There was Sydney. He was suppose to be a strong child, a masculine child. I waited and waited for him to come, but he never came. You never showed. We didn’t feel like it was time. My friend had a newborn named Mason. I’ll never forget the smile on his face. The joy he had holding his child for the first time. This moment is etched into my memory because I could have this joy twice. He was 18.
Sydney was the firstborn that never was. We were not prepared. We were not ready for the sleepless nights. For the childbearing of milk, applesauce, and attention. We were pro-choice. More importantly, we were not prepared for the 18 years of raising a child because we were still children. I had another friend. He had a baby girl. They named her Paloma. I’ll never forget the smile on his face. The twinkle in his eye, when he felt her warmness against his beating chest. He was 16.
Maybe things would be different.My brother would be an uncle. My sister an aunt. My father a grandfather. My mother a grandmother. He would be the first junior in my family. Maybe, if we would have kept it. My brother was 19. I’ll never forget the twinkle in his eyes. The radiant glow as his child smiled with his swollen eyes. He says ” Sydney carry him”. My heart dropped as he swings back and forth in my arms. I am the uncle. My brother is the father. We shared journeys. His name is Ethan. He is the first junior.
One day, my friends and I are chillin talking about things I can’t remember. Maybe we were talking about getting high. Maybe, we were talking about how many bodies we have. Who has more, who has less. Which ones were trash, which ones were bad enough to “catch the hit”. Then my boy says ” Jennifer told me she was prego”. ” What should I do?” Nigga, do a 187 on a undercover cop. You not ready for that responsibility. You not ready for the sleepless nights and it’s not like your pockets is fat.
My boy John says” Nigga, shut the fuck up, you don’t know nothing about kids, you don’t got no children”.
Sydney: You right, I don’t. You had your kid at 16 right. We turned up for your baby shower.
John: Yea, we did. It was a MOVIEEEE. You still don’t no shit about being a father. Ain’t nothing come out of your balls.
Sydney: Facts. True facts, but where is Paloma now?
John: She with her moms.
Sydney: You here with me telling this dude to keep it. You still turning up. You never walked the streets with the stroller? You never been to a parent teacher conference. What type of father can you be 16? Not the father you are now or in the future.
Then there was Sandy. I loved the movie Grease growing up. I was a hopeless romantic as they flew off into the sunset. She was gonna be my baby girl. My heart. Her beauty would make men fear her. Her perfume would intoxicate their senses. She would always be daddy’s little girl. Maybe, if I was more courageous. Maybe, if I could have convinced her. Maybe, if I still wasn’t school. Maybe, Sandy would have seen the light of day. Her eyes would sparkle my day, illuminate my night. I would warm her cold shimmer. Maybe. There’s no more second chances.
Maybe, we would play catch. I would be the catcher and you the pitcher. I would be the peanut butter and you the jelly. I would be the macaroni and you the cheese. Maybe, we would be mad at each other and not speak. Then, we would hug and make up eating cinnamon teddy grahams watching scary movies. Maybe. I would be a father as her heart was broken. As he fell off his bike and kept getting back up. They would call me Daddy.