“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Romans 7:24
When it rains, it pours. Life was no longer good to us…and I accepted all responsibility for it. As a result of my sinful ways, Adalyn did decide to leave and take Aiden with her. I sensed very strongly that she may have wanted to leave, but I never imagined even for a second that she would take my child…my heir…the only good thing I had ever done with my life! My son was a constant reminder that life wasn’t always trouble. Sometimes life was beautiful.
She stormed upstairs to start packing.
“ADALYN!!! PLEASE!!! LISTEN TO ME!!! I BEG YOU!!! PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY SON!!!”
“Your son,” she said as she came toward me slowly with her arms folded. “Oh, so now you care about our son?”
She was daring me.
“Now you love him and can’t live without him? That’s a real good act, Donovan, ‘cuz I remember when you didn’t want him,” she screamed and turned from me wringing her hands in the air.
“So…what…you had a change of heart now,” she said as she came back and was all up in my face. “Did you find Jesus? Did He turn your life around? Huh?!”
She walked away again and was pacing the floor.
“I don’t buy it! We are leaving you, and you better not stop us.”
Her words penetrated my soul like a scalpel. Had she not even noticed that I had grown to love Aiden dearly? Or, was this some sort of blackmailish ploy to keep me from stopping them? Whatever it was, I was at a loss for words, and all I could do was stand there and watch her pack. As she closed her last suit case, she picked it up and opened the door.
“Cheer up, ol’ boy. You have a new son now,” she said sarcastically and headed downstairs to collect Aiden.
I was still speechless and so heartbroken that I couldn’t even go after her. Well, not until heard that clamor from downstairs.
“What’s going on down there,” I asked from the top of the stairs.
I heard screaming and crying, and so I bolted downstairs.
“Oh no,” I whispered. “Not now!”
I saw Ava pleading for Avery’s life, Aiden just stood there over Avery’s lifeless body shaking his head, and poor Joy…she was just soo stunned she just stood there looking at Grim.
Apparently, Adalyn went to the nursery to get some of Aiden’s things when the children got off the bus and walked in on Grim taking Avery. Poor Aiden walked in first. This was his first experience with death, and he did not take it well at all. As a matter of fact, he took it worse than Ava did.
Adalyn and I were left to pick up the pieces of the broken little family and our broken son. It was like we were running on a program or something. I made sure everyone had food to eat, and she kept Joy and Ava’s spirits up as much as she could.
One very late night after our “shift” was over, we were both cleaning up the kitchen. She had something on her mind.
“Hey…I just want you to know that this doesn’t change anything. I’m still leaving. Now is just not the time.”
I opened my mouth to try and say something comforting or apologetic, but she wouldn’t let it come out. She just shook her head and went upstairs.
Ever since the fight, Adalyn started a rigorous workout routine. She had always exercised regularly, but now she exercised ALL the time. She even took on a full time job! Man, had I created that much stress in her life that she needed to begin channeling it in healthy ways? She never wanted to be around me unless we were doing something for Joy, Ava, and Aiden. Other than that, she was working out or learning programming for her job.
Her birthday came around, and she didn’t even allow me to celebrate with her. She was making her intentions very clear!
Between the sadness from witnessing death and our marital problems, poor Aiden was not doing well at all.
“Daddy? Are you and mommy going to die too?”
“No, son. Not for a very very long time.”
“Does mommy hate me?”
“No, son! Mommy loves you very much. Why would you think that?”
“She’s always angry. And she always says ‘not now’ when I talk to her.”
That really hurt me. I wasn’t mad at her for yelling at our son. I was upset with myself for causing this much damage to my family.
“Look, son, mommy is not mad at you. She’s mad at me. I did something really bad that made mommy really really really angry. Do you remember how you feel when I tear down the castle and you’re mad at me for a while?”
“Think of it like that, but 100 times worse.”
“What did you do, daddy?”
