What does a girl do when she’s pregnant and she really doesn’t know who the father is? It’s much different today than it was forty years ago. Today, she would need to confirm with DNA tests what everyone already knows, that she has been a Very Loose Girl. In 1977, I did what most girls in my position did, pick the most likely candidate, or the candidate she most wanted to be “the one.” My least likely candidate was a man who had already funded one abortion, he also made it clear that was this was the preferred solution to such a problem. Since abortion was not an option for me, I felt no responsibility to involve him in any way. My most likely candidate was a young man who did not equivocate. He rejected my claim outright and made it clear he would have nothing further to do with me or my progeny. This was fine with me. I was happy to have a “he said/she said” situation that could not ever be resolved. I could hide my shame behind the uncertainty and raise my child as I saw fit with no interference from the other parent or the other parent’s parents. My love and my family’s love would be sufficient for my son. I would make up for the absence of a father. I couldn’t recognize at that point how profoundly sad it is to not know who your father is, or worse, to live half your childhood not knowing the father you have is not yours. For the first two years of his life, Micheal was loved and cared for by my family. It was only the adults involved who understood what it meant that half of his identity was left blank, leaving both Micheal and me in the dark on the subject.
Friday, 9 November 2018
A phone call comes, but it’s one I would never have expected. It’s a nurse at the hospital and she’s calling at my son’s request. She says he wants me to pass along a message to the mother of his youngest son. He’s been stabbed.
The young woman shares this information dryly, with apparently no awareness how shocking, and how shockingly selfish the words sound in my ear.
Yes, she’s tried Brandi’s number a few times and there’s been no answer. He wants Brandi to know he’s been injured, but at this point it appears he will be okay.
I’m assuming this means that the situation isn’t dire, his wounds aren’t considered lethal. How many stab wounds, I wonder. The nurse reports five all together. Micheal’s spleen and kidney have been lacerated, but at this point the doctor doesn’t think surgery will be necessary. If the bleeding stops, his organs will heal on their own. He will stay at the hospital for a couple of days so they can monitor the bleeding in his kidney and he can receive the antibiotics he needs intravenously. Would I pass the message along to Brandi? Sure, I say. I’ll let her know.
Fuck no, I won’t. The last thing I want is for Micheal and Brandi to reunite.
I’m at the hospital in fifteen minutes. A member of the staff guides me to his cubicle in the Emergency Room. He’s conscious, but he clearly has a drug in his system and it’s making him sleepy and dull-witted. There are two nurses in the room and they confirm he’s had pain medication. He didn’t come into the hospital this way. I can see his wounds. They aren’t actively bleeding, just oozing a bit. The knife must have been narrow, the wounds are not wide. One of the nurses points to a gash on his upper arm. It’s about four inches long and deep enough for the fatty tissue to be exposed. That one will get stitches, the nurses inform me, the others, staples. They begin to clean the wounds before they close them up. The wound on his arm has sliced through a tattoo. I wonder to myself if they will be able to keep the two halves aligned.
I ask Micheal how it happened. He says he doesn’t know. Someone just jumped him and started stabbing. But, why, I ask. He doesn’t know. He doesn’t know who it was.
How can this be?
How often does it happen that a man unknown to you suddenly attacks you with a knife?
Micheal shrugs drunkenly and tells me he doesn’t know how often it happens, but it just happened to him.
Right. Sure, it did.
The nurses are about to sew him up. I tell him I’ll come back
later, when they have him stapled and sewn and put in a room. At home, my head
whirls in disbelief. What could this possibly be about? Whatever it is, it’s
very bad. It scares me. What scares me most of all is the fact I have no idea
who my son is anymore. I’m afraid for him. I’m afraid for me. I’m afraid of
what I’m thinking and what he might be capable of. I am too afraid to go back
to the hospital to face the possibility he may now be a violent, maybe even a
The phone rings. It’s Micheal’s voice, trembling, like a little boy’s. He sounds scared. “Mom,” he says, “are you coming out?”