Her son was born in the beginning of her last semester in school, senior year. Funny, she was at a party when she went into labor. It had been Jeff’s idea that she get out of the house for a bit. Things at home weren’t exactly the best. Her mom spent the majority of her waking moments stressing to her just what a mess she was in and how hard it was going to be raising a child at her age. Her mom would regularly add a, “and don’t think I’m going to babysit” in there to drive home the idea that raising the baby was going to be a solo gig.
“What’s the matter, don’t you like the music?”
“It’s okay, Jeff. The music’s just fine, but I told you I wanted to talk to you. Why did you drag me to this party in first place? We have to talk, it’s important.”
“I know, I know. Baby, you’ve been so down lately, I thought a little party might cheer you up. It’s only a baby. Millions of girls have ‘em all the time. Look, you know I love you. It’s all going to be fine I promise. Trust me, after I graduate from college, we can get married. I’ll get a job…it’s all going to be fine. Okay? Cheer up!”
“Yeah…I know, but I’m scared. I mean, how in the world am I going to finish high school? Mom’s already said she’s not going to help me; that I got myself into this so I have to get myself out. I just wish you weren’t going away that’s all. I mean, the state university has a track program and they’re right here in the city, you could go there and we could be together.”
“You know I can’t do that. I’m talking to a couple of recruiters form some big schools. There’s the chance for me to compete on a national level with those guys. State just doesn’t cut it. This is my ticket out of this jacked up neighborhood once and for all. Trust me okay, this is going to work out.”
“Okay. I guess…”
“That’s my girl. Now smile for me. Good, now let’s dance.”
They danced again, right into parenthood. Jeff was there, even assisting in the delivery. Jeff, with all the pride of any new father named the baby Jeff, Jr. and she didn’t argue. A few weeks later, though it was obvious she wasn’t going to be able to go to school and take care of the baby so she dropped out. Jeff? Well Jeff came by when he could. After all, spring was track season and he had to make a good impression on the scouts and recruiters. She believed he loved her so she didn’t make much of a fuss. But as her mom was fond of pointing out, Jeff was on his way out and there wasn’t any room for her and the baby to tag along.
She sighs, coming back from her memories to hear one of her favorite songs playing on the radio.
“I gave you all the love I had, I gave you all that I could give, I gave you love.”
“How fitting,” she thinks as she rocks, sinking back into her memories once more.