Liam is one curious child. He wants to know about everything, if you answer his one question then another question is already on the tip of his tongue.
Finn has already surrendered in front of him. His face literally turns pale whenever Liam looks at him, afraid that Liam will shoot any other question in his direction.
What is even more interesting that he needs a logical answer which satisfies him, otherwise, be prepared to answer his why or how.
I have tuned out what they have been arguing about for the last ten minutes because I am too busy watching Liam. I don’t want to blink my eyes because I am afraid that he will disappear and again I will be left with my loneliness.
I can’t believe I have a son.
Liam is my son.
If this is how I am feeling by just being with him, I can’t imagine my feelings when I will be able to call him my son...when he will know that I am his father. I think my heart will explode with happiness, the moment when I will hear dad from his mouth.
I know I have to wait a little longer for that, but until then I will cherish all these moments with him.
From the time when I was big enough to understand the concept of marriage and family, all I wanted to be was a father. I was blessed with the best dad and I wanted to be the same for my kids.
I know there is a lot I have missed and there is a lot I have to do. But from this day onwards, I will try to be the best dad for Liam.
“He is stupid.” Liam frowns while shaking his head at Finn, disapprovingly, which gets my attention.
“I am not stupid,” Finn says defensively.
“No, you are stupid.” Liam nods his head at him.
“He is telling me all the wrong things.” He turns to me and points at Finn, “Tell him he is stupid.” He demands while pouting.
Well, who am I to say no to this face?
“Finn, you are stupid.” Slowly, I nod my head keeping my face straight while Finn is having a hard time not to burst into laughter.
“Now, tell me, Liam.” Holding his little shoulders I turn him to face me, “Why is he stupid?”
“He is saying that I can’t be like my mom.” His lips set in a straight line, “Mom says I can be whoever I want to be and whatever I want to be. And I want to be like mom because she is the best.”
“She can do everything. She teaches me new things, she cooks for me, she gives me hugs and kisses, she makes me better when I am sick, she scares away monsters, she is not afraid of anyone, she punishes bad people, she knows how to fix things.” He pauses to take a breath as he counts on his little fingers, “She is so cool. She knows how to punch and kick even better than my instructor.” He laughs, making me smile, “I think he is afraid of her.”
“So, yeah... I will be just like her when I grow up.” He gives a curt nod as his eyes filled with determination.
The respect which I have for her in my heart increases manifold. She has not been only raising Liam single-handedly but also setting up a great example for him.
I would be the proudest father if Liam becomes even half the person that she is.
“Don’t listen to anyone, Liam.” I whisper while patting his head, “Just be like Avery... because she is the best.” Swallowing all my emotions, I smile at him.
The ache inside my heart intensifies because I couldn’t give this best person the world which she deserved.
When I park the car in front of her old house, all the memories of this place flash before my eyes. It just feels like yesterday when I was sitting here at the same spot with fireflies waiting for my Firefly to show up.
I look at the house to find Avery sitting on the swing, hanging on the front porch, while she is blankly staring at the floor. A small sigh leaves my lips as I stare at her because once she has so much liveliness around her but now it seems all her spark has gone somewhere.
“Mommy!” Liam screams already opening his car seat belt as soon as I turn off the engine.
Immediately, her eyes land on Liam and just like that a bright smile turns the corner of her lips upward.
The Avery which I saw a moment ago, completely transforms into a different Avery concealing all her pain behind her vibrant smile.
“Open it... open it,” Liam demands, sounding irritated when I am not fast enough as per his liking to unlock the door. “Now!” He starts kicking the back of the seat making me roll my eyes at his impatience.
Quickly getting outside the car, I open his door and watch him darting towards Avery who is already waiting for him with open arms.
“Mommy!” He leaps into her arms as she hugs him close to her.
“I missed you so so much.” He tightly wraps his arms around her neck.
“I missed you, too, baby.” She puts him down and kisses his forehead.
The love between them seems so pure like no one else exists for them when they are together. I can spend all my life happily just by watching them like this. They are my family even though now we are scattered but still we are a family.
“Go...go inside.” She laughs and ruffles his hair, “Wash your hands and your face.”
She stands up and rubs her hands over her jeans as she watches him running inside the house then she turns to me.
Walking up to her, I just stare into her eyes, again not knowing what to say. Because like always when she is in front of me, my mind stops working while my heart goes crazy.
I want to thank her, but then I don’t know how to thank her for giving me a purpose to live. I want to tell her that I never stopped loving her and can do anything just to have her back in my arms. I want to tell her that I hate being away from her and want to beg in front of her to give me another chance.
But words just don’t come out from my mouth, it seems like I have lost the ability to speak. I want to say so much to her, but here I am just looking at her like a fool.
“Thank you..." Finally, I manage to speak, “You don’t know what you have given, Avery. I can never be able to thank you enough for letting me be a part of my son’s life.” Biting my lips, I try to stop myself from breaking down.
I don’t care if I am looking weak or vulnerable. Because this is the only girl who is allowed to see my tears... see me vulnerable. See the completely broken man behind this strong facade which the world sees.
She looks away and takes a small quick breath.
“Alec.” She directly looks into my eyes, her icy gaze cutting deep into my heart, “No matter how much I try to deny the truth but I can’t change it. You are Liam’s father.”
Even I can’t change the truth that I love you more than myself.
“He deserves to know you, just the way you deserve to know your son.” Biting her lower lip, she shrugs, “And I will never come in between you two. You can talk to him and meet him whenever you want. You don’t even need my permission for that because as much he is my son he is yours too.”
He is ours... a part of me and a part of you.
Glancing down, her lips slightly part as she exhales slowly.
“However, don’t expect anything more than this from me.” She lifts her eyes and shakes her head, “Because this all I can do for you.”