Life with Apollo was a breeze.
He wasn’t a picky eater. He was polite. He wasn’t the most highly motivated kid, but he was generally happy. And he was a perfectionist, so when he did do things, he did them exceptionally well.
He preferred art to anything else—he took after me that way. He was in love with all things creative, sometimes sitting and staring for hours at the décor spotting our home.
In the meantime, I was having a good time working on my domestic skills.
It wasn’t easy progress, but it was coming along slowly.
The same could be said of my yoga skill. I was working on it a great deal, trying to keep the figure that the insta-lean had given me. And, really, trying to lose a bit more weight. I had a bit of a pudge in my tummy that I’d rather be without—I never again wanted to be accused of being a fat b**** and, though I don’t like that society works this way, men have a tendency to prefer skinnier women. Women, too, seemed to prefer skinnier women. So if I wanted fun of the kind I preferred, it was necessary to be as appealing as possible—I’d rather have a wide variety of candidates for my funtimes.
The effort was paying off. I’m sure you remember Kole, Janelle—for obvious reasons, I’d imagine he’d stick in your mind. But if you remember him from earlier in my story, he was the man who offered me a card to the gym, telling me that I perhaps needed to workout. I didn’t take his invitation at the time, of course. But now, far skinnier and still just as interested in his toned bod, I had arranged to spend a little time with him.
Yes, Janelle, I know I said that I would keep my suitors after the house—I did have a moment, after my tryst with Taryn, when I felt concern for the safety of my precious baby boy. But, just as Apollo was old enough at this point to make decisions and have opinions, so too was he old enough to know not to go off with one of Mommy’s dates. Just as you’ve been trained in that mantra since you were young, so too was he. Life Lesson #6, one you’ve taught all your life: just because someone’s in the house doesn’t mean they’re Mommy’s friends—or yours.
A bit of a red flag—I should have caught it. Kole was clearly interested in being in a relationship with someone, and I… I wanted to be single. I wanted to have options, many options, remain unattached.
We spent a good amount of time sitting on the porch, chatting about all and sundry (but with a generally flirty tone). It was like a whirlwind of flirting and innuendo, so heavily laden with anticipation and promise that it was intoxicating. Soon, he was inviting himself inside. “Why don’t we take this party a bit further,” he offered, and walked through the door.
I followed him, a strange feeling in my stomach. I felt half high from our conversation, but something was wrong. He had only just gotten there, it seemed, and for some reason… I didn’t like that.
When I first had my tryst with Taryn, the sinking feeling in my gut was concern for my baby. But now, it felt different. The concern wasn’t for Apollo, or directed outwardly at all… I couldn’t identify the feeling.
But I knew I didn’t want him in the house.
Don’t get me wrong, Janelle—I loved my dedication to the one night stand. It was fun, it was entertaining, I had a good time with it. And Kole was no different—he was fun. It was fun. But it was also fast. Time seemed to be traveling with unimaginable swiftness, like we had just reconnected an hour ago, and now he was going to take me somewhere to “have fun.”
That was the first time—one of the only times, Janelle—that I questioned my philosophy on life. It felt like the fun wouldn’t be worth the later regret. It felt like the temporary would not outweigh the looks and the gossip I would receive from the rest of the world. It felt like the entertainment I was having now wasn’t going to be worth the cold side of my bed at night.
I knew what the feeling in my stomach was—doubt.
Dammit. It was my mother’s influence. All my mother’s influence.
That woman. She had been so in love with Mommy, so invigorated by her presence, that it was hard not to imagine the same thing for myself.
So, in that moment, standing on the water with Kole, I had to wonder if I might be doing this all wrong. Was I devaluing myself in some way? Was I selling myself short?
The moment I grasped his warm, sweaty-ish palms, my thoughts moved from the bright face of my mothers in love, to the devastated face of my mother, destroyed and broken and beaten down, standing before Mommy’s grave.
I didn’t want that kind of attachment. The temporary fun might not feel worth the empty bed at the moment; but a full bed, I knew, was just as temporary, and it was certainly not worth the utter devastation that would follow.
It was normal to have some doubt, about any decision in life.
I just had to remind myself of my reasons every once in a while.
I followed where he led.
I have this to say of your father, Janelle—he was damn good in the sack.
Oh, don’t “ew” at me. It’s true.
But, just as I had worried, it was a whirlwind. It was fast. And as good as he was, quick isn’t always better.
So, once Kole excused himself, saying he was glad to have a girlfriend again (damn, when’d I agree to that?), I called up Taryn.
I ignored the girlfriend thing—he didn’t really mean it.
And I needed a little slow love. Taryn, lovely woman that she was, was a slow kind of lover. And she knew her way around a woman’s body, if you know what I mean.
Damn, when’d I agree to that???
I resolved to think about it in the morning. Anxious for a bit of relief, I didn’t correct Taryn—instead, I ushered her inside.