We weren’t always rich, Kevin and I. We were just the tender age of sixteen when we fell in love. It was a young and innocent love. We would talk about our excitement of getting our driver’s licenses and making A’s on our exams. That innocence soon went away when discovered the physical part of our love.
It wasn’t until I was pregnant that I thought it was over. My parents urged me to get an abortion, but I refused. They kicked me out and I was sure that when I told Kevin, I would be alone. But it had the opposite effect. We got married; Kevin’s parents signed to get us an apartment together; he got his GED, and got a job. When I suggested that I would do the same he looked me in my eyes and said, “No, I will take care of us. It doesn’t matter where we go, or what we do, I will always love and protect you.” Although my uncertainty of us being together was eating me up, his reassurance made it go away.
Ten months later we gave birth to a beautiful son, Little Kevin. The moment I saw Kevin hold our baby I knew we were a family. Graduation came and went, and instead of going to college, I wanted to do something for my husband: to get a job and put him through school. It took a lot of arguing, but I convinced him. I knew he was one step closer to his dreams of becoming an engineer. So I suppose we were rich in family, life, and love. We were truly for happy…for a while.
It wasn’t until Kevin got the job of a lifetime when I noticed the changes. He would spend all hours of the night at work and he missed some important moments in our son’s life. When Little Kevin’s fifth birthday came around he asked me as he blew out the candles, “Where’s Daddy, Mommy?” All I could say was, “Daddy is working, honey. When Daddy works, you get to have big parties like this one.” I guess this was what it was like to be rich with money. We had the big house, two cars, and we could even put our son in a private school, but something was missing.
One day I went to visit Kevin at his office as a surprise. Well, the surprise was on me. There was a woman sitting on his desk and I could tell by their banter that it wasn’t a purely friendly conversation.
“Ahem,” I interrupted.
“Christina, what are you doing here?” he asked.
“I came to surprise, but I can see that you are busy,” I retorted. Whomever this woman was she didn’t bother to introduce herself, and Kevin didn’t feel compelled to do so either. So I reached my hand out and spoke. As she was leaving the office I waited for an explanation, but all he said was, “I’ll see you when I get home, honey.” He didn’t come home at all that night.
Weeks turned into months and months became a year of him working late, spending nights out late, while I said nothing. I became desperate. I knew in spite of everything that all I wanted was my family, us. The way we were before all of the money and material things. Now I didn’t know what we were. When our son asked me again where his daddy was, I didn’t have an answer this time; I just told him I didn’t know. That was my breaking point.
Before he left for work one day he said he would be late again, and this time I waited for him. There were things that needed to be said, and problems that needed to be solved.
“Let’s get away from here,” I pleaded.
“I’m not going anywhere. You can go if you want, Christina.”
He sounded so cold, and I knew I was setting myself up for failure. I should be brave, strong and tell him I was leaving him, but where was I going to go? I had no parents, no education higher than high school, and no means to make it on my own if he left me. So I couldn’t help myself, but I had to try, for our family.
“This life is not for us. You’re never home, your son is growing and you are missing it.” In that moment I was sure I cracked him.
“Christina, I’m working to provide for you and my son. To make sure you’re dressed with the finer things. Isn’t that what this is all about?” he replied. After all this time of being together he’d forgotten everything. The blood, sweat, and tears I had shed to get where we were. This made me see red.
“So you’re leaving us for that tramp and a paycheck?” I exclaimed.
“I’m not leaving my son.” I knew he meant that he was leaving me. There were no words to sum up the hurt that rushed through my body. I tried to reject the pain but it was too late. I was already paralyzed by it.
I began to beg. “Where am I supposed to go? Are you casting me into the street?” I asked frantically. “Yes,” he said with no trace of remorse. The begging became groveling, for without him I was lost. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. He was key to my survival and my sanity. He and Little Kevin were all I had.
There was no getting through to him. That’s when I noticed the picture we had taken when we were sixteen. We had so much promise then. That was the fateful day when he had promised to always love and protect me.
“Remember this?” I asked, holding it up to him.
“Yes. That’s the funny thing about life, things change.”
“Yes, they do indeed, but that’s not the funny part,” I said still looking at the picture and seeing the reflection of my tears falling.
“Then what is?” he said icily.
“Back then, we had nothing except each other. Now we have everything except each other.” And then, it was over, but this time I never saw it coming.