We had supper and put Day to bed. The five us stayed up to watch a movie together before going to bed at 9:00 pm, it was a big day tomorrow but I knew I’d probably wake up in the middle of the night and not go back to sleep.
That’s what ended up happening. I woke up at 3:00 am and made my way to the back door to have a cigarette. I heard someone else stumble up from downstairs. Art’s mother.
“John? What are you doing up?” she questioned.
Then she spotted the cigarette.
“Those things will kill you, you know?” she replied.
“Yeah,” I replied guiltily.
“Arthur said you’d feel guilty if you promised to quit and didn’t, why? Most addicts don’t feel guilty about their smoking addiction,” she continued.
Art told her I didn’t want to be a disappointment to people. I knew they were family and had a right to know my secrets to a degree but I didn’t want to explain what Art hadn’t.
“Nobody’s perfect. I a…I feel responsible for my sister’s death. I was a…disappointment to my dad, my mother died in my childbirth,” I reply quietly hoping she’ll stop asking and understand.
“It’s a coping mechanism, stress reliever,” I continue blowing smoke out the back door.
“It’s not your fault. Also, you’re not a disappointment, thank you for loving Arthur and taking care of your sister’s children. Some people would just give the children up for adoption and let the system deal with them,” she continued.
“Those children have suffered enough and the system isn’t always the most gracious thing in the world,” I reply. “I could never let them go into foster care, when…if I die I hope Art would look after them.”
“When?” she questioned.
His mother was very perceptive.
I stayed silent.
“You can have your secrets, John but it would be nice to get to know you,” she replied.
She left and went back to bed.
I walked back to the room I shared with Art and sat on the bed beside his sleeping form.
He rolled over in his sleep and curled up more, I smiled hesitantly.
A few days ago, Art made me listen to what he wanted to be our wedding song. “Hold On” by Chord Overstreet. I loved it and honestly, it represented our relationship a lot. I wanted to play it again but it was late, I didn’t want to wake anyone and I didn’t own a pair of earphones. I’d get to hear it tomorrow and dance to it with Art.
“I swear to love you all my life,” I whispered to Art as he slept.
I laid back down and attempted to fall asleep and somehow, I did.