People always thought me and Antoine were twins. I suppose Andrea and Antoine are cute twin pairings. I’m actually a little bit older than him, but not much. Whenever I changed schools, or entered into a new age group, he was right behind me. He’s such a great brother. Life would be rotten without him. Actually, I’ve been without him before, and it was the worst time of my life. Our parents died when we were young. We had no local family, so we were thrown into the foster care system. In the beginning, it was easy to stay together. We were so young, and no one wanted to separate us. But, as we grew, it got more difficult. It’s hard enough to find homes for teenagers, so a home for two was definitely out of the question. We didn’t live together most of our teen years. Luckily, they placed us in homes within the same school district. We would see each other in school and get together on weekends when we could. It was nice, but it wasn’t the same. When I graduated, I tried to become a foster parent so my brother could be placed with me. They didn’t deem me fit enough to care for a child. “He’s not a child! He’s my brother,” I would say. They would tell me they understood, but it was not within his best interests to be placed in my care. At the time, I thought it was baloney. But, looking back, I know what they meant. I lived in a rat hole apartment and had a crummy little job that barely covered my expenses. When he became of age and left the foster care system, we were reunited, and he came to live with me in said rat hole. We’ve been together ever since. He got a crappy little job to help me, and that was our life for a while: crappy jobs, crappy pay, and crappy apartments.
At last, I got a job in an office. It didn’t pay much, but I could see myself growing there, and that’s exactly what happened. I worked hard. I learned skills that would make me more marketable, and people noticed. I’m still pretty low on the totem pole, but I’m doing so much better now. I even got Antoine a job there in the mailroom. After my second promotion, I was certain that I would remain there and continue climbing, so I bought a house. I wanted stability. I wanted the family we never had. I wanted everything a young lady my age was supposed to have. I started dating, and I met Zayne. He was so much fun. Completely opposite of me. I like for everything to be neat and orderly. I like calculations, facts, and answers. He flies by the seat of his pants and lives in the moment. There was no way I could survive like that. He got on my nerves a lot, but I loved him. I fell pretty hard for him. Looking back, I see that it happened too quickly. I was too anxious to get the family I wanted. I never took the time to find out what he wanted in life. I thought because we loved each other it would happen. His love for me would make him ready to take the next step.
He showed me who he really was when I discovered I was pregnant. I was young and dumb and reckless; we were rarely safe. I was actually happy about it. He hadn’t shown any signs of making our relationship permanent, so I thought surely the baby would hasten him. Before then, I had been trying to get him to move in with us. He was never in a rush, but when the baby entered the equation, he began to pull away. It was very subtle at first. Like, in the beginning, he would blame everything on his mother: she’s sick; she wants me to fix the shower; I have to run errands for mama. Then, he would communicate sporadically. A day or two would pass without hearing from him. He would apologize and say he had been busy. After a while, and a few proverbial slaps upside the head from Antoine, I started to understand what was happening. It hurt. It hurt a lot. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. Why was he treating me that way? Tried to console myself by thinking positively about it. At least I was having his child, and we would be connected for life even if we weren’t together anymore.
He went to a handful of doctor’s appointments with me, and he would seem so excited—especially when we found out it was a boy. But it wasn’t enough to make him stay. Of course, now, I know he was just scared. He’s a runner. That’s something I learned growing up in the foster care system. He’s a runner, and it seems that he has stopped running—at least for now. What does that mean for me? For us? Do we pick up where we left off and hope to live happily ever after? Do I remain guarded and never explore the possibilities? He’s Emmanuel’s father! I can’t ignore him. But, perhaps…if I can just get some closure, this gaping wound can finally heal. I’m so confused. Antoine keeps telling me that I should be dating, but I don’t know how to explain it to Emmanuel. He has a father. I don’t think he’ll understand the possibility of getting a new father. I wish my life were simpler.