Things I've Never Admitted To You
By Jason Morton
I made you a promise once that I didn't understand at the time. However, it seemed to matter more than anything in the world. When I made the promise, I couldn't have known why you asked it of me. So, on this day, your birthday, and before it is mothers day, I am going to share things with you that I haven't shared before.
In high school, it drove you crazy trying to figure me out. To start with, you shouldn't have tried. Not that you shouldn't have cared to try, but frankly, you weren't smart enough to figure out my secrets.
To start with, I managed my 56-day run with a 3.5 GPA. The trick to that was my accomplices. Nobody could manage to pull something so intricate off without having accomplices, willing or unwilling as they may have been. The beautiful part about a scam of such an elaborate nature is that all you need are assets. Being the son of a sociopath, the ability to manipulate assets is something that I learned from you. I'm frankly surprised that I didn't end up a serial killer.
You once asked me how I got caught. I got cocky. That was it. I don't know why you found it so hard to believe when I said it was my own cockiness that got me caught. At 16 I was often the victim of my own hubris.
Yes, I should have taken the deal. Telling the school how I managed to pull it off would have kept me on track to graduate on time. But, if I had shared how I pulled off the historic run and who I used to make it work, it would have hurt other people. I still hold the record for the most days of school ditched before anyone caught on.
Then there was the wedding. I never told you about my last-minute jitters. You wouldn't have believed me. All those years sitting around, eating candies, and watching your soaps would have made this story seem like something that played out on ABCs General Hospital, or maybe that other one you loved, The Young and the Shameless.
You knew I had my doubts. Like everyone else, you assured me that it was all in my head, and I was letting my insecurities get the best of me. It was the wedding from hell. It was doomed from the first day. As it turns out, I should have followed my instincts and walked away from Jen. She was every bit the scandalous little ^**$! that I believed her to be. I'm not blaming anyone else because I didn't follow my gut.
Besides, I had a last-minute option pop up on the day of the wedding. Well, three days before the wedding, to be precise. Cherie tried to stop the wedding and gave it one hell of a try.
It all started about three days before the wedding. It was the first time I ever got roses from a girl. Surprise, there were six long-stemmed, red roses on the hood of my car when I got off work.
It was the day before the wedding when Cherie came to the store and found me. She followed me around, trying to convince me that I didn't love Jen and that Jen would only hurt me if I went through with the wedding. She knew about Chris, knew I could never leave him with Jen, and was willing to be his mom. After seeing how Grandpa was with Grandma, I couldn't "hurt" Jen that way. Loyalty is a heavy burden.
I was late to the church the next morning. It wasn't long, but you all noticed. Cherie was there. She found me in the parking lot. It was her last "hoorah" as we got closer to the wedding. I still remember what she was wearing, a red top and jeans. She had a flower in her dark brown hair. I can still see it as she looked up at me, a tear in her eye as I told her I was marrying Jen. She swore she was going to interrupt the wedding because she knew that I loved her more than Jen.
When the preacher asked the scariest question of the day, my heart nearly lept as I saw her at the doors to the chapel. She stood there, silently, as she waved goodbye to me. She was right. I did love her more than Jen. I loved them both and loved them dearly, but my wedding was me taking a gamble on a best friend that I loved and someone with whom I shared a son.
How wrong was I? Completely. When Jen left, it wasn't just the affairs. The day she told me she wanted a divorce was unlike anything I could imagine, and proof that I didn't pick intelligent women when I was younger. I know she was the one that you had hoped I'd be with because you and my sperm donor didn't survive the trials of marriage but Jen was evil, pure, and simple. Don't forget, kind of stupid as well.
I'll never forget the day I bought my first duty weapon. I didn't want to look incompetent on the range. I brought it home and was sitting on our bed when Jen came into the room. I'd been practicing handling my new .357 Magnum. The girl you had hoped for, less than five months after we were married, announced she wanted a divorce while I was holding a loaded gun in my hands. It came out of nowhere. I didn't see it coming. To make matters worse, when I asked why she told me that she'd used me to get away from her parent's abuse. The words, "I never loved you, to begin with, I just used you to get away from mom and dad," stung worse than any hurt I'd ever felt.
When she finally realized what she had just done, the ignorance of picking that moment, she took off running for her life. I never admitted this before, but in that moment and in that brief period of unadulterated pain and rage, I pictured myself shooting her. It was so vivid, that I could see the sites of that gun aimed at her. But, who would have taken care of my son?
As today is your birthday, and mother's day is right around the corner, I think about a promise that you asked me to make to you. Do you remember? I struggled at first, but eventually, I gave in and swore I would see to it that the job was done when it was time.
Well, I've hated you for a long time, because of that promise. I would come to know why, in 2014. That was seven years later. In 2022, almost eight years have passed since fulfilling that promise. You chose me to make sure that your life would be ended because I could bear the weight of that decision. You didn't have faith that anyone else would be able to do the job. Maybe they couldn’t have, maybe they could’ve, but I made sure your final wishes were carried out despite the doctors not being able to say if it could have gone differently.
It's been eight years and I've never said these words to you because you're not here. So, happy birthday, and Happy Mother's Day. I'm at peace with it all, and now you know why I never dared to remarry or let myself fall in love again. I was strong enough to make the hard calls. I guess that I owe that to you.
About the author
I have always enjoyed writing and exploring new ideas, new beliefs, and the dreams that rattle around inside my head. From the current state of the world to the fantastical ideas of science I've enjoyed exploring them. Time to share them.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
Heartfelt and relatable
The story invoked strong personal emotions
Original narrative & well developed characters