December 17, 2007
“Aaron? Aaron, wake up.”
“Wha - what the hell?” I gasped, sitting up suddenly. I squeezed my eyes shut and gently rubbed them with my hand. Taking in my surroundings, I realized I was in CJ’s room. I was sitting upon the bed, my back resting up against the wall. “I can’t believe I fell asleep in here last night. I’m not even done getting everything together yet.” I rushed out, still half asleep. My mom sat down beside me and placed her hand on my knee.
“Baby, you worked so hard getting the room together last night. Why don’t you let Angel finish up for you while you go freshen up. It’s getting close to noon.” She softly told me.
“But, it has to be perfect.” I said, yawning and stretching my arms high above my head. Angel put down the music box she had in her hand and turned toward me, her hands resting on her hips.
“Excuse me, but what the hell is that suppose to mean?” Angel said, her eyes slamming into mine. I placed the monkey, that was resting on my lap, on the pillow beside me and calmly stood up.
“Angel, that’s not what I mean. I trust in you that it will be perfect.” I said half telling her the truth. Deep down I felt like it was my responsibility to make sure everything was perfect for my baby’s homecoming. I never once thought about my sisters, CJ’s own aunts, if they would want a part of it too. I felt bad, because I didn’t think about the rest of my family.
“Damn straight little boy.” Angel shot at me. I walked up to her and gently kissed her on the cheek, “Work your magic, Twina.” I told her, gently patting her on the back. I left the room to Angel and my mom and then headed down the hall toward my bedroom. Along the way, Taylin came skipping down the hallway and leaped into my arms. I hugged her tightly and kissed her tenderly on the head.
“I can’t wait for CJ to get here. We’re going to have so much fun. I’m going to teach her everything I know.” Taylin said, grinning from ear to ear.
I switched her over to my other hip and quietly studied her. “And what is that?” I asked jokingly, raising an eyebrow.
“Stop fooling!” She said punching me gently in the shoulder. At that moment, I saw her smile fade slightly and a look of discomfort spread across over her face.
“Are you okay baby? Are you hurting?” I said as calmly as I could. I hated seeing my baby sis in so much pain. If I ever find the bastard who hit my sis, I’m going kill him. It breaks my heart to know that someone can drive up into a yard and run over a little girl; an innocent little girl, playing in her own yard. The driver who hit her was drunk, but that doesn’t make it okay. What pissed me off the most is that the guy who hit her, still hasn’t been found. It’s hard for me to look at Taylin and not think about that night. She only has one arm because of it. She’ll never be able to live a full normal life. I felt like it was job to make sure she does.
Taylin looked up at me, her eyes weak and tired, but still had a little sparkle, “Bubba, you’re going to along just fine.” She told me, wrapping her right arm around my neck and resting her head on my shoulder.
“Just fine for what, sweat pea?” I asked her, tucking a loose strand of blond hair behind her ear.
“Being a daddy.” She whispered.
My heart smiled at those words, “Thank you baby. That makes me feel more confident coming from you. It makes me have more faith in myself and as a daddy because of you.” I whispered softly in her ear. Taylin replied by giving me a smile, “Anyway sissy, on a scale from one to ten how’s your pain?” I asked her.
“Six.” She replied in a tiny voice. I nodded and put her down. I walked her to the kitchen and gave her her pain medication. After she was finished taking it, she gave me one last hug before heading into CJ’s room to help mom and Angel. I grabbed myself a glass of water before heading back to my bedroom. I had an hour and a half until I could go get my baby and bring her home.
After taking a much needed shower, I stepped out onto the cold tile floor. I grabbed my white towel off the toilet seat and brought it up to my face. I dried my face off, then slowly put the towel down, as I stared at my reflection in the over head mirror just above the sink. I let the towel slip from my fingers and drop to the floor. I stood there, still as a post, water slowly dripping off my body. As I looked into the mirror, I saw a guy whom I didn’t think existed. His eyes were strange to me. I wasn’t familiar with the emotion that shot through me like a piece of glass. I felt peaceful. Something that I haven’t felt for so long. I could strain my brain and try my hardest to think about the last time I felt at peace, but I came up empty.
I also felt scared and ashamed. This is my time. My time to finally be responsible for another life other than my own, and even that wasn’t true at times. I lived everyday like it would be my last. For many years I have lived carelessly. I never thought about tomorrow, I lived my life as it is right now. I don’t bother thinking about my future anymore. I see no point in it. I keep making promises to the people who are the closest to me and I keep on breaking them. I never follow through with what I tell people, because I guess my actions clearly speak louder than words anyway. I can admit this to anyone, and they wouldn’t be surprised. There is a voice inside my head shouting at me, cursing me to stay focused and get my shit together, because there is no you anymore. There is someone else way more important.
