“Four months later, when I went home to visit my mom, I got a knock at the door one night. She was strung out and looking for money, and she had a belly, the rest of her was bones, but that belly stuck out. If there was ever a time I’d ever wanted to hit a woman, that was it. My mom saved her. She made her come in, cleaned her up, fed her, and called a friend who helped us get her into rehab that night. She cursed and screamed at us to leave her the fuck alone, but that was my kid she was messing up. I didn’t give a shit what happened to her, but that baby didn’t deserve to be born to a junkie mom and an absent dad. I made a deal with her that if she stayed in rehab, got clean long enough for the baby to be born, that I would take care of everything else. She agreed, but only if I made myself scarce. She didn’t want to see me or hear from me until she gave birth.”
Dukes finally said something. “I think I know where this is going, but you need to finish, purge this shit from your system, Sonny.”
Getting up, I started to pace. “I crawled into the bottle and stayed there ‘til he was born. It dulled the pain and helped me not to face the fucking mess my life was. That day in the hospital when they placed my son in my arms, my life changed. He was perfect, Dukes. He didn’t give a fuck that I was a screwed up ex-marine or that his mom was a junkie whore. When I left the hospital that day, I went to an AA meeting. I was determined to be a better man for my son.”
“And Kelsey?” he asked.
I laughed bitterly. “She had other ideas. She played the new mom role ‘til she was discharged. I walked beside her wheelchair down to the car where her married friends were waiting with a car seat and a bag full of new baby clothes. She gave me a hospital card with an address written on the back where she and the baby would be living. I’d given her money for the first and last month’s rent when she brought me the papers. She had gotten a job at a local daycare where she could bring the baby to work with her. It didn’t pay much but having the baby with her was worth it, and I was going to be there to pick up the slack financially. But it was all a fucking lie!”
My fist flashed out, hitting the wall with a sickening thud. I heard my knuckle crack and knew I’d broken it, but I didn’t care. “She lied about all of it, and when she drove away in that truck, it was the last time I saw her and him. I went to the apartment that never heard of her, the daycare that looked at me like a crazy man, the couple who didn’t exist in any database in the country. My sponsor kept me sane, coming home to the club gave me purpose. I hired the PIs and did what I could to find them, but I didn’t let it consume me. I was afraid of falling into that deep, dark pit and not being able to claw my way out again. I wanted my son to know that his ol’ man was more than a broken down, drunk ex-soldier.”