Janie: “Maybe this wasn’t the best idea…”
Janie: “But you’re just so freaking cute! My little Janie B.”
Janie: “Come here you.”
I won’t try to justify it to you, B. This isn’t something that I confess to you easily. Yes, I adopted you on a… whim, of sorts. With the intention of using you to test the commitment of my lover.
But to me, it made sense! A pregnancy was what had brought my mother and father together, sealed the deal on their horrible relationship, because my father felt obligated to stay. It was his child, after all. But this time—there was no obligation. B, you were my own choice. And if Candy was willing to stay with me through the inevitable trial that raising a child would be… then she would be willing to stay through anything. Of that I was almost entirely certain.
Janie: “Such an adorable little baby!”
Not to mention, you were the cutest thing I’d ever seen. You weren’t entirely a whim, after all. I’d always wanted children, somewhere in the back of my mind, though it’d never been a priority. And, now that I was with a woman, I was unlikely to have any biological children of my own. So I would have adopted sooner later; so why not now? Why not you, B?
Janie: “So cute. Yes you are! Yes you are!”
For a few days, I kept my distance from Candy. I knew that if I saw her again, I’d get immediately swept up in the glow of her eyes and the brightness of her smile, and I’d be lost. And we’d probably be WooHooing in a closet (or a bush…) again. (Oh, don’t roll your eyes at me, B. You can’t pretend you don’t know that your mother and I were sexually active).
In the meantime, I got in some quality time with my adorable new baby girl.
Janie: “You like that, sweet girl? It’s a lullaby, just for you.”
Janie B: “Goooo!”
Janie: “Such a good baby.”
You were a good baby, speaking of, Miss B. You hardly ever slept through the night. But while I was puttering around the kitchen in the morning, or working on my violin in the afternoon, you hardly ever disturbed me. Hardly ever cried. It might not be what others would have preferred, but it worked for me.
A few more days passed, and I still hadn’t called Candy. When it came down to it, I realized, I was nervous. I was scared, actually. At this point, I was rather attached to you, B. You were so adorable, and something about your presence had awoken all of my maternal instincts (not to mention that it had cost 1,000 simoleons to adopt you, and I wasn’t about to let that money got to waste—the inheritance my mother had left me was dwindling as it was).
Long story short, I was not eager to give you up. And I wouldn’t! That was the point, after all—that Candy would have to choose between me and baby, or no me. But, at the same time, I wasn’t at all ready to lose Candy either. Even the memory of her laughs—that bright giggle, the fuller chuckle, the raucous hilarity—was enough to make my will soft and my knees weak.
But, at some point, I just couldn’t put it off any longer. I had a baby. There was no way around it. She would find out eventually, and I’d rather it be now (honestly, it had less to do with a strength of gumption, and more to do with the fact that I missed her desperately).
Janie: “Hey, Candy. You wanna come over?”
She replied eagerly, with something near to relief.
Candy: “Yeah, of course. I was worried when you didn’t call.”
I wanted to get off the phone—the longer I talked, the more likely it would be that I broke the news when I could still hang up (ie. run away). I knew I couldn’t do that for this conversation. The point was to see if she would run away, after all.
Janie: “I’ve been busy.”
Candy: “No worries.”
Her voice was cheery (I can hardly imagine a time when that woman wasn’t cheerful).
Candy: “I’ll be right over.”
Candy: “Hey! I’ve missed you!”
She reached in for a hug. I dodged it, feeling itchy in my own skin. This had been a mistake. What was I thinking? It was like I was trying to push her away.
You just have to get it over with, Janie. I told myself.
Janie: “Wanna come upstairs?”
Candy gave me a sly grin.
Candy: “Oh, you’re in that kind of mood, huh? Lead the way!”
Candy: “What’ve you got there, Janie? I thought we were going to bed?”
I held you tight to my chest, working up the nerve to turn around.
Janie: “Well… I didn’t exactly ask you up here so we could WooHoo. I… actually have something to tell you.”
I took a breath. A long, deep breath.
Janie: “This is my daughter. Janie B.”
She looked at me with an inscrutable sort of look on her face.
Candy: “How long have you had a daughter?”
Janie: “A… a week or so. The adoption just went through.”
Candy: “So that’s what you’ve been busy with…”
Candy: “Why didn’t you tell me?”
I knew what she meant, but I didn’t want to answer the question.
Candy: “Why didn’t you tell me you were thinking about this? I just… we’ve gotten so close, I figured that you would at least mention it…”
Janie: “It was—it was kind of a sudden thing.”
I still had you cradled in my arms, facing the wall, occasionally turning back to peek at Candy over my shoulder. But, after I said this last line… I heard nothing.
I turned around. She was not longer standing there.
Candy: “I just need some time to think about this, Janie. Give me some time.”
She walked out the door.
Oh. Well. That hadn’t gone like I had hoped. Far, far from it.
With you still in my arms, I refused to cry. I refused to make a noise in opposition. This was what I had wanted—to make sure that this kind of thing wouldn’t happen later on, after I had gotten too attached. After we had become like my mother and father, where I would do anything to make her happy, just so that she wouldn’t go.
With burning eyes, I put you to bed. I went to bed myself. When you’re hiding within the darkness of your bedcovers, it’s a lot easier to show emotion. I was ready to let it all out.
As I laid there and cried, I realized the extent of my mistake. I didn’t want Candy to leave once I had gotten attached. But I had already gotten attached. I loved that woman, no matter how much I didn’t want to acknowledge it.
What a horrible time to realize that, huh?
I slept lightly, my mind lost in misery and an ear listening to your breathing, waiting for you to stir.
Around three in the morning, I woke out of habit. Like clockwork, this was the time that you would wake up every single night, wanting a bottle and a diaper change. My body was used to it by now.
My eyes slid open.
But you weren’t crying. For a moment, I almost panicked. You weren’t crying. What if something was wrong?? Then, I registered what my eyes were seeing. A dark figure, looming over my baby’s crib.
Not recognizing the figure, I launched myself at them with a battle cry. They were NOT going to get MY baby!
When the figure’s body made contact with the wall with a loud thump, when I heard their breath knocked out of them, I finally took a moment to open my eyes fully.
Oh, Creator. No. It was Candy.
What I should have done? Apologize. What I did instead?
Janie: “WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH YOU??”
I screamed it, disregarding the fact that the noise had woken you up and you were now whimpering.
Candy seemed surprised at first, then angry.
Candy: “What do you mean, what’s wrong with me? The baby was crying! I was helping the baby!”
Janie: “BUT YOU LEFT! Why would you come into my house in the middle of the night? Who DOES that?!”
Candy: “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I never left! I was downstairs!”
That stopped me in my tracks.
Janie: “You didn’t leave?”
Candy: “No! I didn’t. But I certainly am now.”
For the second time that night, Candy walked out the door.
I stood there for a moment, frozen in indecision.
Janie: “No! Candy, wait!”
I bolted after her.