This story is by Cherry LaFarr and was part of our 2018 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The Favorite Song
He was like a favorite song, that you want to hear over and over again. You never skip it when it comes on. Always singing along and tapping your toes to the familiar rhythm. When years have gone by, you still remember every chord and lyric. It still moves you and nostalgia takes you back to that space in time, where your favorite song was discovered and began to mean something in your life. You laugh, you cry and you listen intently to every word and sound. Strengthened over the years, played at poignant times and filled with memories, a favorite song will stand the test of time.
Tim was like that favorite song for me. I could not get enough of him and his time. Everything about us was easy and straight forward. In tune with each others humor, likes and dislikes, it made for a smooth and stable relationship. There were no issues or secrets between us.
Tim and I had dated for nearly 4 years, mostly lived together and worked in similar career fields. We got along great and I loved his large family and their Romanian culture. Tim looked like he could be a model for Romanian Gentleman Magazine. He had a warm tone to his skin and deep dark eyes. His 6’2” frame towered over my short chick stature of 5’4“, but I always felt safe and loved in his arms.
Tim and I traveled the world. Sometimes for pleasure and sometimes professionally. We loved all the same places, food and music. There was no time for anything else but work and play. Nothing could change that.
He admitted to never wanting to give up his own time, especially to a child. He felt pretty strongly about it, and when I came to him to tell him that our easy breezy relationship was at its end, he knew why. He knew that only a child could come between us and that I must have been pregnant. Our reactions were very different from one another.
“I don’t know what to say Sia.” he said to me as his voice hitched a little on my name. I could see the beginning of our end written all over his face. He shut down almost immediately and would hardly look in my direction. Children were not in his vocabulary or anywhere on his radar. There was no offer of congratulations or comfort, just obvious distance between us.
“Tim, I was always aware of what you wanted and didn’t want. This was not done on purpose and though I am dying inside right now, I cannot abort this baby. I hope you understand.
“But what does that mean Sia? It is my child, what roll do you want me to play in this?”
“There is not one for you to play. Unless you would like to. I’m not expecting or will expect anything from you.” I said in one big breath with tears in my eyes and I nearly vomited.
He stepped back once, looked down to the floor and I could see he was torn. He sucked in a breath, looked up to face me and we both knew what his answer was. As sad as I was, I had known the answer before he looked at me like that. So the end came to us.
Tim disappeared, and I never saw him again. I only got in touch with him once to ask for him to sign a release document to give up his parental rights. He did so discretely and civilly.
Beautiful Lissandra was born March 22, 2011. She grew and though I never wanted to deny that she looked like her father or that she received any of his traits, it was sometimes a stab in the heart to see so many of his undeniable likenesses. I was reminded sweetly about Tim everyday for 6 years 5 months and 15 days.
Two days after she started first grade, Lissy was killed in a horrible car accident.
I was seriously injured from the accident, went into shock. I was put into a drug induced coma and underwent an extensive surgery to repair my badly mangled leg. Twenty-four days later I finally awoke and was told the sketchy details of my daughter’s death.
The days leading up to her funeral were a blur. I let my family and close friends take over the arrangements. I was prompted to pick out a casket, who should speak and songs to play. Everything else, I dismissed myself from.
During one conversation, some of my family brought Tim up and mentioned that he should know of her death. I stopped that immediately and made it clear not to challenge it. Tim had no part of her world and it seemed cruel now to expect him to mourn someone he did not know. Truly though, I knew it would break his heart. My family respected my demands and went on with the rest of the plans.
My parents wanted some traditional Greek Orthodox ceremonies in the funeral service and I granted their request, knowing that it was, in their own way, their way of coping with the death of Lissy. My best friend Evangeline spoke and read scripture, Lissy’s little friend Melayne got up and told everyone of her love for her friend.
After the ceremonies were concluded and everyone but family started to disperse, I saw a man standing on the stairs. I felt a quick feeling of betrayal from my family and then happiness. There was no way that I could not smile, and I could barely keep myself from running to him. I gasped out loud and it brought my father to attention quickly. Everyone turned their heads to look over at Tim, now standing near the front podium of the church, just across from myself and my entire family.
I stepped up to him and could see the genuine confusion in his eyes. He was quite obviously, yet again, unsure what roll he should play for me. I smiled warmly at him and slid closer to him and into his arms. He cradled me gently against him and laid his cheek on the top of my head, and we just simply stood there together. I realized that it would be so hard for him to come to this, not knowing her or what I would think.
“Sia, I’m so sorry. I really, really am. And I hope you’re okay with this. I had to…I had to come.” he muttered.
I pulled away from him and looked up into his eyes. It had been nearly 6 1/2 years since I gazed into his dark eyes. “Oh Tim, I’m so happy you are here. Originally I didn’t want for you to come, honestly, but now, you being here,” I still had the effects of the valium in my system. Already very vulnerable, and the dark pools in his eyes were so comforting, I was content. As content as I could be at that moment.
We stood there, for what felt like an hour, and my family all came to greet him and show their appreciation for him coming to this difficult event. Roscoe was pleased. They were really happy to see each other, like old fraternity brothers.
“How did you know?” I asked him, curious who told him.
Roscoe was the closest to Tim years ago, and I assumed it was him. And honestly it wouldn’t have surprised me .
“I…I can’t explain it. I was small talking with a shy, quiet man on the Light Rail, coming home from work and he spoke of a young girl, about 6 years old, who had passed away in a car accident. He mentioned she had a cute name, like Missy or Prissy.” he went on as he searched my eyes sweetly,”So I said, you mean Lissy? He responded with a very resounding yes and I knew it. I have been searching for obituaries and funerals for weeks.” He lowered his head and his eyes away from me, “I didn’t know that you were hurt Sia.” he looked at my obviously gimpy leg and back to my face.
I just smiled slightly and he returned the slight smile. He was protective and sweet. I wouldn’t let this arm go and he became a sort of security blanket. He helped to quickly end the awkward and uncomfortable conversations that sometimes take place at funerals. He was my rock and I loved him for being who I needed him to be in that moment.
Tim did not step up and be a father when he had the opportunity, but it was not the opportunity he wanted at that time. All that mattered at that moment was that he was there for me when I needed him most.
A short twenty minutes later he left, and the song I loved so much went quiet again. For now.