Father

She sits staring at the tiles on the floor. I can’t tell if she’s counting them, but I can see her mind working as she stares straight downward. How many times have I been here, with anyone else but her? I get the feeling she could tell me.

I had a couple close calls, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Two of the other girls have disappeared. I don’t even know if I have a son or daughter out there, looking at pictures of their old man. Do their mothers tell them I’m dead? Will they be in for a shock if they see me walking the streets one day? Do they know they have a father at all?

Will this one?

I follow her gaze to the floor of the doctor’s office and find myself staring to a place far away as well. Perhaps I really do follow her gaze as far as it seems to go. I can smell the lavender soap and feel the tickle of the bubbles as the little girl, no, young woman, washes my chest. She looks up at me with those big green eyes and I can see the feeling inside them. Sometimes, I wish that I could return that feeling.

The doctor enters the room and I can see his faded brown shoes that don’t seem to quite match. Alice looks up from her reverie and at the older man. Is that a little flirt in her eyes? Maybe she thinks he can take it away. God knows I can’t.

The doctor looks expectant at me, like he wants me to leave. I look at Alice and I don’t quite know what she wants. She’s the only one who can tell me to leave. In fact, I think I’ll just stay put.

I cross my arms stubbornly and watch as the doctor shrugs and guides my girl into the hallway. They apparently really didn’t want me, specifically, to hear the results.

After a while, Alice walks back in, sans doctor, and puts on her coat. She’s silent.

I guess she wants to go now, and I can only assume that I’ll be filled in on the way home. She just needs some time to think before she tells me. Yeah, that’s it.

I go and we pay the copayment at the front desk. She stays silent the whole time. I think that she expects me to pay now. After all, it was my fault. Hell, my credit card statement could tell you… It’s always my fault.

She looks at me when I sit behind the wheel, and I can see her lightly fingering the fabric of her shirt. She flicks a button with her fingernail, just above her belly button.

I’m not ready. I’m not ready to be a dad.

At least not a real dad.

The car heavily throws itself back in the parking lot and I dash onto the road. I’m glad it’s only ten on a Wednesday morning. Otherwise, there would certainly be more traffic.

I push the pedal harder and we speed up. We’re almost speeding. I can’t afford a ticket, but there aren’t any cops around. We live far enough from town that there never are.

I return to that girl, with her green eyes blinking up at me in the shower. I return to that moment when I know that I’m loved by more than one, both in the same way; that moment when I realize that I love more than one, each in the same way. I chose seniority. Alice had been there longer. Now, however…
Maybe I was wrong.

I’m not ready to be a dad.

The tires screech and I can hear a scream. I don’t know if it came from Alice or my Green eyed girl, but it hurts just hearing it. I look up from my reverie and I can see the crisp sky. That’s odd. The sky isn’t usually straight ahead and beneath me.

And here I was, expecting a road beneath my tires…

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