3k: Friction

3k (1)
Apollo “She just has so many friends, Seamus.” / B *in the distance* “APOLLO! BREAKFAST!”
3k (7)
Apollo “I met your friend last night.” / B “That’s nice. Did you do your homework?”
3k (8)
Apollo “No.”
3k (10)
Apollo “Can I have an allowance?”
3k (9)
B “Will you work for it?”
3k (11)
Apollo “Sure.”

A strange tension had been building between Apollo and I. I didn’t quite understand it—it didn’t seem to have any reason or cause, but, all of sudden, he was distant instead of warm. He was curt instead of vocal. He talked very little about art or creativity or anything he loved, and the things he did do were of far less quality than usual—it was as if he didn’t care if they were good quality.

It worried me.

3k (17)
B “Is everything alright, love?” / Apollo “When does that baby get here?”

He had also become strangely… random. I’d ask him a question, and he’d answer irrelevantly. We’d be in the middle of a conversation, and he’d change the topic.

I don’t know when it started, so I had no idea as to what the cause could be.

And, honestly, I wasn’t in the mood to investigate. I was pregnant, as Apollo suggested—my whirlwind tryst with Kole had resulted in yet another unexpected pregnancy. So I was spending my time preparing myself, centering myself.

3k (18)
Apollo “Mum, can I talk to you?” / B “Not now, darling.”

And when I wasn’t actively centering myself, I was desperately wishing for a solid center.

3k (21)
B “Oh, Creator.”
3k (22)
B “UGH.”

It wasn’t ideal, and I could tell that it wasn’t doing anything good for my relationship with Apollo.

But he was old enough to handle it. He didn’t need me to coddle him; if something was bothering him, he would eventually tell me, or he would let it go. I wasn’t going to play detective for him.

In the meantime, when he did tell me things, I tried to abide by them. So when he asked for an allowance, I was glad to provide him with a way to earn it.

3k (24)
B “Hey there, little kid, you shouldn’t be here. This place is a little too adult for someone your age.”
3k (25)
B “So, what do you think, Apollo? You ready to help me run the shop?”

Apollo was mature for his age. He could take it.

Or so I thought.

“MUM!” He practically screamed at me, before storming out the door.

Well then. I guess he didn’t want the allowance.

3k (31)
B “Oh, yes, the mattress is quite bouncy. Your wife—oh, pardon me, your mistress—will love it.”
3k (35)
Apollo “I can’t believe Mum brought me there. Does she think I want another baby? I know that’s where babies come from… Don’t want the one already in her belly, why would I want another one.”

I just didn’t understand.

3k (14)
B “Apollo, please, just tell me what’s wrong!”
3k (15)
Apollo “Ummm…. Ummm…. Why don’t I have a dad?! (I guess that’s a good enough distraction).”

Oh. Oh goodness.

How was I to respond to that?

3k (17)
B “…” / Apollo “All my friends at school have mums and dads, and you just have friends, and why aren’t any of them my dad?”

I didn’t have anything to say.

What was there to say? It wasn’t like there was any real reason that Apollo didn’t have a dad, that I didn’t have a boyfriend or a husband. Well, I mean, I had a real reason, several of them, in fact. But nothing that could be explained to a child. Can you imagine that conversation?

“I don’t believe in marriage.”

“So it’s your fault.”

“I want the fun of intimacy, without the commitment of a permanent partner.”

“What’s intimacy?”

“Love only leads to disappointment.”

“Does that mean that you don’t love me?”

There was no way that little Apollo, as mature as I liked to see him, would understand the difference between loving another adult as a life partner, and loving him as my child. The two were wildly different.

The most important distinction?

Apollo was far less likely to leave.

I didn’t know what to do, Janelle. Clearly, Apollo and I had a dilemma on our hands. He wanted a father, or so he said, and I wanted partners and would not, as far as I could see, ever have a life partner, much less husband.

He would just have to make do with my boyfriend… or my girlfriend. Or whatever they were. Taryn and Kole, on their own, seemed to have decided our relationship status, so there was no reason I couldn’t take advantage of that. Maybe Apollo would like to meet them (or, maybe, just one of them. Kole, I supposed. If he was confused about not having a mum and a dad, he would probably be more confused by having a mum and a not-dad and a not-mom).

3k (6)
B “Apollo, honey? I know you’re confused about not having a dad. Mommy has a lot of people in her life. But, if you like, you could meet one of them? He’s the one who helped me make your little sibling in here.”
3k (4)
Apollo “WHY WOULD SHE THINK I WANT TO MEET THE ONE WHO HELPED HER MAKE THAT STUPID BABY?!”

He didn’t seem to like that idea…

I was at a complete loss, Janelle.

A complete and total loss.

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