I let my hands go. I didn’t realize I was holding on to the counter so tight, just staring at the numerous patters on the tile floor. I blinked away a few tears and looked back up. I took a deep breath and stood up straight. The guy I saw in the mirror was no one but a complete stranger. I know I’m a good person, anyone would say that. But the people who don’t fully understand me, judge me from what they know from the past. I know I have done some wrong in my life. I know I have taken, as I thought, the easier way out; which was destroying my life in the process. That person is not me. My heart ached at the memories of everything that I have done. I try to tell myself that nothing was my fault. Everything I thought was right, was always the wrong thing. I have been through some really bad shit and that was my way of covering it up. Every time I said that I was okay, that I am happy, only my family and my closest friends will have the balls to come up to me and say; don’t bullshit a bullshitter.
But this is it. This is it to finally pull myself together and be one with the world and everything I am. It is time to kick my past in the ass and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I have a miracle in my life now and she’s coming home in thirty minutes. I have someone to take care of now.
Awhile later, I heard the soft click of a door opening and closing from the other room. I stood there, listening in silence, until I heard Gingers voice calmly call out my name.
“Yeah?” I answered back my voice scratchy. I winced at the sound. That did not sound like me at all.
“I was wondering if you want to talk for a bit before you go get CJ.” She said. I stepped away from the counter and grabbed my towel off the floor.
“Okay. Just let me get dressed, I’m still naked.” I said, drying off the rest of my body.
“You’ve been in there longer than you normally are. What were you doing?” She asked through the door. I ignored her and proceeded to dress. After I was finished, I casually walked out of my bathroom and into my bedroom. My mom sat there silently on the bed, her legs crossed and her hands resting comfortably on her knees. I walked straight passed her, not uttering a single word. I started to put clean clothes up that were left in the laundry basket over the weekend. I tried to slow my heart rate down by taking slow deep breaths. I was shaking so badly, I could hardly handle the hangers. In the corner of my eye, I saw my mom stand up and walk up to me. I swallowed and closed my eyes, feeling her warm hand resting on my lower back and her chin on top of my shoulder.
“Aaron, what is wrong?” She whispered, running her fingertips through my hair. I took a shaky breath. I opened my eyes slightly and when I did a few tears escaped my eyes.
“Mom…I’m scared.” I whispered, stealing a glance in her direction.
“It’s okay to be scared. You’re a first time parent, it’s understandable. As a matter of fact you should be scared, sweetie.”
“No, it’s not about that. I don’t want to hurt her, mom….” My voice trailed off.
“What do you--”
“You know I’m going through some really bad stuff. I’m scared that I won’t be able to stop.” I whispered, my voice cracking.
“This is why you can change it. This is the best time as any to get your life back on track and get your butt headed in the right direction.”
“I know this. I feel it inside. I keep telling myself that I need to get better, I need to get better, but I’m scared that I’m just going to go out the back door.”
“I’m not following you.” She frowned.
“That I’m not going to follow through like I normally don’t,” I continued, moving away from the closet and sitting down on the bed. “All I’m going to be doing is ruining my daughter’s life. I won’t be able to live with myself if I ever do that to her. Her mother and everyone else around her-whoever that was-have destroyed her since the day she was born. I’m the only one she’s got, mom. I don’t want her to ever hate me.” I slid down to the ground. I buried my face in my hands and wept.
“I want you to look at me.” My mom told me, gently pulling my hands away from my face. She cupped my face with her hands and pulled me closer to her, whipping the lingering tears off my cheeks, “I have no doubt that you’ll be okay, because you’re a smart person and you know your boundaries‘. But…you have a daughter now. You have someone who needs you. If anyone can pull through, no matter what stands in their way…it’s you. You’re the strongest person I know.”
I gave her a small smile and cupped her hands in mine. I pulled them from my face and held them in my lap, “You really have that much faith in me?”
“Do you really need to ask that?” She said, tilting her head to the side, “Aaron, I have more faith in you than anyone in this family.”
“It sure as hell seems like it.” I said taking a deep breath and getting up from the floor. I rubbed my hands on my jeans and then quickly dried my wet eyes with my shirt. I glanced at the alarm clock on the side table beside the bed. It‘s getting closer to noon, “Mom, will you go with me?” I asked her, feeling a little nervous.
“To get CJ.” I smiled when my moms eyes lit up and her hand went straight to her mouth.
“Of course I will! Thank you, thank you.” She squealed in delight, throwing her arms around my neck and hugging me tightly. I chuckled, hugging her back, “Let me go get my shoes on.” She gave me a quick peck on the cheek and high tailed out of my room. I shook my head and headed back to the bathroom to look myself over one more time. I slowly turned the faucet on and gently splashed the water over my face. I quickly dried my face off, then headed toward the living room, where my mom was waiting by the door, her purse hanging on one arm.
“Girls, we’ll be back! We’re going to go pick up the newest member of our family!” My mom yelled to the girls who were down the hall in CJ’s bedroom. I heard a faint ‘okay’ and my mom and I got in the car and headed to the hospital to get my daughter.