His Mother, whom I loved to distraction, began her schizophrenic descent to hell when he was nine months old. She left our lives and the country when Noah was three, or there abouts.
Since then, I’ve had lovers, many lovers. My body has exulted, my mind has been seduced, but my heart keeps to itself.
“Dad, is she your girlfriend?”
“It’s our first date, Noah.”
“Maybe she’ll become your girlfriend like if it goes well?”
I already know it’s highly unlikely. It may be a roll or two or three, knotted in her bedsheets or mine. It may be wonderful sex ending in a friendship. But nothing more. Or less.
“You look really good, dad, in that shirt. That’s the one I like found, right?”
“I have good taste, huhn?”
Noah and I actually went out shopping for a pair of pants and shirt…for me. Every piece of clothing I own is older than my son, so I was due. Noah mixed and matched and brought me items while I tried them in the changing booth. The three salesladies were totally taken with him.
As I go down the stairs, heading for my date, I hear Noah whispering to his babysitter.
“Dad has a date, and a new shirt…”
I don’t hear the rest.
Since I’ve been single with child , women have come into my life and moved on…generally to other men with whom they begin building something lasting.
Several of them are now affianced.
One of those ladies made it a point of showing me the rock on her finger before she invited me in for a last escapade one morning before she moved in with her future husband. In the quiet, beautiful moments after, as her breath blew eddies across the hair on my chest, she told me he was the love of her life. She hoped to have a kid, as beautiful as Noah. I told her she would be a wonderful mom. In fact, in the brief months of our frequentation she was auditioning for precisely that role in my life. But having a child actually spring from her loins became her true wish. As I left her apartment for the last time, she thanked me for making her realize what she really wanted.
I’m good at that… fertilizing other’s arid soils with intent and desire. Other’s reap the fruit.
Three of my recent lovers have become pregnant. No, no, not from me. I’m the way station, the hub-airport that connects to the desired destination. Of course, like any port I collect some of their riches before they move on.
The other day, I met one of these ladies, as Noah and I strolled down the street. She was with her husband and 9 month baby. If I was still Catholic I would have said they looked like the Holy Family, but since I’m now lapsed into paganism, I say nothing.
They seemed happy. She introduced me to the father, as a dear friend. When she and I kissed each other’s cheeks her smell overwhelmed me with visions of her nakedness. She was wonderfully fleshy and moist. And strangely sad, afterwards.
As they walked away, Noah pulled my hand.
“Dad, wasn’t she like your girlfriend?”
“Yeah, a couple of years ago.”
“Does it like make you feel bad that she like has a baby and a guy like that she married?”
“No, not all.”
Well, perhaps a little.
“They looked happy, didn’t they?”
“I guess so, yeah, dad.”
I like to think I contributed to her blooming, in an odd, deflected way.
Now, as I head to my “date” in my new shirt, I wonder how much I still feel like “contributing”.