To Jacob, On His First Birthday

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To Jacob, On His First Birthday

Post by InspirationMoonwalks » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:13 pm

This is my latest short story, for my creative writing course this semester. We're workshopping it in class Thursday. Any feedback would be appreciated! :):

[align=center]To Jacob, On His First Birthday[/align]

[align=center]By: InspirationMoonwalks (Tara), September 2009[/align]

Dear Jacob,

It is hard to know where to begin this letter. If I'm to be honest with you and in turn, with myself, this letter is one I've begun, but failed to complete, many times and in many vastly different ways over the course of the past year. Doing what I do for a living, I have drafted many a letter. I've written to dignitaries, Presidents, even royalty. But in all those years, one letter I have never written is the kind of letter I am struggling to compose now: A letter to my son.

My son. My God, is it difficult to write that, both in the knowledge of your existence ..and of the fact that you are mine. You were not part of the plan. I say this to you not to be cold or unfeeling. Jacob, I feel so much. There has not passed a day, since I received the news of your birth, that you have not crossed my mind in some way. I would love nothing more than to take you in my arms, to claim you as my own. But there was–and remains–no room for you, the concept and the consequence of you, in my life.

You’re most likely asking: Why bother? Why are you even writing to me if that is the case? I would not blame you one iota if at this point, you feel compelled to take this letter and shred it to pieces. You would be justified in that response. But I humbly ask that you keep reading.

No, you don’t owe me that. I know that, aside from my biological share in your conception, you don’t owe me anything at all. But Jacob, I owe you that much. I owe you an explanation for why I am not there, at your birthday party today, holding you up as you blow out your first candle. Why I won’t be there to receive you when you take your first steps or to catch when you throw your first ball. Or why I won’t be there when you, one day, receive your diploma, to give you advice as you start whatever career you choose or when you get married or whatever path your life may take you on.

It’s perfectly fine if, by the time you are old enough to read this letter, you already hate me. Believe me, I have spent many a sleepless night, tossing and turning, hating myself for all this. Hating the circumstance of the tell tale “double life” I, by my own actions, elected to lead, the “double life” that led to your making, the circumstance that, by default, robbed you of a father. Your mother knew full well what she was getting into when she got involved with me. And a considerable part of me remains frustrated with her, with the things she did, with a lot of the actions and words that she chose. But Jacob, she was young. Much younger than myself. I was the elder in that relationship, both in terms of age and of experience. Yes, she was an adult. But, at least compared to me, she was still a kid.

“Kid.” I used to call her that, quite often. She loved it because Mr. Big, I think it was, called Sarah Jessica Parker’s character that on Sex and the City. She would compare our romance to theirs and while I told her I was flattered, I privately begged to differ. Our romance was truly one of a kind. I say “romance” because I did exactly what a person in my situation is not supposed to do: I fell in love with her.

Jacob, what your mother and I had was far from conventional or even right. No, it was definitely, for various reasons I hope this letter will end up making clear to you, not right. But it was real.

In the beginning, we were, essentially, mentor and apprentice. I knew that she looked up to me, in that innocuous way an eager student looks up to their teacher. She had actively supported my campaigns and had admired me from a distance for some time, a fact she made me aware of upon our first meeting. Did that kind of flattery from a pretty young girl help spark the intrigue that soon developed for her within me? Maybe. I would be lying to you if I said it didn’t stroke my ego just a little bit. Your mother had a way of flattering me, to the point where I’d often ask her if she had taken classes on the subject. But there was more to it–more to her–than that.

The good friend and longtime colleague of mine who is now the “go between” for your mother and I (he can relate to my situation, by virtue of his own experiences...), told me the day he called to inform me of your birth that she said you look a lot like me. I can see the resemblance, but from looking at the pictures he sends my way from your mother, I think you look more like her. You’re lucky. Your mother is an incredibly stunning woman. I was infatuated with her, nearly from the beginning. But it wasn’t just her outer beauty that caught my eye. It was her intellect, her laugh, her wit. Her spirit, so youthful yet so seasoned, almost as though she had lived a lifetime before.

She used to tell me, as we lay together at her place, the place I helped obtain for her, on the rare occasions I was able to stay that long, that we were soul mates. At the time, I was dismissive of it. I didn’t believe in all that New Age crap, I’d tell her. But I think my real hesitation about this stemmed from the vibe it sent off, a serious vibe, the kind I didn’t want her getting about our relationship.

Sometimes she would grow agitated at my response. “You don’t love me,” she’d accuse, though I told her I did, nearly every time we spoke.

