshua by myself and he turned out all right.”
She was right. Joshua was an Honor Roll student as well as a great athlete with football and track trophies all over Regina’s house.
“There’s another thing I was calling to tell you. Leon and I are getting married.”
“That’s great. Are you going to get married soon or wait until the baby comes?”
“We haven’t decided yet. You need to be looking for an apartment down here, babysitter.”
“That’s cool, I already bought the lil’ booger some onesies and bibs.”
“So you just knew I would change my mind?”
“You wouldn’t have asked me if you didn’t trust the advice I would give you. And you know that I would not have agreed to you getting rid of your child.”
“Thanks, sis, I love you.”