I went to work the next day, didn’t remember much about it, but had to stay busy! After work Bill was waiting for me. I was surprised. When I got in the car, I leaned over for a kiss, but he was staring straight ahead. When we got to my apartment we went upstairs. We sat on the couch. He had an unreadable expression on his face. magic and Agnes sat with me. Agnes on my lap.
He said, There’s no easy way to say this, I can’t see you anymore!” He looked like he was in pain. I asked him why, was he sick? He told me the story of agent Orange in Vietnam. The terrible things it did to to men. He was shell shocked and while in the hospital he was tested and told his sperm count was really low because of agent Orange.
He went on with how when he came to Chicago, he had a relationship with a woman that was pretty casual. After he met me at the club he ended the relationship with her. His mother told him Sherry came to her and told her she thought she was pregnant. Mrs. Baker went to the doctor with Sherry and yes she was pregnant. Bill told me he had to do the right thing.
He was crying and I was crying and I said, “what if it’s not your baby?” What if she’s a slut that just needs someone to blame it on?” He said, “I can’t take that chance, I may never have any other children!” Then he said, “I am going to do the right thing, and marry her!” “I’m sorry!” he got up and walked out the door. Later I found the door keys on the table. His words echoed in my ears. “I’m sorry!”
Sorry for ripping my heart into tiny shreds? Sorry for tearing my soul in half? Sorry because I watched it all blow away on a breeze that turned into a hurricane? I sat on the couch with my kitties all around me and yet I was numb. I sat there all night, not thinking, not feeling. Shut down.
I was dreaming! I sat on the grass in a field of green, the sun was shining. There was a soft warm breeze ruffling my hair. Anu lay next to me. Agnes and Magic chased each other around the field. I could see my daughter playing ring around the Rosy with another blonde girl and a little boy with wispy brown hair. I wondered to myself who all these children were.
He sat beside me in his long white robe, and sandals and his smile brightened up the sun, and his eyes were as warm as the sand. He said, these children are the children not meant to be, and two of the future, he smiled again andI was lying on the couch Agnes on my chest.
The pain hit me again and i jumped up! My head was whirling and I made coffee and I called Mrs. Baker. She answered and said Bill went to work. I was crying and she started crying too. I asked her what happened. She told me she was hoping that Bill and I would get married. I was hoping that too.
She told me Bill went to the doctor the day before, and the doctor told him there was a chance his sperm count was up just enough to get a woman pregnant. She told me Bill always wanted children and had reconciled himself to not having any, and this might be his only chance.
She said Bill and Sherry were getting married the following week. Sherry didn’t have any family. She said I could come if I wanted to. I thanked her politely and hung up. I went to bed. I stayed there with Agnes, Magic, and Anu. I got up to go to the bathroom, feed Agnes and back to bed. I didn’t answer the door or the phone which seemed to ring constantly.
I didn’t go to work, I didn’t call in and I didn’t care. I cried until I was all dried up inside then I went numb. I lay there and prayed for no more dreams. Seemed to be working.
My sister used her key and came in. She asked me what was wrong with me! She said the factory called and I was terminated for no call, no show. I didn’t care. I couldn’t face any one I knew. My sister made me take a shower and she fixed me tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. My all time favorite comfort food. Still is.
The next day I went out looking for a job, and I found one in a hole in the wall restaurant. below minimum wage and better hope the tips were good. I was walking up my stairs that evening when I heard Vicky’s mom yelling at her, “No more cats, dogs, hamsters or gerbils!” I’ll get you a fish that is it. I’m sure the animal kingdom was cheering. Laughing I continued up the stairs.
Sitting next to my door was a tiny shivering dark scrap of fur. I bent down to look at it, and the biggest dark eyes looked up at me. She cried out, “please don’t let the monster girl find me!!”. Oh boy, another Vicky victim. I picked up the scrawny little bit of fur and brought her in the apartment. I wrapped her in a soft blanket and held her until she stopped shivering.
I wondered what made Vicky so cruel. My sister told me her mother,Denise had spent years in a reform school for selling and using drugs. Could that have been it? Vicky was affected. I fed the starving kitty and assured her she was going to stay with me.I gave her a bath and she turned into screaming,screetching kitty, so I knew she would live.
After scarfing down almost a whole can of food she seemed calmer. She was really pretty when she was dry. She was a black and cream tortishell with amber eyes. I sat on the couch with her purring in my arms,drousing in the blanket. Agnes sat next to me curious but not upset. She told me this kitty was a baby. very young. Magic said she looked like a goddess so after some thought we decided to ask her if she would like Isis for a name.
We all slept together in my bed. Isis wouldn’t leave my arms, so she slept almost buried in my side. Agnes purred next to Isis, protecting her. Anu slept close and so did Magic.
I didn’t have to start work until afternoon, so I called the vet I had taken Agnes to, and he said to bring Isis in. She didn’t want to get in the carrier, but Magic got in with her and off we went with Agnes watching from the window. Thankfully, Vicky was in school and her mom at work. I caught a cab, pretty cheap those days, didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
isis was in good health, about 3 months old. Too young to spay, but not for shots, back next month for more shots. The vet set up a payment plan. I thanked him, and he laughed and said he tried to help rescue angels out as much as he could. I must have turned 6 shades of red.
I told him, I was no angel, I just love cats. He laughed and said, “I’m sure you must.” Isis did like her name and when we got home she strutted around the apartment singing, “I’m a goddess, what are you?” ” A piece of fur raggedy and old. la,la,la,la!” Agnes and Magic both jumped on her and they rolled around the apartment laughing and growling.
Anu ignored them, but I saw her smiling and she joined me on the couch watching them play. Magic was funny, she would jump on Agnes and go through her. Made Agnes laugh, said it tickled her. They made me laugh and made me happy. I tried not to think about Bill and Sherry. I went to work and worked over as much as I could. I needed the money with 3 mouths to feed.
One evening I was standing on the freezer cleaning the top when I had a dizzy spell and fell off. When I hit the floor I felt like something inside me burst. Next thing I knew I was back in the hospital and the doctor told me when I fell I had miscarried. I didn’t realize I was pregnant. I remember thinking Bill’s sperm count was higher than they thought.
I was dreaming! I was sitting in a room that was all white. I was sitting on a white cloud, at least it was soft enough to be a cloud. I was talking to him and he sat on my left side, and I said why did you do this to me. Haven’t I had enough pain? Is my life going to be all pain and sorrow? I was crying. He looked at me with those beautiful brown eyes and touched my cheek and the tears stopped.
I said to him, “I want to stay with you, why can’t I stay here where there is no pain?” He said, “Because you are needed.” There were animals everywhere. Dogs, cats and birds all around me. Barking and meowing and I knew I loved them all. I woke up. I went home in a cab, and my babies were waiting for me. I gathered them in my arms and cried. I cried and Agnes and Isis licked away my tears and tried to comfort me.
I went downstairs to the laundry room, to wash my uniforms. When I opened the door there was a man sitting on the washer playing a guitar and singing. He looked like a frayed hippie. He had long scraggly brown hair that needed washing, a wispy goatee, and his voice was this too. He had on too short bell bottoms, and he stopped playing and looked at me. He said “Hello, I’m Frank, the landlord is my father.” I thought, “oh no!!!!!”
He’s a hippie, but what am I?