“Where did John go?” my mother asks coming back from Astra’s room.
“He stepped out for a smoke,” I replied hastily.
“That boy smokes?” she questions concerned.
“I know. I don’t like it either, I’ve talked to him about quitting. At least he doesn’t do it around the children,” I answer.
“Art—” she starts with her warning.
“Mom, I’m not going to start smoking just because he does it. I love him, we all have things that we don’t like about the people we love but some we have to settle for,” I cut in.
“But it’s unhealthy,” she still tries.
“It’s not a health thing, it’s an addiction and stress thing. It’s his choice, he said he’d try to quit but he didn’t make any promises,” I continue.
“Why?” she asks.
“He doesn’t want to be a disappointment to anyone. If he promises and doesn’t keep it he’ll feel guilty. He has enough guilt as it is,” I reply quietly.
“Guilt?” she questions.
John opened the door then.
I glanced at my mom hoping she wouldn’t say anything further or asks questions.
My mom looked at him in wonder.
“Well, I’m going to make dinner,” my mom comments taking off to the kitchen.
“What was that about?” John asks.
“She found out you smoke,” I reply.
“Oh, is that all?” he replies.
I pushed one of Day’s mobile toys so it swung back and forth. I watched his eyes follow it and he laughed.
It was hard to believe John was ever like this.
John sat down on the couch beside the mobile and me.
“What did your dad do with you if he thought you were evil? Who looked after you?” I asked quietly not wanting my mother to hear.
“My sister, sometimes when I think about what it would be like to have a parent I think of her, she raised me. I’m grateful, without her my father might have ended up killing me,” he replies.
“Why’d they have your sister and then not want you two?” I ask.
John was surprisingly opening up more and answering my questions.
“None of us were planned, we were all accidents, they decided to try and raise my sister but when they found out about the two of us, well my mother wanted us, my father knew they couldn’t necessarily afford to raise us so he tried to get rid of us,” he answers.
“Why not give you up for adoption then?” I asked.
I was glad they didn’t, John might not be who he was today and I might never have met him if they had.
Day started crying, he was hungry. John got up and retrieved a bottle of milk from the fridge and put it in the microwave to warm it. He came back and handed it to me. I picked Day up and held the bottle to his mouth and made sure he didn’t drink too much at once.
John watched quietly. Day was looking in his direction. John looked from Day to me and smiled. We were things he never expected to have in his life, things that made him happy.