By this point, our bond had transcended far beyond infatuation, beyond just the physical. True to her nature, your mother had been the first to articulate her feelings. Her hands, her whole body shook as she made the full extent of them clear that night, her eyes, those large, captivating eyes of hers, tearful. They danced like they were pleading for mercy, my mercy. I think she feared I would run away. But I couldn’t have run from her, even if I had wanted to. I was powerless to remain there, in her arms, helpless but to reciprocate her sentiments.

I did not, however, reciprocate her vision for a future between us. It’s not that I couldn’t envision myself with her. I could. Jacob, your mother made me feel things I hadn’t felt in close to thirty years. If she was a schoolgirl upon first meeting me, I was a schoolboy in her essence. She made me feel uninhibited and intimidated, proud and humbled, enlightened and confused, liberated and oppressed, all these things, in one exhausting yet invigorating and impressive instant. It was an edgy way to be for sure, but it wasn’t unappealing to envision a life with her.

It just wasn’t a reality I could entertain. And your mother knew this. I made it clear to her from very early on that I simply could not give her all the things a young woman like her would most likely want. She could never introduce me to her family or friends or count on me to provide for her the kind of commitment she wanted, needed, deserved. She would argue that she neither wanted nor needed any of that to be happy. She often attempted to reassure me in the earlier stages that she was happy just to have me at all, even if it meant going on this way indefinitely, even if it meant, as she knew it would, not ever having me to herself.

This accord lasted a few months. Then, her demands started. She began to complain that what she had of me was not enough. I would counter her hysterics with quotes from the conversations I referenced before, that she had said she didn’t need anything else, beyond what I was able to give her. She’d concede, momentarily, to this and then complain that she needed, deserved more. I was what was rightfully hers, she’d whine. I was only staying with my wife for the money, for the political convenience of it.

I should pause here and explain. Yes, Jacob, I was married while I was involved with your mother. I was married throughout our relationship. I still am. I’m not proud of that fact, a pivotal one in the circumstance I alluded to in the beginning of this letter. My wife is a wonderful, amazing lady, my friend, my partner, my equal. We had many years together before your mother ever came into the picture. Believe it or not, Jacob, my feelings for your mother had absolutely nothing to do with how I feel for my wife or for our relationship; they still don’t. You’re probably reading this and finding that statement to be rather disingenuous on my behalf. And perhaps you’re right. Most people probably wouldn’t understand this, least of all my wife, which is why she can never know.

But let’s get back to your mother. One of the other things I made clear to her very early on was the fact that along with an actual, long term commitment, I could never give her a child. At my age, I wasn’t too sure of the chances anyway, but I made it no secret to her that it was territory we simply could not, ever, cross into.

She never seemed to have much of an argument with that. It was one of the things in life she said she was willing to forgo, in order to keep me around. I would argue that she was selling herself short, that she would, one day, find the person she was supposed to be with long term, the one who could give her all these things and while it would break my heart, I would let her go to fully pursue it. Sometimes she’d react to this dismissively, other times, she’d be outright offended. “If you really loved me, you’d beg me to stay!” she’d cry, mistaking my concern and consideration for her best interests for indifference. Early on in the relationship, we’d simply change the subject; later on, it would lead to a full blown screaming match.

But I never doubted her willingness to obey my orders on the subject. Until the night she called the private line in my office, where she knew I’d be working late. She had something to tell me and demanded that I come over, “right away”. I hesitated at first, telling her I was buried in work and with a series of very important meetings early the next morning, this wouldn’t be the best time. But she insisted and as I tended to do more often than I liked to admit, I caved in to her pressure.

Soon after I set foot in her doorway, I could tell something was wrong. I felt a sense of heavy anticipation lingering in the room, like a storm was about to be unleashed upon it. She was rather aloof to my touch. She seemed timid, reserved, not at all like herself, like she had something on her mind she knew with absolute certainty I would not like and was bracing herself for my retaliation. By this point in the relationship, we’d had more than a few of these sorts of moments, but this one felt especially intense.

I complained that I was thirsty and asked for bottled water. She told me she was out, but offered me a cup of apple juice instead. Parched and anxious with the choice of beverage ranking very low in importance in my mind, I said sure.

I sat down at the table and she brought me the juice, the pressure building in the room now at fevered pitch.

I couldn’t endure the suspense any longer. Between sips of my juice, I asked her what she’d had me come over, in the middle of a busy work night, to tell me.

Then she broke to me, with no segue, the news.

You were on the way.

Only I could not then conceive of it being you, my son, my child. All I could think about, all I could comprehend was that the forbidden territory had been crossed into.

I spat out the apple juice and began to cough.

She asked if I was alright. I said “Not really” but still stayed relatively collected. I told her that I would pay for everything. I would be there to support her afterwards. It would all be okay. We had a plan in place; I began to take her in my arms to reassure her, before she stopped me.

“I don’t want to. I want to keep it,” she informed me, with next to no reservation.

