narrated by: Erin
Colin wasn’t very subtle about his feelings upon learning that Mallory was indeed a girl. I thought he would get over it once he got to hold her, but he’s never been one for babies, and Mallory is no exception.
I’m still on maternity leave, so I use the kids as my distraction as I await Mallory’s first birthday in ten more months. I am hopeful that by then, or at least after that point, that Colin will have grown more attached with Mallory. Logan keeps me busy, he’s three but since his sister was born, has seemed to regress to baby behavior.
Some days I invite Lorelei over to keep me company. It also gives me the opportunity to see how things are going at work, since Marshal won’t tell me anything about the testing phase of our new game. He wants me to enjoy this babymoon phase, that he’s making me crazy. He doesn’t understand that I need distractions to keep my mind busy.
Marshal doesn’t want to wait too long to start a family, and Lorelei has been using my kids to acquaint herself with the basics of childcare. She did babysit her nieces when they were toddlers, but it’s been a long time. She’s afraid that they’ll have a baby and she will be a lousy Mom while Marshal will take naturally to parenting. As long as she engages more than Colin, I told her she will be fine.
One afternoon that she was over practicing burping on Mallory, my sister Bethany called to say she was in town and on her way over. I haven’t seen her since I was in college, and I did not expect to be seeing her anytime soon. It’s not been in the budget to go back to Indiana to visit family, and it never occurred to me that she would want to come out to Washington.
Naturally she didn’t plan her trip with me in advance, so I had to call Colin at work to give him a heads up that she was staying with us for an unknown length of time. He’s never met any of my family, which thinking back on isn’t the most fair.
When Bethany arrived she went straight for the kids, gushing about how she’d never been an aunt before. Then we settled down to talk while I fed Mallory. She updated me on the journey of getting her masters degree and traveling overseas, all which Mom and Dad helped pay for, and about all of her grand adventures and great loves.
When she finished her soliloquy she started on me. Bethany doesn’t ask how things are going, she tells you how they are going, whether it’s her life or your own. So she jumped right in about how it wasn’t right to raise kids in an apartment without a lawn. We don’t even have a park at our complex to snap back with.
“Don’t you want to be married? Have a traditional family, in a house, with a dog or something for the kids?”
Growing up, she had always gotten the spotlight, more talented, and the more fun Louie sister. Most of the time, I feel that I’ve grown accustomed to her, but this was salt in the wound. I’ve been unhappy dwelling in the apartment since Logan could walk, and it’s no secret that Colin wants none of this life that has been thrown in his lap, though he complains less than he did.
I handed her Mallory to have the excuse to check on Logan, and take a break from her idea of catching up.
I tried to prepare Colin about Bethany’s personality, but nothing can quite prepare you for her. As soon as he got home from Chris’ place, she started harping him for not marrying her big sister and getting a real job besides filling gas tanks. He tried rebutting that he had just gotten back from a meeting with Chris where they are opening their own auto mechanic shop. She interrupted him with a simple, “that’s a nice dream but what about a real job?”
She also had some statistic that most businesses don’t make it past the first year, which Colin didn’t take to hearing very well. Instead of getting angry, he just shut down, slouching his shoulders and staring out the window behind her head.
It’s not Bethany’s fault, even though the fight started because of everything she had said. If I were to be honest with myself, my unhappiness had started many moons ago, it was only Bethany that made them hard to ignore. So when Colin started getting pissy about her staying with us, I lost it on him.
When he got defensive about our home, I told him that I hated it, living in a two bedroom house, and two cribs crammed into a tiny bedroom. I emphasized on the word hate to make sure he understood that I was serious, and the fight exploded from Bethany to us.
Colin accused me of hating him for making less money than me, and then how I probably slept with my boss Marshal to get ahead back when he was insecure over him. I don’t usually engage with Colin, I usually am the one to leave the room so he can cool off, but my resentment had been building and my expectations being unmet for years, that I let it snap. I slapped him with the news that I had tried to get pregnant with Mallory, that I wanted Logan to have a sibling and knew that he’d never agree to it.
There was an accusation of me lying, and when I stood firm to the truth, an eery calm came over him. He’s never calm, and a sickness came in to my stomach, as his eyes lost their heat and he stared at me as if I were a stranger, not even worthy of his emotion.
He told me he was staying with his brother, Luca, and then he was gone.
I’ve never been the bad guy, I was never the impulsive one, that was always Bethany. I was sensitive, and could take offense when none was offered, but I was never quick to anger, or spit out hateful words. To find myself here, nearly dumped, for my own impulsive decision, and vengeful declaration, it is simply the lowest I ever felt.
Logan looks up at me with confusion and trust, and I feel unworthy of it all. Colin, and his family are the ones that make horrible mistakes, not me, and yet here I am.
It’s not Bethany’s fault ether, she pointed out the things I had been ignoring all along, but it doesn’t mean that things were wrong the way they were. Just because it wasn’t what I had always dreamed, raising kids in an apartment, and unwed, doesn’t make that life bad.
