“You are also so strong.” Liam touches my arm, “Just like Hulk.” He seems fascinated by my muscles. While I am fascinated by this little kid.
“Liam, look what I found for you.” Avery’s voice comes from behind and I turn around tightening my hold on Liam as this little guy half leans towards Avery to see what she has got for him.
“Transformer car!” Liam screams excitedly while I slightly cringe with a low chuckle as he shouts next to my ear.
“Yes!” She smiles and nods her head, “And it’s a remote-controlled one.” She comes near us and shows the car to Liam.
“Wow, it is so cool,” he says as his eyes fixed on the car.
“Thank you, mommy.” He beams in happiness, “I love you... You are the best.” He slips from my arm and wraps his arms tightly around her waist.
“I love you, too.” She caresses his head as she lovingly gazes down at him.
“What about Hulk?” His eyes shift at the Hulk figurine in my hand then back at Avery, “Are we going to leave it here?”
“No, we will take it,” she answers before I can say something.
I wanted to buy this for Liam but I guess she will not appreciate it nor she will allow it. As I know she does not like me being here but just because of Liam’s sake she agreed.
And I am grateful to her because these moments with him means so much to me. After so many years I am feeling something which is not anger, pain or loneliness... I am feeling happiness.
“You know, Mason always tells me that his dad is so cool and buys coolest toys for him,” Liam says while taking a large sip of chocolate milkshake, “But I am going to show him all my cars, then he will know my mommy is way cooler than his dad.” He grins.
After shopping for Liam, we are now sitting at the food court, as Liam was feeling hungry. Even I was starving as I haven’t eaten anything since morning. But I was too busy enjoying the company of this little guy, that I had almost forgotten my hunger until he mentioned it.
Liam is a mini chatterbox, he talks so much. But this side of him only comes out when he is around Avery, otherwise, he mostly keeps to himself. He wanted to tell everything to Avery even if it is something trivial. Avery also listens to him very diligently and gives reactions that he wants to get from her.
Seeing her with Liam makes me somewhat relieved that at least she is not alone. However, when I think of his father my blood boils, he doesn’t deserve them at all. Not even once he thought about them, before leaving them. Avery was pregnant with his child, how could he abandon her in that condition? Or has he forced himself on her, which resulted in her being pregnant?
The more I think about all this, the more anger builds up in me. I feel like there is fucking lava inside me which is waiting to erupt.
“Now, listen.” Avery raises her eyebrows at Liam, “You are only allowed to open any one of your toys, rest of them you will open back at home, okay?” She nods her head.
“Okay.” He obediently nods his head, “When are we going to go home?” He asks while my heart drops hearing this, even I am aware that they will not stay here. But still... knowing that these moments are going to end soon, it does something to my heart.
Especially, when I know can never experience these moments in my life ever again.
“Very soon,” she quietly replies, as her gaze holds a distant look.
“Don’t move from here, I will be right back,” she says as she stands up from the chair when her mobile rings in her hand.
“You don’t like being here?” I twist my body slightly to face Liam, “Don’t you want to stay here?” I rest my arms on the table.
“We came here for the holidays.” He dips fries in the sauce, “Mommy works back home, we have a house and I have my own room, we don’t have anyone here, so yeah...” He shrugs his small shoulders.
“But I like you, so I think I will miss you,” he says after a moment, “I will ask mommy to let me talk to you sometimes.” He gives me a small smile, his words stir strange emotions in my heart.
“Will your mommy allow you to talk to me?” I swallow the dry lump forming in my throat.
“I don’t know,” he says in a small voice, “She doesn’t like you much.” He slightly frowns, whereas a small but real smile makes a way to my lips.
This boy is smarter than his age. But he doesn’t have the slightest idea that dislike is a small word what his mother feels towards me.
Avery hates me.
“But I will request her, with a big hug and kisses.” He smiles mischievously as if a great idea has come to his mind, “She loves to cuddle me and says yes to almost everything which I ask her.”
Kristan loves to throw parties, so I was aware her wedding would be nothing short of parties. These five days of the wedding turned out to be five days of parties. Tonight Jake and Kristen are having a combined bachelors/ bachelorette party, for which Kristen is so excited.
I am truly so happy for her and I wish the best for her. She was my first ever friend and till today she stood by my side.
She and Jake never judged me for being a single mother and never asked about Liam’s father.
I want to forget everything about him, but when I see Liam he reminds me of him. As the years are passing, more and more, Liam is showing resemblance to his father.
“Where is that cute boy of yours?” Kristan asks as she peeks up from her suitcase.
Kristan is sitting between the scattered mess of clothes and her suitcase is resting open in front of her.
