V. Breaking the Chain
“Why do you have a baby?” Amoli stood up and walked towards me with her upper body bending downward, seemingly analyzing the little gift in my hands. “Did you finally snap? You finally snapped and kidnapped a baby?”
“No. I found her.”
She gasps, “Oh my-”
“I’m kidding. A crazy lady told me to take care of Marisa while she goes to handle some business.” The baby bag slumps off my shoulder along with the thin strap purse. I hand Amoli the child and kick off the annoying heels wanting nothing more than to crawl into my twin size bed.
“It didn’t work so well, did it?” Amoli asked, settling herself on the counter chair while rocking Marisa back and forth. Surprisingly, Marisa is excellent when it comes to strangers.
I shook my head, dragging my heavy legs toward the couch. Once my face planted on the pillow, I told her about my day and the grand exit out of the company. “Yeah, and then I thank them for their - are you seriously laughing?”
Amoli sat upward, lazily walking towards me. She sat on top of my butt due to the minimal amount of space on the single couch. “I wished I was there instead of class because that sounds entertaining.”
I exhaled through the pillow and released a muffled scream, thrashing my fists against the edge of the couch. When I finished, I turned my head towards the TV.
“What are you going to do now?”
“Swallow my pride and go home. Maybe marry another guy and stick with him. Forget about my lack of talent and survival ski-”
“I meant the baby. Aren’t you taking her to the police station?”
“And tell them what? The insane mother gave someone her child despite meeting her two times. Mind I tell you, she gave me the baby during our second meeting.”
“We can’t keep a baby, Vivian! I can’t produce milk, and last time I checked, you can’t either. Unless-” her gaze dropped down at my boobs.
I lightly smack her arm, cautious enough, so Marisa doesn’t get hurt. “There is a milk bot-” I groaned once more into the pillow, “I forgot about the milk bottles!”
“See? That’s why I mention milk from boobs.”
“You know I’ve only done it once,” I grumble.
“Oh, yes, with that asshole ex-husband of yours. I can’t believe you lost your virginity to him, and he didn’t even sleep with you during your honeymoon.”
During the senior year of high school, Jackson Martinez threw the biggest goodbye party. Everyone who is anyone was invited. To my surprise, Jackson invited me. I attended the party with Amoli and somehow left with Liam. I didn’t remember much, except waking up in bed with him lying beside me, naked. I left the bedroom, ashamed to even look at the blood-stained on the sheets.
At that time, no one knew Liam, and I was engaged since it wasn’t publicly announced. Our marriage was very secretive, very under the radar, so only a few people knew we married. Liam was supposed to take me out to events, and people will slowly know of our relationship. However, he never did.
I chuckle, “He was drunk at the time. He probably wouldn’t even poke me with a stick.”
“He already pokes you with a-” I slap her hard before she can finish.
I exhale, “I’ll go to the police station tomorrow. Tonight, we rest.”
The baby starts crying.
“Tonight. I rest.” Amoli handed me the baby, “Tomorrow. I fail the test,” she declared before gathering all the books on the counter and running into the bedroom. I can hear the door lock indicating that I am not allowed to receive aid from her.
Marisa continued crying.
I cried with her the whole night.
“Thank you for the milk Mrs.Orien.” It’s 2:32 am, and I had to knock on my upstairs neighbor’s door for milk. Mrs.Orien had a baby a while back; I’m not sure how because she is...not very young.
“Vivian, were you pregnant when you arrive h-”
“Good night Mrs.Orien,” I said, walking down to my apartment. I stroll into the small elevator and press my floor then scoff, “Me? With a baby? Do people not see this body? How can this body have a b-” I stopped talking when I realized there was a guy in the elevator with me, holding a basket of laundry.
“Why are you holding a basket of laundry?” I asked the strange man, wanting to ease the tension.
“Why are you holding a baby?” he responds, voice more in-depth than I expected, partially with his baby features.
“I’m forced to watch the baby by a crazy lady.” The elevator ding and I stepped out.
“It seems like we already found something in common. I’m forced to do the laundry by a crazy lady,” he said, lip twirling into somewhat of a smile as the elevator door closes.
I chuckled and shook my head before walking back towards the complex. Checking the milk on my wrist, I approve of the warm before giving it to Marisa. “Your mom better come soon before I go crazy, la la laaaa. I’m already going crazy...laa.”
The sun decides to take its place and blind everyone. Curling on the couch beside Marisa, I wanted to cry when the light slammed against my eyes. However, it doesn’t seem to disturb Marisa, not one bit.
