Home > When We Met(2)

When We Met(2)
Author: Shey Stahl

She has no idea what I’m talking about. Smiling, I haul her over the top of me. With little feet scrambling, Sev runs to the bathroom. I’m thankful she’s potty trained because I’m over the diaper days. I hated them.

“Did you flush the toilet?” I ask, helping her up into the bed.

“No.” Of course not. Back in the bed, she sniffs, rubbing her nose. “I can’t breathe.”

Rolling my eyes, I tuck her back in, only to have her toss the blanket off again like it’s a personal insult. “Breathe through your mouth, Sev.”

“I can’t,” she cries again. This drama queen spends a lot of time crying. “My body not work like that.” She sniffs dramatically to prove her point. “I breathe wif my nose.”

The sad part is she honestly believes this. She also thinks she has two throats. One for eating, one for talking. I haven’t corrected her yet.

She holds my hand in hers. “Sleep, Daddy.”

There’s that cute pout I was telling you about.

I sigh because that translates to me sleeping with her, which I do about three nights a week. Never, ever let them sleep in your bed. You’ll never get them out of it. Did that for a year, and I decided they’d taken over every other part of my life, I needed one place I had to myself. My bed. And let me tell you, there hasn’t been a girl in that room in a long time.

You know those parents who say—and I was one of them—that said “oh, I can’t wait until my baby can do more things. They’ll be more independent.” Keep fucking dreaming. It will never happen. Sure, they’re independent in the sense that they sit up without falling over and you don’t have to wipe their ass quite as much, but when they want something, they will pull out that cute pout and make you feel like if you don’t give in, your heart will break in two. Toddlers are the ultimate con artists, and the art of manipulation is a quality they possess.

My advice to anyone thinking of having kids?

Wear a condom.

You are welcome. Best damn advice you’ve ever gotten, huh?

Don’t believe me? Look at my six-foot frame squeezed into the bottom bunk with a poster of Marilyn Manson taped to the top bunk staring down at me. Yep, you heard me right. Marilyn fucking Manson.

“Go to sleep,” I tell Sev when she starts trying to sing in my ear.

“I can’t,” she whispers, her voice a growl. We call it her monster voice, and it’s about as creepy as the poster. “I’m not tired.” Rolling over, she flops half her body on mine. I can feel her eyes on me before the question pops out. “Where did I come from?”

Not this again. I turn my head from the poster to Sev. “We’ve been over this,” I whisper. “From your mom’s tummy.” I shift in the bed, noticing it’s damp. “Is your sippy cup in the bed again?” Those damn cups say leakproof, but they lie. “Your bed is wet.”

Ignoring my question, she asks again, “Why?”

“Why what?”

She sighs as if this is exhausting to her. Welcome to my world, kid. “Why I in her tummy?”

“Because you were.” I run my fingertips over her cheeks, my eyes heavy.

She blinks, bright-eyed. “Why?”

“You’re making me question why I helped you out of your blanket burrito.”

She sighs, rubbing her stuffed up nose. “I haves water?”



As you can tell, “why” is her favorite word. Groaning, I let out an exaggerated sigh. “Because. You’ll pee the bed.”

She smiles, sneaky and kinda creepy. “Too late.”

There I sit, staring at Marilyn Manson, trapped in a pee bed next to a toddler, wondering if I have the strength to get up and change her sheets.

You’re probably wondering how this all happened. I’m not referring to the poster, although that’s a question for another day, but the “single dad with two kids” thing. Where’s the mom?

That’s a long story. I don’t know if I can even put it into words that will make sense, but I’ll try.

She left.

Not what you were looking for? Fair enough. I suppose I can expand. I’ve got time, right?

You’ve heard this story before, more than likely. If not, you’ve been living under a rock, but I’ll give you the short version.

Football star, homecoming queen.

Still not enough? Okay, I’ll continue. He fucking loves her. Falls head over goddamn heels. And they fuck. A lot. She gets pregnant behind the bleachers of the stadium. He forgoes the scholarship he had to play college ball, and she gives birth to a baby girl that fall. The boy? The one who thought his life was over with two pink lines? He falls madly in love with being a dad.

And the girl in this story? She was never “small town” and wanted out of North Texas.

No, this isn’t the start of a country song, though I’m sure somewhere it is.

Because this story, the one of a boy who swore to give that girl he absolutely fucking adored everything she ever wanted, well, he works two jobs and still can’t give her what she wants. It doesn’t end happily ever after. It ends with her ring on the nightstand and my heart in the trash beside it.

Loving each other doesn’t mean a happy marriage. Hating each other doesn’t mean divorce. Liking one another doesn’t mean respect.

See where I’m going with that?

Yeah, me neither. It’s the middle of the night. I can’t think straight. But I can show you how it played out in twenty sentences or less.

I’m pregnant.

Marry Me.

Are we too young?

We can make it.

I do.

I’m so in love with you.

I’ll give you the world.

Why do you work so much?

I do it for you.

Are you happy?

I’m pregnant again.

I love you.

I’m unhappy.

I’m trying.

Loving me shouldn’t be this hard.

It’s not. I just don’t love you anymore.

We can work it out.

I’m leaving.

The end.

She chose to leave, to fall out of love with me. Ready for the brutal part? I let her, and when she left the ring on the nightstand, I did nothing to stop her because there are some heartaches that you’ll never get over. Like girls who give back diamond rings.

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