“He is sleeping.” I sit on the edge of the coffee table, “After the shopping trip, he was really tired, I bet he will sleep for three hours straight without even stirring.”
“Won’t he be afraid, if he doesn’t find you in the room?” She frowns as she picks up a magenta color dress and throws it back into the suitcase.
“No, he will be fine.” I shrug, “And I will go back in the room before he wakes up.”
“So, will I be able to see the crazy Avery tonight?” She laughs as she stands up and kicks the suitcase closed.
“I don’t know which Avery you are talking about.” I give her a small smile and shake my head while tugging the loose thread of my shirt.
“You have changed so much, Avery.” She sighs as her lips set in a sad smile.
“Nothing remains constant,” I stare at the white carpeted floor of her hotel room, “Time changes, people changes, circumstances change... so there is nothing wrong with me being changed.”
“There is nothing wrong, but sometimes I miss that old Avery, that carefree and lively Avery.” She sits on the couch and pulls up her feet.
“I am better off without that old idiot Avery” I sit beside her, “That Avery was not carefree she was irresponsible, and I have a beautiful responsibility on me.” I smile thinking about Liam.
That Avery had her Pops to take care of her, but this Avery has no one behind her back.
“But don’t you think you are being harsh on yourself?” She knits her brows together, “You are young, you have all your life ahead of you.”
“I am a mother, Kris.” I lace my fingers in my lap, “I have a kid to raise, whom I love more than my life. I can’t afford to do a mistake or lack anywhere in my responsibility.”
“Is it difficult? To be a single mother?”
Kristan is someone who never holds from expressing herself. Her questions don’t bother me, as I know she is asking just out of concern.
“It is not easy,” I honestly answer, “You have to play two roles in your kid’s life. However, in the end, you also get undivided and double the amount of love from your child. So, I think all the struggles are worth it.” I look at her and smile.
“Haven’t Liam ever asked about his father?” She asks carefully.
“He used to question about his father but I truthfully told him, that his father left me. After that, he never asked me anything about him. His little heart has accepted that his father won’t be part of his life. Although sometimes he does feel his absence, being without a father is hard for him. But he never brings his father topic much around me.” I sigh as Kristan gives me a sympathetic smile.
“But you don’t have to think about this, as I know Jake will always be there for you.” I place my hand on hers, “Your kids will be lucky to be loved and raised by both of their parents.” I nod and smile while Liam’s sad face comes in my mind when he watches other fathers with their kids.
“No kids for me, now.” Kristan shyly laughs and shakes her head, “We are just getting married.”
“Okay, girl.” She excitedly rubs her hands together, “Give me spicy details of your life, is there any guy in your life?” She wiggles her eyebrows.
“The only guy in my life is my son.” I shove her playfully with my shoulder while grinning, she is always looking to set me up with someone.
“Won’t you ever give any other guy a chance again?” She quietly asks turning serious.
“He destroyed me, Kris.” My voice sounds emotionless, “Now, I don’t think I can ever be able to give myself to anyone.”
Understanding passes through her features and she places a comforting hand on my shoulder.
“I will always be there for you.” Her eyes glisten, “You are not alone, I and Jake are never going to leave your side. Whenever you need us we will be there for you. But I am sure someday love will find its way back in your life.”
Her words bring relief to my heart knowing that even if something happens to me, my son will have people in his life who will love him, unconditionally and will not let him be alone.
“Thank you,” I whisper back, “Your words mean a lot to me. However, I don’t need love in my life.” I swallow, “I did a mistake once and I can’t afford to do that again.”
“Everyone is not so fortunate to find true love in their life.” I inhaled a small breath, “I am happy that you fell for the right person. While I learned a lesson that sometimes love is not all that you need in your life.” I shrug and smile.
He may not be wrong, but he just never trusted me.
“I love you and I am so proud of you.” She blinks back her tears, “You are an amazing mother to Liam and he is so lucky to be your son.”
I never thought how much I needed this little girl-time with Kristan. Hearing from her that I am being a good mother to Liam, brings satisfaction in my heart. Growing up without a mother has developed a strange fear in my heart... that I will not be a good mother to Liam, a mother whom he deserves.
Whenever Pops used to visit me, he always used to say that he is proud of me. He adored Liam immensely and Liam also loved him.
Pops was the only fatherly figure in Liam’s life while he was my pillar of strength. I used to draw strength from his presence but after his death, I lost that support. I felt like my life crumbled down at my feet again, but then I brought myself together for the sake of my little boy.
But after talking with Kristan, I realize I still have some people in my life on whom I can rely.