Let Love Stay

By: Melissa Collins

As the sliding glass doors of the hospital power open, the afternoon sun blinds me. While my eyes adjust to the glaring light, I can’t help but notice the irony of the scene before me. A husband is gingerly assisting his wife out of her wheelchair. The back door of their car is still open and I can see a tiny bundle of blankets. Inside, I’m sure there’s a tiny newborn, carefully secured in a brand new car seat. Maddy’s words replay in my head – I’m pregnant.

A baby. My baby. Our baby.

At that last thought, my gut clenches and, if possible, my heart breaks even more. I’ve been apart from Maddy for less than ten minutes, and already I miss her so much that I feel like I can’t breathe without her.

Okay, even I’ll admit that I’m being a bit melodramatic, but she means everything to me and when she needs me the most, I’m a fucking coward and I let her push me away. And I walked away. I didn’t fight for her, for us, for our future as a family.

I didn’t have the courage to say everything I needed to say. Instead, I just let my shock get the best of me. When she said she was pregnant, it was as if everything just stopped. My world faded to black and I shut down. I couldn’t process anything; I’m sure I looked like an asshole. The love of my life just told me that she’s going to have my baby and I started talking about how it was going to affect my life.

But now, as I walk towards Jack’s pickup truck and unlock the doors, I can’t help but think about how this is all affecting Maddy’s life. She’s just starting college and I’ve gone and fucked that up for her.

I fuck up everything.

I slide into the driver’s seat, turn the ignition and just sit there completely paralyzed by the pain I feel at losing Maddy. Doesn’t she realize that she’s mine – that she makes me want to be a better man?

Some ‘better man’ you are walking out on your pregnant girlfriend.

I’m a shit and I know it, but I can’t go back in there right now. No matter how much I just want to wrap my arms around her and swear to God that I’ll do anything she wants me to so that she’ll take me back, I know that won’t fly with her. Yeah, she wants me to forgive my mother, and to make peace with my past, but she wants me to do it because I want to do it – not because she wants me to do it. And no matter how much I love Maddy, I’m just not sure that I want to do those things; I’m not sure that I can.

My misery over missing her soon turns into anger and frustration at her. It’s not her place to tell me what the fuck to do in my life. Sure, I love her and I want to be with her, more than I’ve ever wanted anything actually, but I’m not going to just back down on this. My frustration and anger get the best of me and I can’t help but pound my fists against the steering wheel. How on earth can I choose between losing Maddy and facing my past? Right now both choices seem like hell – my hell.

These are the times that I wish Shane was around. He was always my sounding board. God, I miss him so fucking much. It’s not lost on me that if he was here, I wouldn’t even be in this situation. I wouldn’t have to choose anything; my past wouldn’t be haunting me.

Stuck in this internal battle over what I want to do and what Maddy wants me to do, I can’t help but wonder would I have even met Maddy if my past wasn’t causing me so much pain? The thought of possibly loving someone else instead of Maddy causes bile to rise in my throat.

I’ve gotten myself so wrapped up in loving her that I never, not even for a second, thought about what I want. I’ve devoted pretty much every single moment of the last few months to making her happy and I haven’t once thought about what would make me happy. Holy shit! I became that guy. You know the pussy-whipped boyfriend who bends over backwards for his girl.

But I don’t hate that version of me all together – at least I don’t think I do. My brain is a scrambled mess over all of this. I really need to figure out what the hell I want out of this whole fucked up situation and do it for me, because I want to – not because Maddy thinks I should. I can’t hide the fact that part of me thinks that she’s right. I do need to face down my past. Maybe that’s why I met Maddy? Maybe that’s the reason for her being in my life?

I’ve never been one to believe in that line of reasoning that suggests everything happens for a reason. If you tell me that there’s a reason why sweet little ten year old Maddy had to lose both of her parents, or that there was a reason for Shane to feel so much pain and heartache that he’d rather end his life than fight for it, then I’d say bullshit. Sometimes horrible, fucked up things happen to good people, but in this moment of enlightenment – in this epiphany like state – I can’t help but feel a little bit lighter knowing that if I can’t have Shane as my best friend, that maybe, in some sort of strange cosmic coincidence, maybe he sent me Maddy in his place.

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