He lowered his tone to almost at a whisper. “He’s waking up now. Okay, I’ll let him know. Love you, be safe.”
Swallowing back tears, I whispered, “I love you too, Jeremy.” He ended the call.
After a quiet dinner with my mother, I hibernated back into the bedroom. I felt extremely bad. I knew she was trying, but it was so hard for me to try back. I couldn’t laugh at her jokes or engage in conversation. I was too distracted. My mind would wander off when she began to talk. I thought of Jeremy and how he was handling Marcus. I also wondered if Marcus was drunk at this very moment.
Before me, he didn’t know how to handle his emotions, so he poured it into drinking. Then when he met me, he poured it into sex. Now that he doesn’t have me, did he go back to drinking, or was he still pouring it into sex but with others? That thought upset my stomach.
I sat on the bed, my back leaning against the wall, my knees up against my chest. I knew I shouldn’t do it; I knew that I’d just be setting myself up for another night of full-blown tears, but I couldn’t help it. Placing the phone on top of the pillow, I laid my head next to it, and lowering the volume, I heard his voice through the speaker as I listened to his messages.
The first message was right after I left him. “Mia, please come back. We need to talk, please, don’t drive alone upset…please call me. I love you so much.” He choked on the last sentence.
“Mia, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I wish I could go back and change everything. I wish I could make it better. I know I fucked up … please call me back. I love you.”
“I know you don’t want to speak with me … I completely understand … but please let me know you’re okay. I can wait till you’re ready to speak to me. Just please send me a text. I have to know you’re safe. Please don’t shut me out. I love you so much, Mia. Please. I’m begging.”
The next few were similar with him apologizing and pouring out his love for me. Listening to his broken voice made my heart ache. The most recent message was not long ago. I left my phone in the room after speaking with Jeremy. Marcus called during dinner. He called after Jeremy told him that we spoke.
He spoke in a low tone. His words broke my heart as I heard the sadness in his voice. “I spoke to Jeremy … He said he’d talked to you. I’m relieved you’re safe. I thought maybe something might have happened to you …” He paused and continued in a raspy, out-of-order tone. “Mia, I know you hate me. I know there’s nothing I can do to change that. I just want you to know that you and our peanut mean everything in this world to me. Without you, I’m nothing. I will always be here for you, no matter what, and I know it’s best the two of you stay away from me …” I cried along with him on the last sentence. “Make sure to tell our baby that his father loves him every day of his life, just like I will always love you every single day.” The call ended.
Burying my face into the pillow, I sobbed in soft, painful screams.
I have to tell him.
After listening to that message for the hundredth time, I worked up the courage to send Marcus a text message over two weeks later. I told him that I needed to talk to him and to meet me at a coffee shop near the university.
A public place should prevent us from breaking down hopefully. A week ago my mother picked up my vehicle from the hospital parking lot. Still not having the courage to go home, I decided to stay with her until today. Packing the few things I had left, she sat on the bed and watched me load my small duffel bag. She looked sad that I’d be going back home.
“Sara, thank you again for all of this … you know you’re welcome to stop by my place anytime.” I wanted her to know that just because I was leaving didn’t mean it was the last she’d see of me.
“I know … hey my niece, well your cousin, will be moving here from Philly. She’ll be staying with me awhile until she can find a job and get herself situated. She’s close to your age. Maybe we can all go out for dinner, and you can show us around?”
I softly smiled. “Yeah, that sounds nice.” Not really. Don’t get me wrong. I was looking forward to slowly meeting my mother’s side of the family, but I didn’t want her to meet me while I was in this state of mind. I still needed time mentally before I could get back to being me. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be me again. Only time would tell. After placing the bag in the trunk of my car, I hugged and thanked her again.
When I pulled into a parking spot, my stomach fluttered with butterflies in anticipation. Then when I got there, I didn’t think I could do this. I’d wanted this in a public place because I was afraid of how I would react when I saw him in person. Now I was afraid that I’d collapse in front of everyone. He had a right to know, and he deserved to be told in person. Taking a long deep breath, I exited the car, and in a slow steady pace, I made my way to the café. Arriving a half hour early hoping to sit and wait for him, I stopped in my tracks when I saw him through the glass wall. He was already there.
Biting my lip, I studied him; he hadn’t noticed me. It had been over two weeks, and from this distance he seemed slimmer. His hair was a mess, though an adorable mess. He wore jeans and a navy blue fitted shirt. His hands were folded together on top of the small table…he stared down at them while his leg nervously bounced.
Running his hand through his hair, he began to mumble something then spread his hands as if speaking with someone sitting in front of him. No one was there. Shaking his head, he sank his face into his hands. Both legs were bouncing now.
At that moment, I was going to turn around and walk away, but after rubbing his face, he looked my way. His entire body froze when he laid eyes on me. His lips parted and eyebrows creased. I tried to swallow a few times, but my throat was too dry. He slowly brought his arms down to the table, and his eyes remained locked with mine. Looking down, I broke from his stare. Unhurriedly I made my way through the glass door and to him.
The entire few seconds it took me to finally reach him I thought of how I should greet him. Do I kiss him or hug him? Either way it would feel awkward, or was I more afraid that once I hugged him, I wouldn’t let go?
I took the easy way out and just slid in the seat across from him. Not bringing my eyes to his, I waited as we sat in silence. The leg bouncing had stopped, and I watched as his hands and fingers spread and pressed down on the table. His fingernails turned white with the pressure. It was like he was keeping them from reaching out. He cleared his throat before speaking, and even though the familiar sound of his low deep voice pulled me in, I kept my eyes down. “Hi,” was all he said. It was short, yet there was so much more behind it.