Home » A Wasted Life » On The Way To A Good Life or So I Thought – Part Two

On The Way To A Good Life or So I Thought – Part Two

J***s’ mama and daddy made the trip to see the new baby, of course.  It was the same routine.  She would sit inside and drink all day and J*** and his daddy would sit outside, telling and listening to the same old stories.
I was feeding N**** and R*** and I were talking.  She asked me if I was doing my “exercises.”  I told her that I thought chasing after three children was pretty good exercise.  She said “I’m talking about down there.  You’ve had all these babies and you don’t want J*** falling in so you have to do your exercises.”  I told her that I had other things to worry about.  She said “you better worry about it.  You want to make sure you give J*** pleasure.” I didn’t even know how to respond to that statement.
She asked me if we were going to have any more and I told her no.  Then she reminded me that I HAD to have a little boy and name him J***.   She said “you keep spitting out all these girls” and J*** has always wanted sons.  I reminded her that the male determined the sex of a child but she said “no….it’s because you’re suffering from that ‘anorexic nervous’ thing.  If you knew how to cook, see, you’d be able to produce a boy.”
I always wished J*** could hear the things she said but I knew that even if he did, he wouldn’t say anything to her about it.  After they left, I told him about the conversation and he just laughed.
I hadn’t bounced back from having N**** as quickly as I had before so I mentioned it to the doctor when I went in for my postpartum checkup.  He wanted to do an ultrasound because he thought I might have some leftover scar tissue that was making me feel bad.  I had the ultrasound and imagine my surprise when I found out that I was pregnant.  My period hadn’t return so this time…..so I knew it was a boy.
I told J*** and said that I knew it was going to be a boy and he said “nah….it’ll be another girl.”
I had decided to remodel our kitchen.  There was a little room and a half bath behind it and I decided to open it up to make the kitchen bigger.  I knocked down the walls, which were those old plaster and lath construction.  I  hauled all of the debris to the curb every trash day and did it all by myself.  I was going to put up wallpaper and pine paneling which was all the rage then.
K**** and B***** had started the first grade and kindergarten.  The age requirements were much younger than they were in the south.  I made all of their dresses and they looked like little dolls.  Occasionally, I would get a note from a teacher, asking if she could have the dresses when my girls outgrew them.
It was shortly after they started school that J*** and I decided that living up there wasn’t the ideal situation for us.  There had been the robbery and I had encountered numerous times when I would be sitting at a red light and some random man would try to get in the car.  When I went to the grocery store, they wouldn’t allow you to take the carts out of the store so every time I went, I had to decide whether to leave my children in the cart or leave the groceries and hope that they would still be there when I pulled the car up to get them.
J*** started looking for another job and found one in D*****.
The paper up there didn’t want him to leave and gave him a raise but he had already made up his mind.
Before he left, we once again had the name dilemma.  Since I knew it was going to be a boy, I knew what was expected.  We argued about it for days and days.  He finally said “you just have to decide whether you love me more than you hate my mama.”  It was indeed food for thought.
He packed up the truck and headed back down south.  I was left behind with three small children and one on the way.  I had no friends or family to help but I was used to it.
He made it and was lucky enough to be able to live rent free, in a woman’s house that she owned but didn’t live in.  He would work all day and then call me at night.  I would get the children to bed and go sit under the wall phone in the kitchen, sometimes until midnight, waiting for him to call.  He would call himself collect and I would tell the operator that he wasn’t in but to give me the number so he could call back.  That was a trick I learned when I worked at the phone company straight out of high school.  I spent all day long waiting until it was time for that phone call.
Over the course of a few months, the calls became less and less frequent.  When I called him, he was impatient and seemed to be disconnected somehow.  I figured he was just busy.
One of the people who J*** had worked with before he left would call me every now and then to see how I was doing.  It was from them that I found out that somebody had stolen the tires off of J***s’ truck one night.  When I asked him why he didn’t tell me, he just said that he guesses he didn’t think about it.
The house had finally sold but it was going to take a while for the couple who bought it to get approved for a mortgage and it was getting close to time for the baby to be born.  My doctor was wonderful and understood my situation.  He asked me if I could get anybody to come help me and he would take the baby while they were there.
I decided to call my mama and ask her if she would come and help me.  She said she would, so there was relief not only for me but for J***.  R*** found out and told me to call my mama and tell her not to come because she was coming up instead.  Reluctantly, I called my mama and told her that R*** was going to come help.
I was putting the finishing touches on the kitchen, which included installing a suspended ceiling and I was only a few panels away from having it finished.
It was Saturday and R*** was arriving mid-day.  The baby was going to be taken on Tuesday so the timing was good.  I picked her up at the train station and we came home.  We got her settled in and I decided to finish the ceiling.  I was up on top of the ladder and she was sitting there, drinking and watching me.  Then she said “there’s a dirty place on the floor.  Didn’t you see it when you were mopping?”  I told her I guess I had missed it.  She continued to sit there, guzzling down her vodka and grapefruit juice and asked me how I could miss something like that.  I lost it.  I looked at her and said “are you going to stay drunk the whole time you’re here because if you are, I don’t need five children to look after.”
It really pissed her off and she said “take me back to the train station right now.”  She didn’t have to ask me twice.  I took her and then came home and called J***.  He yelled “Goddamnit!”  After a few minutes, I realized that he wasn’t mad at her….he was mad at me.  This meant that he was going to have to try to figure out how to get up there.
He managed to get a flight the next day and he wasn’t happy about having to take time off of work so soon.  It was a good thing he made it though because Monday morning I got up to make coffee and my water broke.  We made a mad dash to the hospital.  He dropped me off and then took K**** and B***** to school.  He had N**** to contend with and couldn’t find anybody to watch her.  He finally found somebody who used to work with him and got her handed off.
I was in the delivery room and the doctor kept telling me not to grab for the baby.  I thought he had lost his mind.  How was I going to grab for the baby?  My arms were long, but not that long.  The baby came out and they put it on my belly.  First thing I did?  Grabbed for the baby.
I was right.  It was a boy.  J*** had missed the delivery but came in very shortly after.  I had asked the nurses not to tell him it was a boy because I wanted to see his face when I told him.  When I told him, his reaction was “that’s interesting.”
After all the fights and my determination to not let somebody tell me what I had to do, I named the baby after J*** and we were going to call him J*****.
J*** had to get back to work and in the meantime, R*** had called and said she was coming back up and “wouldn’t do any drinking.”  I said no.
I had decided to have my tubes tied.  I wasn’t going to risk having another baby.  My doctor, again understanding my situation, waited a few days before he did the procedure.  I took K**** and B***** to school and then took J***** and N**** to the hospital with me.  The nurses watched them while I had it done.  They kept me for a few hours and then let me go.  I went and picked up K**** and B***** from school and then went home.  Bloopers and Practical Jokes was going to be on that night and I couldn’t wait.  I got the three girls to bed and then got comfortable on the sofa with J***** on a pillow next to me.  The first blooper was hysterical and I started laughing.  I thought my insides were going to come out so I had to turn the television off.
The young couples’ loan was finally approved and it was time to leave.  J*** had found us a house to rent and I dealt with the movers.  I couldn’t wait for us to be together again.
He was scheduled to arrive late on April 11th,  the same night they were having the Oscars.  I never watched them but thought it would be a good way to pass the time.  My neighbor had agreed to come over and sit with the children long enough for me to go to the airport and get him.
When I picked him up, there was no hug, no kiss, no how are you doing babe, not even how are the kids….he just mumbled something about what a long flight it was.  We got home and as soon as my neighbor left, J*** went upstairs and went to bed.
Something wasn’t right.

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