When I opened the door to my house, I saw a path of rose petals on the floor. The room was dim and as I followed the path of roses, I could smell the candles. My heart was still not in the moment as I had not yet decided what to do. I was dreading having sex with my husband now that I knew I was pregnant, especially since I didn’t know if the baby was his or my older lover, Derrick’s. It seemed unnatural to have sex with him knowing that I was carrying a life that likely was not my husband’s. Whatever my choice was, I had to make it fast. I was glad to see that the rose path did not lead to the bedroom. It veered into the kitchen, where Robert was sitting. The table was set and dinner was served.
“Thank you. What a beautiful surprise!” I grabbed the glass of water next to the wine and took a sip.
“Well, that’s a first. You chose water over wine,” he said, smirking. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
I giggled and told him that I was simply not in the mood to drink. He looked at me quizzically, but as we began to eat, any suspicion he had dissipated. We ate the chicken marsala and pilaf he made. It was quite delicious, but the conversation was lacking. I simply was not in the mood to talk. Finally, I decided I needed to probe into the situation in order to make my move.
“Are you sure you want kids, Robbie?”
“Of course I do,” he answered without hesitation. “Why would you ask such a question?”
“I’m just wondering. After everything that has happened between us, sometimes I wonder if it’s the right thing. Plus, isn’t it weird that you have a child out there? Did she really buy you with her money?” I had wanted to ask that question ever since I heard the news that he fathered an illegitimate child with my lover’s ex-wife, but I knew that at the moment, it was inappropriate.
“I wasn’t left with a choice,” Robert said. “I could have taken a paternity test and showed it to him and fought for something that really isn’t mine. I know she’s mine, but she’s not really. The only person it would hurt the most is the person I want to hurt the least. He really shouldn’t know, and what good would it do little Leslie to know? It was a stupid mistake that shouldn’t have happened. Her husband would probably leave her and then my daughter would suffer. I don’t know any man who could live with that lie.”
“Could you do that?” I asked, hoping to get an answer to my problem.
“If I found out that you had a child and that it wasn’t mine, I would be crushed. I don’t even know what I would do. To think that you are madly in love with your son/daughter and then know that it was all a lie would be too heartbreaking. I don’t think I could forgive you and I don’t think I could raise the child anymore.”
“Sometimes things are complicated,” I retorted. “You would think after all these years you would understand. It wouldn’t be the child’s fault so much as the mom’s. Why make the child suffer?”
He sighed and shook his head. “It’s ironic and I’m being selfish, but I couldn’t do it. You know one day the child is going to find out. Somehow, someway the truth always comes out. I just hope when the day comes, my daughter is able to find it in her heart to forgive me. The hardest part is that I know I will die with regret in my heart.”
With those words knew what I had to do.