A shocking alarm scowl inside my ears, and I heard a loud: “Oh shit!” from Amoli before crashes of items followed. I curl closer to the blanket; in no doubt, Amoli wrapped it around me last night.
Tilting upward slightly, Amoli stumbled out with her books and bags. Her hair in a bun, still in the same outfit from last night. She grabbed an energy bar and ran out the front door, slamming it shut in the process. Glancing around the silent apartment, I realize how the mess from last night is gone - Amoli.
She probably checked up on us, ensuring I’m not going to jump off the second floor or crush Marisa with my irregular sleeping habit.
I close my eyes for a bit more rest only to hear a buzzing sound from the counter. Lazily, I extend my arm, scratching the coffee table a few times before finding the phone. “Hello?”
“Miss Blanc.” I took a few times before realizing the familiarity of that voice - Bitca, I mean Becca.
“Y-Yes?” Are they calling me to find out my address so they can arrest me? That’s the dumbest thing you can think of Vivian; they already have your address in their system.
I heard some chattering and papers ruffling in the background. “I’m going to be frank. You didn’t get the job.”
I exhale, feeling a small body moving against my arm. Marisa curls her tiny hands around my wrist, and I smile, feeling a bit better.
“However-” Did she just say what I think she said? Is she opening a new door of possibilities? “We have this internship, and you can take it if you want? Not take it. Take it. I don’t care.” My smile only widens.
“Really?” I tried to respond with a calm voice, but it came out as a squeak.
“It’s a paid internship. You start next week. There’s also a daycare.” Becca ends the call.
I grabbed the pillow and stuffed my face into it, allowing the release of joy. I look at Marisa, who slowly blinks her small eyes. “I got the job!” I squealed, going into her for a light hug. I held her and rushed towards the kitchen to grab the broom. Hitting the broom against the ceiling, I yelled: “I got the job, Oriens! I got it! I go-”
A brutal hit causes some of the ceiling paint to storm off. “Shut up! It’s too early for this! Go back to sleep Vanessa!” I’m not even angry; he got my name wrong.
I dropped the broom and held Marisa underneath the armpit then swung her around, probably something I shouldn’t do to a baby. “I got it! I got the job! I’m not a nobody Marisa!”
Marisa laughed, a genuinely sweet baby giggled.
I held onto her, close to my heart, embracing the wonderful moment. “Wait, what did she mean by daycare?”
When I’m finally awake, I decide to go out and buy a cake for the celebration. However, before that, I need to go somewhere. I continue to walk back and forth in front of the police station, wondering what I should do.
“I’ll try one more time,” I said, walking back towards the bus stop. Not too long after, Bob pulled up with a full pledge frown on his face. I’ve been waiting on Bob’s bus for nearly half a day.
He covered up the paying box. “I got this.”
I smiled and took my usual seating while rocking Marisa. When the bus came to a stop, I looked at the double door only to see no one. I sigh, “I’m sorry Ma-”
“Please wait! Please!” Lisa’s voice trembled in the air. My eyes widened when she stepped on the bus with purple-blue bruises scattered all over her face. After paying a shocked Bob, she limped towards me with a suitcase and a smile that seemed so carefree.
Lisa sat beside me, “I’m so sorry mommy took so long.” Her voice cracked, and I handed her back Marisa. She held it, tears dripping down her chin.
“Lisa, what happened?” I was grateful there were only four of us on the bus.
Lisa sniffed, “I took your advice, and I confronted my boyfriend. I decide to leave him.” That explains the luggage.
“But what happened to you?”
“My boy...ex-boyfriend, isn’t exactly the nicest guy.” She licks the cut on her lip, “e got angry and kind of-” she stopped speaking, swallowing the heavy words down her throat. That explained why Lisa looked so out of it yesterday. That’s why she didn’t take Marisa with her; she knew this was going to happen.
“It’s over now,” Lisa smiled, and rocked Marisa. Her gaze dropped down, and the tears layer all over Marisa’s face. “Mommy finally broke the chain, baby girl.” She held Marisa close to her lip.
I look at Bob, who was glancing at the rearview mirror once in a while as his grip tightens on the wheel. He didn’t know what to say either.
I sat there, chanting relentlessly to myself.
Don’t do it.
Don’t do it.
Don’t do it.
Once I reached the apartment, I knocked on the door. The knob turned, revealing Amoli. She chuckles lightly, “Why are you knocking when you-” her voice trails off when she notices Lisa standing behind me with Marisa in her arms.
"Umm, is it okay if Lisa stays here for a while?”