I feel both their eyes on us as we’re walking down the street. I can imagine that she’s crying, and Toine is trying to get her back into the house. When we get to the steps, I’m gonna find out…turn and face the street…annnnnd show time. “You ok, dude? You’re looking a little sleepy.” Nope. No audience. Good. That means Toine got her back in the house. Knowing her, she’s probably looking at us from her bedroom window.
“Noooo, I don’t wanna go to sleep yet!”
Heh, his little whiny raspy voice. He’s gonna have a deep voice like mine when he grows up. He’s definitely sleepy, but I don’t want him to go yet either. “Ok, ok. Just checking. Let’s go inside.
“I know it’s not fly like your mama’s house, but it does the trick. At least it doesn’t have rats.”
“You’re funny, daddy.
“What do you have so many bottles?”
What an odd thing for him to notice. His uncle has a full sized bar in their kitchen. Maybe they keep the bottles in the cabinets. “Uhhh…I like to have a good time. Gotta make sure I have enough for all my friends…yeah.”
“Oh. You mean parties like Uncle Antoine has?”
What in the world? “Yeah…like that. Y-you don’t…go to his parties…do you?”
“Of course not! I’m just a kid! You’re funny, daddy.”
Actually, I’m not, but you keep thinking that, little dude. Now…time for some reconnaissance. “So…does your mama ever talk about me?” I can’t believe I just asked him that. That was so low.
“Talk about you how?”
“Like…anything? Does she say anything about me?”
That could be good or bad. Probably more good than bad seeing as how she’s not bad-mouthing me in front of the boy.
“How come you don’t live with us? Did you and mommy get divorced?”
Oh crap. See…I should have kept my mouth shut. I can’t believe he doesn’t know anything. But…that’s good. That means there’s still hope for us. And, I should have known he was gonna turn out to be smart just like her. Now…to close this door I’ve opened… “No…we were never married. We’re just not together right now.”
“So then you’ll get back together soon?”
Wishful thinking, kid. “I don’t know. I hope so.”
“Ok. Can we watch a movie?”
On this little piece of crap? This kid has jokes. But, whatever he wants to do. I won’t tell him I don’t have cable yet, he he. There’s nothing ever on when you need something. It’s too late at night to see anything decent anyway. Maybe there will be some animals on the public channel. You can’t go wrong with animals. Poor little man. He’s nodding already. Let me put my arm around him so he doesn’t fall off the sofa, heh. “Where are you going, dude? Come here.”
Man…I’ve been missing these moments. I never had moments like these with my pops. I barely know the man. If he walked past me on the street, I wouldn’t know him. That’s messed up, but I thought it was ok. I thought I was fine. I thought I didn’t need him and I wasn’t affected. But, when I found myself doing the same things he did, I knew. That’s when I knew I had to get it together. I may have missed parts of his life, but my little man won’t grow up wondering about where his daddy is. His daddy is right here, and he ain’t going nowhere.
“I love you, daddy.”
And there goes the yawning. I should have sent him to bed long time ago. “You do?”
“Because. You’re my daddy.”
Hmmm, now that’s an interesting concept. He barely knows me but loves me just because I’m his father. That is something for me to consider. “I love you too, kid.
This was sweet. I could stay up all night talking to him, but he needs to sleep. We’ll have to do something in the morning before I take him back home. “Ok, man…you’ve got five more minutes before bed. What do you want to do?”
“Can we look at the stars?”
“Uhhh…sure. If you want.” I know nothing about astronomy. Or, is it astrology? See. Hopefully he knows more about stars than me.
Every step I take, he’s looking at me; I can feel it. It’s true what they say about children watching everything you do. I need to be really careful about what I say and do around him. I want to be a positive influence on him…like Antoine, but more. I’m his father. He’s his uncle. He should be learning from me. But, I’m glad Toine has been there for him his entire life. I had zero positive male figures. Heh…imagine me…a positive role model in someone’s life. It feels kinda good.
“So…how do you like your room?” I hope he likes it. I spent good money on this stuff. “I know it’s not much, but I hope you’re comfortable.”
“It’s great! You remembered the robot I like and everything!”
“Of course I remember. I got you a night light too. You know…to keep the monsters away.”
“You’re funny, daddy. Monsters aren’t real!”
Ha! Ok! That’s kind of a relief. “Oh? You don’t have monsters at your house?”
He has the cutest little laugh. Yep. I used the word cute. It’s definitely time for me to go to bed. “Ok, ok. Just checking. Do you need a story, or say prayers or anything before you go to sleep?”
“Just a hug.”
That I can do.