I had been to that house a million times before, but I had never been more excited to be walking up the sidewalk as I am tonight. For once in my life, I feel like a real man. I can’t lie; I’ve been a scrub. It takes a real man to admit that. Yeah. I have responsibilities. Until now, I haven’t been prioritizing them. I’ve just been doing me. It was fun for a while. Party life in Windenburg is insane! And the girls? Dude. They made me glad I didn’t settle down with her. But, I was young and stupid then. Only cared about myself. I didn’t realize how much I had hurt her. I definitely didn’t realize how much I had hurt him. I figured he’d be ok; I was. But, she didn’t give up. She sent me pictures and had him call me every now and then. I appreciated that.
I don’t know. After a while, I started waking up I guess. I felt sick. Like, I’m better than this. I don’t have to be like my old man. I needed to find my own way and do the right thing. So, I stopped everything: The partying. The girls. I got a real job. The pay sucks, and the hours are terrible, but at least it’s gonna take me somewhere. I moved out of my mama’s house and bought a house right down the street from her so I could be close to him. Where’d I get the money? Mama surprised me. She had been saving money for just this moment all these years, she said. “I knew you would get your priorities straight. I’m proud of you, and I wanted to reward your decision.” Twenty G’s she gave me. I didn’t know what to say. I just cried. I wanted to give the money back, but Watcher knows I needed it. I bought the house, but I didn’t get too extravagant. Got only what I needed for me and him so I could put some money in my savings. I think I did pretty good.
I have to admit that I felt like a punk. I didn’t call her for a while. Every time I left the house, I kept my eye on her windows and doors so I could hide in case she spotted me. But, when mama called to see how things were, that was the end of that. I stopped dodging her house and picked up the phone. It felt like the first time I ever called a girl back in middle school. It was so silly. But, I suppose this is how it is when you make changes in your life. Everything is new and scary. She and I talked. I told her I’m gonna start doing my part. I went over there a few times and spent time with him. Even took him to the park. He’s been wanting to come over and spend the night. She didn’t like the idea at first. Honestly, it made me mad. But, I didn’t say anything. Her hesitation is my fault. I know she needs to learn to trust me again. But, my little man is relentless. He gets that from me. She’s more reserved and patient. He kept asking her until she caved. “He’s just gonna be down the street, Andrea,” her brother said.
Tonight, I’m going over there to get my son and bring him home for the night. I’m feeling quite strong and confident. Heh, I should have known they would be waiting for me on the sidewalk. She has always been so prompt. Everything has to be in order. She’s saying goodbye—or trying to. This must be the first time he has ever been away from home. I can tell she’s all messed up inside. Her brother is watching from the house. He’s so protective of both of them. I appreciate him. Man. I could have done so many things differently. But, I can’t change the past. The future will be different. I just hope it’s not too late.