The knock was brusque.
He opened the door swiftly. “You’re late.” He growled.
“Unavoidable. He wouldn’t go to sleep and you know I cannot come when he is yet awake.” She brushed past him and entered the room.
The scent of her, always fruity and sweet, whiffed and seduced him. “You should have sent a message.” He shut the door with a click. “A word would have reassured me.”
“I thought of doing so. But thought it better to give you my message directly.”
There was something in her voice. A tightness. A weariness.
Wary, he approached her. She evaded his touch and he frowned. “What is this?”
“I cannot do this anymore.” Her voice was rigid. Her eyes, unflinching, held his. “I cannot leave him anymore to come to you.”
Something sank inside of him. Maybe it was his heart. He did not know. “You can’t do this. You know how much I need you.”
“He needs me too.” Defiance shimmied in her eyes. “He needs me more than you do.”
“He has you!” The words bubbled out with the bite of fury. “He has you more hours of the day, more days of the week, than I do.”
“He has a right to me. He has a right to my hours and to my days.”
“And I have no rights?” Incredulity echoed in his voice. “I love you, does that not give me rights?”
“He loves me too. And…” She blinked once and her chin squared resolutely. “And his love is more definite.”
“What?” Shock pushed his feet to stumble back. “You doubt me? You doubt my love for you?”
There was a moment’s pause, where she only looked at him, sadly.
“Your love would not commit. Not to me as long as he is there.” Her voice was quiet, empty of blame or judgment. “Your love is primed with conditions and limited in scope. You love me but you cannot love him.”
“He is not mine to love.”
“But he is mine to love. Mine to protect, to provide for and to care for.” A small smile etched her face. But it was sad. “I thought pleasure was enough. I thought satisfaction, no matter how fleeting, would suffice. But it does not. My heart wants more. My heart wants more for him. For me too.”
“I cannot give you more. If he did not exist…”
“But he does exist. He lives, not just exist. He lives in my heart. He came forth out of me.” She touched her mid-section. “He deserves more. He deserves love.”
“I have tried. But I cannot.” His head drooped. “I want to. But I am unable to love him.”
“I know. I have hoped. I have prayed. But I cannot unmake your choice.”
“It is not a choice.” His head snapped back up and his head rose with his defense. “It is an inability. I just can’t find love in me for him.”
“You can’t find love in you for him because you can’t accept him as your own. That is why.”
“But he is not mine.”
“He could be. But you do not want him.” She backed a step. “I have to go back to him. He will need me should he wake up.”
“I need you now.” He grasped hold of her hand, held on to it. “I love you. With all my heart, I love you.”
“I can only accept the love that extends to him too.” A tear slipped and rolled down her cheek. “I must go.”
“Stay with me. Please.” He wouldn’t let her go. He did not want to. “I could have pretended. I could have lied.”
“And I am thankful that you did not. It is why it was so easy to love you.”
“If you love me, you will stay.”
“Love does not bargain. It does not trade. It does not blackmail. It just loves.” She gently extricated her hand. “You will find another; another without an extra to love. For me, I go back to him who loves me without conditions and who needs me more than all else.”
He watched her walk through the door without a backward glance. When the door shut after her, he sank to his knees and buried his face in his hands.
Why couldn’t she accept what he could only offer?
Why did she have to ask for more?
She approached his bed on silent toes.
His eyes were still closed in sleep. Relief smoothered over her like fresh air.
Why could he not love him, this amazing gift that had sprung from her?
It did not matter. She loved him and that was enough.
She would give him more, because her son deserves more.
Now, I know it’s not just single mothers feeling this bite. Single father’s do too. But we know, and we need to honestly acknowledge this truth, that single mother’s get bitten harder and more often than their male counterparts.
So, my questions are:
* Gentlemen, would you date a single mother and seriously consider marrying her?
* Still on gentlemen, if you dating a single mother is a no-no, why is that?
* Ladies, are you a single mother, how’s that for you and what are your experiences in the dating pool thus far?
* Still on ladies, does a friend or relation of your have an experience you’d like to share?
* Now, ladies and gentlemen, would you encourage your brother, friend or close relative to marry a single mother or do you have a problem with them? If you do, what is that problem?
It’s a big big, ‘humongously’ big talk and I’m going to keep bringing us back to this one. No insults are allowed… mercifully, we’ve never experienced them here. But even in your responses, no insults permitted please. Let’s all be mature about this and know that life’s about choices.