“Well, I…you’re too young to understand right now, but I promise to explain when you’re older. But, listen, no matter how bad things get…no matter what happens to us…I just want you to know that I love you and I will always be there for you. Will you remember that?”
I wish I could erase the events of the next day. But, because things always go from bad to worst in our house, I should not have been surprised. Shortly after dinner, there was a knock on the door.
“Just a minute,” I yelled from the kitchen.
“Umm…hi…can I help you, son?”
“Not really. I just wanted to say hi.”
Weird kid. But there was something familiar about him.
“Ok…ummm, are you here to see Aiden?”
“My son. What’s your name? I think I should call your parents.”
“Oh cool! I have a brother!”
If I weren’t soo fat I would have toppled over like a wet noodle.
“Yep! Hi, dad,”he said as he attacked me with a bear hug.
He looked exactly like his mother! Exactly!
“Wow…ummm…I need to sit down for a minute….”
“Thaddeus, does your mother know you’re here?”
“Yep. She didn’t want me to come, but I begged her an begged her.”
“Oh…I see. So…how is she?”
“She’s ok I guess.”
“That’s good. That’s good. So…how much do you know about, ummm…our situation?”
“My mom says that you and her were really really good friends long time ago before you had me but you didn’t know she was having me and so that’s why you don’t live with us”
Geez! Did she tell this kid the WHOLE story?? She must still be mad.
“Ok! That’s quite a bit of information there, son. So…are you ok with that?”
“Sure. I guess. Hey! Can you take a picture of us with your phone?”
“Uhhh, sure, I guess.”
Who is this kid and where the heck did he come from??
“Hi daddy! Who’s this?”
“Hey Aiden…this is umm, well…he’s–“
“I’m your brother!”
“I have a brother? Cool!”
Little boys. I envied their innocence. But the envy had to wait.
“Aiden…come inside and finish your…who’s little boy is this?”
“He’s my dad!”
Why did this kid keep interrupting me and talking out of turn…embarrassing me?! I see Mabel was not teaching him ANY manners. At first Adalyn was shocked, and I saw a sliver of vulnerability and pain in her eyes. I wanted to hug her, but she quickly recoiled and went on the attack.
“Ohhh! So this is your bastard, huh?”
“Mommy, what’s a bastard?”
“Hush up, Aiden! And didn’t I tell you to go inside and finish your homework? So…what’s your name, bastard?”
“Adalyn! That’s enough! He’s a child! He doesn’t have anything to do with this!”
“Wow! Did he just…seriously, Donovan? I am your WIFE! Did you seriously just take sides with this BASTARD??”
“Adalyn, please! You’re not thinking rationally! Be mad at me! He didn’t ask to be part of this! Don’t go calling him names.”
“Oh, brother please. You know…I can’t even…this is not worth my time. Aiden, INSIDE!”
And with that she left and went upstairs and hit the treadmill…again. She worked out all night.
I let the boys talk for a little while and then sent Thaddeus home.
They had only just met, but they were already good friends. I suppose no matter the relation, family is family, huh?
I was concerned about Adalyn, but I didn’t dare check on her. Contrary to popular belief, even I know that exercise is good for you, but there is a limit–especially old people. When I came upstairs to turn in for the night, she was still at it. As I lay in bed wishing for the Sandman to join me, all I heard was the squeaking and clanging of gym equipment. Tears rolled down my face as I seriously repented for my sins for the first time since this whole ordeal began with the first lustful glance at Adalyn. All of this was my fault!
Somehow, sleep found its way into my bed and I drifted. When I woke up to pee, I found her still out there, but not exercising.
I woke up the entire house with my wailing.
I killed my wife! I didn’t murder her, but I killed her. This was my punishment. This was the sentence I had to carry out. I could not believe that I drove my wife to push herself so hard that she would override all the signs in her body that was telling her to stop. I did this! I am cursed. I know now that I will not make it into heaven. There is no room up there for jerks like me.