WHEN IT’S NOT YOUR DAY – IT’S JUST NOT YOUR DAY
“What do you mean, I can’t see him today?” Sean sounded desperate over the phone.
“I don’t feel like driving all the way down to you today.” Alexa tried to sound less satisfied and more weary and sad, but she could not stop smiling as she spoke. “It’s just too far. If you want to see the baby, you’ll just have to get your ass up here.”
“And how am I supposed to do that? You know what the buses are like on a Sunday!”
“It’s not my fault you can’t drive, Sean.”
“Even if I could drive, you took the car — which, need I remind you, you bought without my consent, with my money!”
“It’s a joint account, baby. It was our money.” Alexa could not keep the smugness out of her voice then. “Besides, Daddy got us a good deal on that car.”
“At thirty percent interest?”
Alexa sighed. Sean was so predictable. Just two weeks ago, he had said almost the exact same thing:
“What do you mean, you’re not moving to the new apartment?”
“It’s too far from West Palm,” she had said. Did she actually twirl the car keys around her finger as she said that, or was she just wishing she had? Either way — it was the perfect gesture.
“Too far? And you just figured that out now? You picked out the apartment!”
Alexa had shrugged. “I don’t want to be that far from my family.”
“You mean, your Daddy.”
“Whatever, honey. I’m going home.”
“Back to Daddy.”
Alexa had smiled. She had thought about slapping him at that point, but she just shrugged, picked up Baby Sammy, and left.
One of her finest moments, she thought.
Sean, that annoying Sean, brought her back to the present. “Alexa.” His voice got deep like it always did when he was trying to be serious and threatening. “This is Father’s Day. It’s going to be my first Father’s Day, and I made plans to spend it with Sammy.”
“Well, you’ll have to figure it out. I’m not driving all the way down to Fort Lauderdale just so you can take him swimming. It’s not good for babies that small to swim, anyway.”
“Why not?” It was so easy to get Sean off topic. She suppressed a smile, then remembered she didn’t have to — he couldn’t see her over the phone.
“What’s so funny, Baby Girl?” Carlos asked. She frowned and waved at him to shush him up.
“It’s just not good,” she said to Sean. She had almost lost the thread of the conversation, there. “He’s too little.”
“Who told you that?” Sean demanded. His voice was rising again. Oh, Sean, you’re so easy.
“Oh, yah,” Sean snorted. “More old wives’ tales. What does she know about — ”
Alexa pounced. “Don’t you dare insult my family! My abuela knows all about raising babies!”
“Yah, she did a great job with your father, didn’t she?”
“I told you not to insult my family!” Alexa shrieked. “Go fuck yourself!” She pressed the Off button and smiled. She skipped to the play-pen and picked up Baby Sammy. He pressed himself against her, gurgling.
Her phone rang. She listened as Sean spoke to her voice-mail. “Alexa, you promised to bring Sammy to me every Sunday. You drove down here the past two Sundays. What the hell is the problem now? Come on, call me back.”
He called the house phone then. “Don’t answer it,” Alexa said as Genie went toward the phone. “It’s Sean.”
Genie frowned. “Well, I’m not talking to that big shit,” she snorted. Beside her, Baby Carlos tugged on her t-shirt. “Okay, Baby. You want a popsicle?”
The answering machine picked up. “Alexa, what the fuck? Pick up!” His voice cracked. “Alexa, it’s my first Father’s Day. I made all these plans to be with my son … for God’s sake, pick up.” He waited for another thirty second, sniffling, then hung up.
What a big baby.
“Come on, Carlos. Let’s go somewhere fun for Father’s Day,” she said.
“Sure,” Carlos grinned. “Lemme take a piss first, then we’ll go to the beach.”
Alexa packed the baby bag with diapers, bottles of premixed formula, wipes and other supplies, Sean called again. “Alexa, please pick up,” he whined.
So many things a mother needs, she thought as she stuffed a onesie into the baby bag. A whiny ex-husband isn’t one of them.
Do I have everything? Her sunglasses were on top of her hair. She looked in her purse to make sure her electric cigarettes were there. I guess that’s everything, she thought. Carlos came out of the bedroom in a relatively clean t-shirt. She tossed him the baby bag and picked up Sammy. As the door, the phone rang. Genie could not resist anymore and answered it.
“Look, Sean, why don’t you quit while you’re ahead. Alexa has gone out with her father and the baby. You’re not going to see him and you’re never going to have custody, so why don’t you just go back to your own country?”
Alexa paused to hear Sean’s attenuated voice through the phone. “What’s it to you, Genie?”
“Listen, you fuck!” Genie screamed. “You leave her alone! You’ve destroyed Alexa, you hear me! Leave her alone!”
“I couldn’t destroy her. She was already a train wreck when I met her, Genie. I couldn’t fix something that badly damaged! Now tell me where they went!”
“You stay away from her and if you ever come to this house again, you’ll be sorry! Carlos is at his breaking point with you! Don’t you dare push any more! We know people!”
Alexa could hear the click as Sean hung up. She smiled and opened the door. “Come on, Daddy. Let’s have some fun. See you later, Genie!” If she hadn’t been holding her baby, she would have skipped down the front steps.
Carlos closed the door. She stood on tiptoes to kiss his cheek, holding the baby to one side so as not to squish him. “Happy Father’s Day, Daddy,” she said.
This is my last assignment with the Tour. It’s been fun. I’d like to thank Tasha and Kim and everyone else I’ve bumped into along the way. I wish all of you – and the tour – continuing success.