It took me losing Colin, before I realized that the dreams of my childhood weren’t necessarily my dreams of today. My stomach hurts from the loss, that I can’t tell what it is that I want.
Bethany thinks that I’m just in shock, and afraid of change, so I’m scrambling to get things back and minimalizing our past problems. I hate when she talks psychology on me, she spent one year with psych as her major, and she loves to spout it out as wisdom. Sucks that her words don’t sound alarmingly wrong, leaving me more confused on what I feel.
Colin didn’t call or visit for two days, I got stir crazy and took the kids to the park for some fresh air, and invited Nadia to join us. I hoped that Nadia could tell me what Colin had been up to, since he was staying with her. She didn’t have much to share, apparently Colin wasn’t talking to his brother Luca, let alone with her. My story is the most they knew about the situation.
She thought that was a good sign, perhaps noble of Colin to not want to smear my image to his family. She encouraged me to reach out to him, and meet at a neutral place to discuss. I found her advice more reassuring than my sister’s psychological babble.
He would ignore my phone calls, but finally text me back. He’d just gotten finished having a business lunch at Shortstack and he’d talk to me if I made it to the bus stop before the bus arrived. I left the kids with Bethany and made a mad dash to the pancake house. The idea of a business lunch made me laugh to myself, I supported them getting on with their dream, but for now Chris needed to save money to get there, not go out to eat on the name of business.
I was relieved and panicked when I found him sitting at the bus stop. I thought I should jump right into it, since the bus could arrive at any moment, and I apologized.
He was cool, saying what done is done. But I don’t think that qualifies as forgiveness. He said he’s not planning to come home to live with us, and might look to find a place of his own. All I could picture was Logan’s face when he realized his Daddy was not coming back home to him.
I cursed Bethany, myself, and the world while he explained that he couldn’t trust me, and wasn’t sure how he felt about being with me anymore.
When the bus arrived, he stood up and told me that he did still care about me, but that it was all changed, then he was gone.
Numb, I went into Shortstack to find Nadia working her afternoon shift. She was shocked, neither of us knew what to say or do to fix any of it.
I couldn’t believe that I had been planning on her being my sister-in-law one day, and how in a flash, that dream had been destroyed, and I’d been written out of the family.
Afterwards, I started thinking about the things I did want, and how I no longer had anyone to blame for them not happening. So I text Colin that he could have the apartment. I am the breadwinner in our family, and I could afford an okay house on my own income. I offered Bethany to move in with us, and stick around South Port; she rejected the idea quickly.
By the time I found a house though, and the end of the month rolled around, she decided that she had to stay. She made it sound like she was doing me a favor, but I think she found some boys she fancied. She can never run from a hot night of romance.
Colin agreed to moving back into the apartment, on the condition that all the furniture stayed. It made moving quicker, but more hefty on my pocket book. I’m on maternity leave, so I can’t exactly ask for a raise or work over time to cover the expenses.
Mallory screamed the entire first day of being moved in, we stood there without any furniture, an old rundown fridge, and no food. I think we were all second guessing this adventure, but the mortgage was all signed and mine. There was no going back, as much as I feared the future.
We bought the main furniture as fast as we could to make it more like a home for Logan. He cried for his Dad, and I kept telling him that he’d see him soon. The new toys were a good distraction for that.
Colin came by to pick up Logan for a park visit, he’s never been to the park with him before. I was glad that he reached out to be a Dad still to Logan. He didn’t even look at Mallory though, and I just hope that after she turns one and is more mobile that he will have an interest in her. It still hurts me for her though to know that there is a lack of relationship there.
Most of the time I’m kicking myself for getting in this situation. It all sounds terrible, unwed, mother of two, living with my sister, it’s like someone else’s life. I’ll be thirty in three years, and I just hope that I can find a positive twist in all this before that big birthday.
I’m glad I have my sister here, I’d be much more lonely without her, even though she is constantly bringing men home, at least it’s after Logan is in bed. Sometimes she tries rushing him to bed sooner than normal for a date, but Logan never withstands that.
Notes: On the old computer, there was a clone of Erin, and I sort of married the idea of her having a sister. Thus, Bethany was born. She is the youngest, and completely spoiled, and totally into men. Erin has a difficult time with her friendship with Bethany, and Colin absolutely dislikes Bethany. They did not hit it off at all. I thought that this abrasive, say it like it is, spoiled young lady would not hold her tongue when it came to the disappointments in Erin’s life.
Erin and Colin’s relationship problems have been building for sometime, their wants for life are completely different, at least at this stage. Erin wants a house, marriage, and all that traditional stuff, and Colin is not a traditional guy. Maybe when he’s thirty he’ll be more on board, but that’s five years from now.
I’m not saying they are broken up, but on a break. Will go off wants to see what happens next, so far Colin hasn’t rolled anything Erin related to suggest he misses her, but he has rolled wants for Logan.