Jacob, you’ll have to forgive me for being rendered speechless in that moment. It’s just that we had a plan, a very specific plan, in the case of this happening, a plan that your mother never voiced any objection to before this moment. I asked her, in much coarser words than I’ll use here, why. She argued that she’d had time to think about it and just could not bring herself to go through with it, a response that only added to my confusion and growing anger. Your mother had never been conservative, about this or anything else. Why, I asked, was she now?

She told me that she already felt a connection to you, a deep, spiritual connection. That was ridiculous, I laughed. She was only a few weeks along. How does one feel a “deep, spiritual connection” to a glob of tissue, one they had an expressed agreement with their lover to rid themselves of in the event that it ever came to be there in the first place? I’m not proud of that reaction, Jacob. In fact, I’m rather ashamed of it now. Though I’m quite liberal in regard to the politics of this issue, I know in my heart that my reaction was cold and could even be considered cruel. But I was desperate. I was already putting most everything I ever worked for, in both my professional and personal lives, on the line just by being with your mother. We were already living dangerously. Her having my child could well take that danger to an even higher and quite possibly devastating level.

I begged, pleaded with her to, if she had ever really loved me at all, to reconsider. But she was adamant. She told me, over the course of a multiple hour’s long series of screaming matches, hurt feelings, and inerasable word choices, that she’d had enough. Enough of being “strung along”, enough of being “taken advantage of”, enough of having to sacrifice her own happiness and comfort for mine. She said she needed something for herself, “for once”, and if I was unwilling to be it, you could–and would–take my place.

I told her (among many other choice things, for your sake and mine, I will not go into further detail about) she was selfish. She told me (also among many other things I will not get into here) that I was the selfish one. We ended up parting ways, only agreeing that we hated each other and regretted ever knowing one another in the first place.

Jacob, I just want you to know that I didn’t mean that. Not then, not now. Though I’m sure she’d laugh incredulously at this now, I loved your mother, really, deeply loved her. And a part of me, in spite of myself, still does, a part of me that will probably always be in pain over her, the throbbing ache that comes from the complete inability to access all that might’ve been between us, in another time, another place, a different set of circumstances, but not now and never, ever, again.

Of course I realize that, by the time you get to read this, your mother may have already told you a different story, given you a far different impression of all this than I’m giving you here. I can’t say I’d blame her for that. I know I don’t deserve your respect or understanding. I don’t even deserve to know you. But that doesn’t dull the pain of the knowledge of the fact that I never will.

Jacob, if you ever receive this letter and manage to get through it, I hope you are able to come away from it with at least some understanding of my side of the story. Why I said and did the things that I have, why things are the way they are. You might come away from this concluding that I’m just a sad, selfish man. I couldn’t blame you at all for doing so. But please at least try to understand that I made the decisions I did, even if in retrospect, for you, your mother, and your life as much as I did for myself, my family, and mine. Someday, if she has not already, your mother will probably meet someone else, someone without all the strings attached to his name, someone ultimately better than me. Someone who will be the father to you I never was and never can be. And I’ll be history.

Of course, all this is contingent on me sending this letter your way or actually finishing it..
[align=center]\\\"It's all for love. L.O.V.E\\\" ♥--Michael Jackson [/align] [align=center]We miss you... [/align]


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To Jacob, On His First Birthday

Post by Shannon » Sun Sep 20, 2009 3:49 pm

OMG... Tara, you've greatly touched me with this letter. So tragic, so intense, yet so unbelievable beautiful. Amazingly well written. :8-26-03respect: I feel a bit at a loss for words, hit me that parts of it reminded me sorta of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. But I'm probably totally wrong. :lol :P

Thank you, Leah

Thank you for everything,


...My Fanfiction...

You Are My Life

...My Website dedicated to Michael...[/align]

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To Jacob, On His First Birthday

Post by InspirationMoonwalks » Sun Sep 20, 2009 4:34 pm

Thank you so much, hon! I am so flattered that you liked it! :wub: It means so much, especially coming from such an incredible writer as yourself. :8-26-03fruits_apple

Yes, you could say that Bill and Monica--or at least a Bill and Monica like situation--came to my mind as I was writing it, as the protagonist is a politico. :P He's actually kind of a composite of political men (I had several in mind :p) And Jacob's mother could fairly be construed as a composite of political mistresses....;) But Mr. Big from Sex and the City was also an inspiration (as I alluded to within). :P

But each person can take away from it what they will...or at least that was my goal. :)

Thank you so much for your feedback! What were your favorite parts or the parts that reminded you of that? :8-26-03fruits_apple

Now I just hope that my professor and class will like it even half as :unsure:
[align=center]\\\"It's all for love. L.O.V.E\\\" ♥--Michael Jackson [/align] [align=center]We miss you... [/align]


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