Get out of bed. You’re turning into your husband.
That was a horrible thought. But at least the first part was correct, because I had to get out of bed, get Farrah ready for preschool and Eli ready for school, while Lachlan slept. As usual, these days.
I’d let him rest. I heard him pacing and muttering last night, but I can go to sleep straight through it nowadays.
I just wanted today to be a good day. I mentally crossed my fingers and hoped that Lachlan gets an interview back and finishes some job applications and that Elias is happy and follows his routine without any backtalk. I thought about Dianne and Brice and how I wished they’d have a half-decent day so I wouldn’t go to bed thinking about the state of my best friend’s marriage on top of everything else. I just want everyone to be OK. I love them so much…
…And you have failed them.
Not…yet. And I have my own life to worry about. I’m an important person with my own needs too, as my old therapist told me. But this is my family…they’re the most valuable people to me! I don’t know most of who I’d be without them.
I still can’t make it better. I can’t make Elias or Lachlan happy. I can’t even stop Farrah’s tantrums half the time. All I’m good at doing right now is running the Lotus Flower…but that was never my only goal in life. I don’t want to be absent from my family, I just want them to feel better…wouldn’t it be so much easier if you just left them alone? You’re no good anyway.
Shaking my head at the horrible thought, as if that would make it leave, I went to go wake my son.
When I checked my phone between classes, I had three missed calls from Eli’s school. What the hell could that be?
“This is Sarai Hayes, correct?”
“Speaking, what is the problem?”
“Your son has missed nearly one-quarter of his class periods since school started. Obviously this is very serious and we’d like to see you tonight at-”
I froze. Eli was missing school? But Lachlan or I had dropped him at the gates every day since school started! He’d go in – we saw it! Annoyance bubbled up inside me – why do you have to cause so much trouble, Eli, this isn’t what I wanted!
I wanted a kid…whatever that may bring. It’s brought this, I suppose. My nails dug into my palm and I took several breaths.
“I’m sorry to hear that. We will of course be speaking with him about this behaviour.” I robotically managed. “Call my husband about the meeting.” I told her. “I’m very busy today.”
“Ah…right…your husband.” said the woman in an awkward tone. “I thought…right.” This wasn’t the first time I’d been mistaken for a single mother. Thanks, Lachlan, and your inability to just name the kid normally.
“Yes. You have his details. Call him.”
Lachlan can deal with this. He doesn’t deal with anything else anyway!
…Apart from depression over losing his job. I’m an awful wife – hell, a straight-up fucking vile person – for thinking that way. Besides, he started taking medication again and got therapy lined up for the next couple months. Yet I still kept on resenting him up until now. What’s wrong with me?
You know exactly what…
I’ve known for years that self-destructively bathing in the memories of my teens and early twenties is 100% a shitty idea…yet throughout the day, I kept on doing it.
Lachlan stopped me before I opened Eli’s door. “He’s doing some writing. He started yelling and crying and wouldn’t tell me anything. I think…we should let him cool off. Have a proper talk this weekend.” I could deal with that; it was already Thursday night.
He set Farrah down and she made for her dollhouse. We headed to the bedroom to talk.
“How was the meeting?” I asked.
“God…they ranted on and on like he was some kind of malicious hell-raiser, doing this all for shits and giggles! But that’s not our Eli, sunshine…it can’t be.”
I nodded my agreement. “I don’t think it is either. There’s something else going on. Maybe he needs another therapist…Jay’s great but he just focuses on his ADHD…”
“I mentioned him seeing someone else. Big mistake.” Lachlan sighed and buried his face in his hand. “He said that he doesn’t like seeing the doctor and that he won’t go to another. It really set him off – what did I do wrong?”
His voice was almost a whimper, and he was collapsing against me. I could tell he just didn’t have it in him to talk anymore. Maybe I should have given my classes to Shannon and not let my depressed husband deal with our angry, truanting son.
Lachlan went straight to bed after taking his pill. He’d at least made some dinner, and there was a plate for me already in the microwave. So thoughtful…and all my thoughts about him had been bitchy and cruel today. My stomach squirmed in guilt…awful, you’re awful.
Before going to bed myself, I checked my emails. It was the usual stuff – bank emails, work stuff, mailing lists I’d accidentally ended up on, random family news.
And something from a sender not in my contacts. A Nolan…Nolan Fox.
It felt like my heart fell right out of my chest there and then. A tear leaked out of my eye. My first son, the precious baby I gave up for both our sakes…he wrote to me himself…he’d be almost seventeen now. It couldn’t be anyone else…I don’t know anyone else with that name!
My mind filled up with awful scenarios. I made a mistake choosing Darren and Lela and they weren’t good to him. Or he wanted to chew me out for giving him away like nothing (although at the time he was everything…and has stayed in my thoughts to this day).
Theorising like this just made me feel worse. All I could do was open the email.
Dear Mrs Hayes,
My name is Nolan Samuel Fox. I’ve known for a while that you are my birth mother. I’m sorry to bother you but my parents said last year that I could write to you myself if I chose to. And I finally decided to reach out. I just want to know more about where I came from.
Mom said you were nice, but that you seemed kinda alone, when you were pregnant with me? Sorry if that’s too much to say to a stranger…but if you were, I hope you’re not now. Hope you’re still nice though!
I know that over the years you read and replied to my mom’s emails, and that you’ve got pictures of me. So I guess you really did care about me – thanks. I also guess that you’d like to know if I’m happy or not – and I really am! My parents have been really great to me – really encouraging and supportive. They love me and I love them a lot…I’ll always see them as my parents. But if you wouldn’t mind it would be nice to get to know you a bit as well.
But I have a question. I hope you don’t mind answering or me asking. I just want to know – why did you give me up?
This is Sarai. Thank you for reaching out. I’m glad to hear that you have such wonderful parents and that you’re happy. Yes, your mom had it right. I was alone when I had you. I’m not any more.
That has a lot to do with your question, in fact. I’m not really sure how to write it down. But I do want to give you as honest an answer as possible, believe me.
I would like to get to know you as well, but I will speak to your parents first, if that’s alright. Thank you again for your email.