The Love You Choose
“Anything else before I leave for the day, Mr. Wells?” I lingered in the doorway awaiting my new boss’ approval. Jasen Wells, glimpsed over the rim of his glasses before simply saying, “Good night.”
He barely made eye contact, nor did he ever commend me on my hard work, but he had to be pleased because 2 years ago he had gone through 3 personal assistants in 3 months before deciding he didn’t need anyone to help him mess up. He finally gave in and gave me a chance.
Mr. Wells always gave clear and concise directions and he always like things the exact same way so there was no way that I could mess up. He was precise and vanilla, but it made my job easy.
I had left the office on time for a change. So for the first time in forever, I thought to stop outside and check the mail. Going inside I threw my bags on the table and sorted through the mail. Oddly there was a letter addressed to me from an Ava Taylor in Riverdale, GA. I ran a quick scan of people I’d met, and the name didn’t ring a bell. As a matter of fact, I didn’t know anyone in Riverdale.
Probably a chain letter or something. I shrugged throwing it on my dresser. I went into the kitchen to put on the ground beef that I had taken out earlier. I was having spaghetti tonight. After combining the ingredients of my quick meal, I grabbed the envelope from my dresser and tore it open ready to see junk mail and trash it. Instead, there’s a handwritten letter.
My beautiful butterfly.
My stomach churned with fire as I sat on the park bench in front of the agency for hours trying to talk myself out of selfishly waltzing in there and asking the clerk to pull my file. Our file. Your file. But I had to reach out to you. I have talked myself out of it a thousand times. I can’t say I’m doing this for you. I’m being selfish once again I’m thinking of me and not worrying how me reaching out to you will turn your life upside down. How it might tear your life apart.
Just the thought of me trying to impel myself into your world after I failed you and subsequently abandoned you. You don’t deserve me. You don’t deserve this disenchanted fairy tale where you go backwards from princess to Cinderella. Where you rewind from happily ever after to once upon a time you had a screwed-up mother that threw you away like trash.
I’m sorry but yes this is about me. It’s about me being compelled to know my baby girl. It’s becoming more of a task to get the burn of your ashen eyes out of my mind. Your stare piercing my heart, almost begging me to be a better human being. I guess I’m still screwed up in many ways. I’m still an addict. The counselors said I would always be.
All I want, all I dream of, the only thing that drives me is getting to know my baby girl. Knowing your dreams and aspirations. Knowing that you are happy and thriving. Knowing that you are not me. That’s probably most important.
I know it is selfish of me, but I am asking you to humor me. We don’t have to meet in person. Just a letter. A phone call. Anything. I’ve never stopped loving you baby girl. I never will.
Ava Ava? I asked myself again second-guessing the familiarity. What did she mean gave me up? I frowned. This had to be some mistake. Dialing my mom’s number I leaned on the counter and let the phone ring until it went to voicemail.
“Mom, I got a strange letter today from someone named Ava Taylor. Give me a call when you get a chance.” Instead of eating I took a quick shower and changed into something more comfortable than the slacks and button-down shirt I’d worn to work. Just as I finished getting dressed my phone rang. Frowning I pulled the phone to my ear and answered Mr. Wells’ call. “Eden something came up. I need you to accompany me to McDonough for a week.”
“Is that a problem?”
“Not a all.” I quickly answered. I needed my job plus getting out of that stuff office for a change sounded good to me.
“I’ll email you the details. I’ll pull you address from you file so that I can pick you up in the morning.” He said hanging up without another word.
Pick me up? I didn’t like that idea but whatever. I could tolerate riding with him for an hour and a half as long as he didn’t try to force small talk. He probably listened to talk radio or classical music or something. I smirked at the thought as I finally made my plate. Just as I was about to sit down in front of my tv to eat there was a knock at the door.
Slowly closing my eyes, I took a deep breath and placed my bowl on the coffee table. At this rate I would never get a chance to eat.
I was surprised to see my mother standing at the door with a small box clutched in her hands. “What up, Mom? Are you ok?” I asked carefully. “Let’s have a seat, Eden baby.”
“You’re scaring me, Mom,” I said making my way back to my spaghetti, but I was all ears. “As you know your father and I have always loved you very much. We always wanted a baby girl and no matter how hard we tried. I could never conceive. I got really into church.
Your father never would attend but the closer I got to God the more at peace I was with the way things were going. One day Pastor Bailey came to me about a young girl who was about to give birth any day. She had gotten little to no medical care, she was on drugs, and she was only eighteen. She wanted to give her baby to a good home.”
“Wait a minute, Mom. Wait a minute!” I raised my voice attempting to halt her from tearing my heart out. “I’m your mother, Eden. I will always be your mother.” The only mother that I had ever known plopped down on the couch beside me in a puddle of her own tears. I held on to her and shared her pain.
“She kept in touch with us for the first year then she disappeared. We feared the worse and didn’t want to hurt you by ever bringing it up. We should have told you. Your father said we should have told you. It was stupid and selfish, and I should have told you, baby.” She continued to cry.
My mom and I ate dinner and spent the night as my apartment reminiscing over the first years of my life. I forgave her for not telling me that I was adopted. I understood that she did what she thought was best for me. I didn’t know if I was going to respond to the letter that Ava had sent. It seemed like kismet that Mr. Wells and I would be going to McDonough in the morning and the letter was addressed from Atlanta.
The next morning, I left my mother asleep in my bed and climbed into Mr. Wells’ Range Rover. As I got comfortable in my seat he carefully scanned me with his eyes, “Have you been crying?” “What? No?” I stirred uncomfortably under his intense gaze.
“I have,” he chuckled. “Finalized my divorce last month and today I get to survey the damage of the condo that I had been letting her and her boyfriend live in until my lawyer made sure that our prenuptial agreement was airtight.”
“I wasn’t aware that you were married,” I noted.
“We’ve been separated for a year. A nasty divorce being drug out over eleven months forced me to have to take care of her and her lover until it was finished.”
“Sorry to hear that.” I noted remembering that he had mentioned that he was crying.
“Were you sad?”
“I’m not sure.” I look out of the window hoping that he would turn on that talk radio soon. “I just found out that I was adopted.”
“Shitty day.” He shook his head.
“You look nice.” My face flushed and I cleared my throat unsure of where that came from. “I mean for someone having a shitty day.”
“So do you.” He smiled softly. “Of course you always do but I’m not allowed to say that. You know with the fraternization policies and all.”
“Thank you,” I looked down at my hands wondering if I had Ava’s eyes. Would I ever find out? Probably not.
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