That was definitely him I saw. I ran out of my room and into the garden. He was sitting watching the world go by and I decided it was time to approach him. For the last 6 weeks since giving birth I had been looking after his children on my own and being fed by someone I had only known for a few months. I guess she felt some kind of obligation towards me, knowing I had just given birth and I had four mouths to feed, but I wasn’t sure how long her generosity would last.
“I have been looking after your kids on my own” I said as I approached him. His face remained still. No emotion. He turned round and looked at me. My heart melted and I wanted nothing more than to be close to him but I couldn’t let him know that. Now I stood right next to him and his usual scent tickled my nostrils, teasing me as if I had to be reminded of what I was missing. My heart ached but my mind was angry and an angry mind trumped a heart in love right now.
“You look great” he smiled as casual as if he was talking to an old friend. I was furious. “Did you hear what I said? I have been looking after your kids on my own. I am not sure how long we will be able to stay in the room we have right now and I have no other place to go so how are you going to help me?”
Fred let out a long exasperated sigh “I told you when you met me baby that you won’t tie me down. Then you tell me you are pregnant and you think that is going to change me.” I open my mouth as if to protest but what could I say? He was right. He had told me and I had ignored him. Deep down I had hoped that I was the one who would change him.
“I have other lovers.” He continued. “You know this of me. I am what is known as a free spirit. Something you use to say you loved about me. I can’t help you babe. You are going to have to hope that women can help you and your kids. I’m out.” And with that he walked off casually and without looking back. I knew it was over for now. I had to put my full focus on raising my babies. I couldn’t believe that this bastard was really leaving me to do this alone.
At that point the door opened and out walked the woman who had been taken care of us with dinner in her hand and a smile on her face. Even though I was at the other end of the garden I could smell it and it smelt really good. I ran towards her, started purring and wrapped my tail around her legs. For now, playing nice and being fed was my only concern.
The absent baby daddy
This story was written in June 2013 and included in my first book The Last Hut and 29 other flash fiction stories.
I renamed it – the absent father because the phrase ‘baby daddy’ is associated to the black community and I didn’t want anyone thinking I was writing this about black men… there are absent fathers in all communities.