There are many rewards to having a child, sure. But among these rewards is not included having all of your time sucked away (in addition to your breast milk and, accordingly, your breasts). I love my daughter, no question. Yet there are moments when I think of simply leaving her on the street, or in a store, or even simply tossing her into a lake where she might sink or swim (it’s the Prince in me, I guess–Lake Minnetonka/Purple Rain, you know). That’s why I get a little bit bristled when Mother just up and decides to cancel our time-honored arrangement of her taking Adelina for the weekend while I “re-calibrate,” as they say in the meditation world. Or, at least, I think they do.
This past weekend, however, Mother did not make good on her end of the bargain. She changed her plans at the last minute, opting to take some time “for herself” in Havana with her latest boyfriend, Dez. I wasn’t just angry at her for not removing this ball of flesh from my premises, but also because it felt like everyone had gone or was going to Havana, and I still hadn’t. I mean, for fuck’s sake, I’ve been wanting to go since August. How long am I expected to wait? By the time I can go, I’ll have no one left to accompany me because they will have all seen it and it will be old news, just like me having a child.
As I looked over at Adelina that Saturday morning, knowing full well I’d have to make sure she stayed alive through the weekend, it made me wish getting someone to give you money didn’t require having their child. Sure, I was still with Ted, inasmuch as your arm hair is with you–you can rip it off, but it keeps coming back somehow. But Ted had at least had the good sense to get a separate residence in L.A., where he conducted most of his “business.” This business meant buying hotels and fucking aspiring actresses in them. It’s fine though, I knew what I was getting into. That Adelina would essentially be a fatherless child once I had her. But I also knew that she was my cash cow, my ticket to security for the rest of my life. Maybe that sounds cruel to you or whatever, and yet, it’s simply the truth–and I think most women of an affluent standing with children will tell you that they only managed to remain affluent by having said child. Because even if our husbands inevitably decide to get rid of us, we’ll always have their blood to hold against them.
Thinking about this with satisfaction, I lit a cigarette. I was sure Adelina wouldn’t mind. She was too busy playing some sort of game on her phone (which is great for her, because she really needs to exercise the pudge out of her three-month-old fingers), and it was part of my diet. I work out every day, but cigarettes offer the type of appetite suppression that black market pills can’t. God, it felt good to smoke. It had been one of my few pleasures of late other than Adelina being carted off on weekends. I really could just kill Mother. How could she expect me to be a full-time parent to my child and still maintain my sanity? It just didn’t add up. She knows the ills of being forced to mother–it’s why she never did it herself, and why I am the well-adjusted person you see before you today. Yes, I’m still attractive, I might add. Long hair, svelte body. I’m second wife material in a heartbeat. And I won’t be relegated to first for very much longer. I just hope I can squeeze out a brother for little Adelina before that happens though. Oh, god. That means having sex with Ted again. It almost makes me want to retch up the half portion of uncooked broccoli rabe I ate yesterday.
My cigarette came to an end, and with it my thoughts. If I think too much, I’ll have to acknowledge that I’m completely and utterly miserable and I have no idea what would make me not be. Any who, back to Adelina. For an “unformed” person, she is certainly demanding. I think she’s going to be a huge bitch when she grows up, especially if her father chooses to simply buy her affections with things rather than time. The more I thought about it, the more I realized fathers are superfluous. What good have they ever done besides turn their daughters into raging sluts seeking to fill the hole they left inside of them by never displaying even the faintest sign of love? No, I don’t want Adelina to ever feel like she has a father. It wouldn’t be normal in this day and age.
Fuck, she’s looking at me. What does she want? Why the hell did Mother have to do this to me? I can’t bear it, I can’t get through this weekend with a child. What about what I need? Doesn’t that matter anymore? Apparently not. Apparently, you’re supposed to sacrifice your entire life when you have a damn baby in order to be judged as a “good” parent. Well, I just don’t think that’s true anymore. Ten years from now, machines will be looking after our babies, conditioning them all into emotionless serial killers–and we’ll all be better for it.
I have the sneaking suspicion that only one minute has gone by since I finished my cigarette, and yet, sitting here next to Adelina, pretending to care about her mindless little game, has led me to believe maybe it’s been a year. Is this what it’s going to be like now? Me hating myself just a tiny bit because I don’t feel elation at every moment spent with my daughter. I know Mother never felt that way. I need to be more like Mother. Her selfishness is truly unmatched–an art form she perfected in the 70s when youths were first being condemned as the Me generation. It sounds so beautiful. To feel no guilt for not caring about a person you should. What could be more liberating, really?
I would have to ask Mother when she got back from Havana how she did it. Or maybe it will only take a few more weekends left alone with Adelina for me to transcend to the same level of schizoid behavior, and the student will have surpassed the master.