Otto Phokus CC
If I would have had your baby, you probably would have left me in a year. Or maybe you would have gotten closer to my face when you punched things, like the wall, the trunk of the car, the side of our brick apartment. And I probably would have wanted to stay with you because we had this kid now, this thing that looked like you. I imagine it would have had the color of your eyes since they are so close to my own with just a little green to them. And maybe it would have been a girl and you would have wanted to be good for her, but you just couldn’t. You wanted to go back to school, to make something of yourself and we were holding you back. But you wouldn’t think about how having your baby was holding me back too. You wouldn’t have bought a car seat for your Toyota Avalon. So, I would be doing all the driving, using all my gas with my money from waiting tables. You not working but saying guitar lessons and your music were really going to take off soon.
But I bet your mother would have babysat, she would have helped us because she only had boys and dreamed of having a sweet grandbaby girl. Especially one that looked like her first-born son. What would we have named her? I doubt we would have agreed or come up with something together. You wouldn’t have read any parenting books and I’m not so sure I would have either. Part of me would have been thrilled to have a piece of you inside me forever or at least until it was fully formed and ready to leave. But would you have come to the delivery? I’m betting you would have but maybe still hungover from the night before. There is a good chance we would have been off and on in our relationship. You probably crashing at my apartment when you missed me enough but wandering downtown with people I didn’t know anymore on the other nights.
You would have had a hard time connecting with the baby since you asked me not to have it to begin with, said you would rather kill yourself than become a father. That dark sentence hanging over us in every room we sat in once she was born. And after a few months, you would have taken off for good. Maybe to school, maybe selling drugs out of your grandmother’s trailer, maybe living off your father’s money. And we would have been filling out paperwork for housing and food stamps and trying to find a daycare cheap enough but still safe. And the nights would have been lonely, and I probably wouldn’t have breastfed since no one would have been there to show or support me in trying. And how many years would have gone by before you would show up wanting to see her? Maybe you never did. Maybe you kept off social media and became someone I could no longer find. And even though I wish I had a part of you with me now, at least I knew you once. At least I had that.
Ashton Russell’s work has appeared in the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, X-R-A-Y Lit Mag, Bending Genres, storySouth, and Southeast Review. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.