A Mother's Priority | Chapter 5
the priorities of being a mother overrules the priorities of being the love of someone's life
Lola was almost six years old. Six. I could not believe that it's been six years since I received my little bundle of joy. Even Tate couldn't believe that his little girl has been with us for almost six years now.
Yes. Tate's still here. Barely. But he's still here. He constantly reminds me of that daily.. how he never left.. how he always stayed by my side to be a father.. while also being away for weeks at a time, only to come back into Lola's life as if nothing happened. It's not like she hasn't questioned where her father was all those absent nights. Sometimes he'll even come back to us smelling of a perfume scent I couldn't recognize, but anytime I question it, he always tells me I'm just being paranoid. But he's still here. He's still staying by my side. Last time Lola saw her father was a month ago. He promised her he'd pick her up from school.. yet I got a phone call two hours after school let out from her teacher informing me that my daughter still hasn't been picked up. I waited up all night for him to come home.. waited up to confront him about his daughter.. waited up just to make sure he was still alright. I waited up for him. For weeks. Afraid that the next time I was to see him would be at his funeral. Afraid that the last time Lola was able to see him would've been her last chance. Afraid that his last words to his beloved daughter would've been that of a broken promise; something that could've broken her in the years yet to come.
But sure enough.. one month later.. there he came. Just waltzed into the house at 3am, drunk off his ass and unable to stand up straight. My first discovery of his limp body sprawled out across the linoleum was when I came down for a glass of water, and yes, I did drag his heavy body down the hall towards our room so his daughter wouldn't get a chance to walk in on him looking the way that he had. You would think that after six years of this, I'd find a better way to take care of him but.. I tend to just wing it as I did in the past.
Once he had been fully on the bed, I sat next to him and just stared down at his unconscious body. He had a strange odor coming off of him; pretty understandable considering he had worn the same exact outfit as he did the last time he was home. "You asshole," I said to him, "Do you realize how terrified I was these past few weeks?" His body shifted a little but he didn't wake. "I was afraid that you'll never come back home." I told him, "I was afraid that Lola would have never gotten a chance to see you again. Tate, how could you? How could you do this to us?" A tear slid down my cheek, "You betrayed your own daughter, Tate. She trusted you. She believed you. You promised to pick her up. Tate, you promised her. How could you?" I slammed my hand against my pillow before the tears just started spilling out, "I thought you'd be different, Tate. I thought you'd be different than him." I found myself laying down on the bed next to his body, holding onto my pillow as it caught the tears that had fallen. I really believed that you'd be different than him, Tate.
By the time I woke up, Tate's side of the bed was empty. The bed had been made up on his side and the pillow was fluffed just the way I liked it. Before I even thought to make up my own side, I quickly crawled on out of bed and headed out towards the kitchen where I saw Tate at the stove, sipping from his I [heart] My Daughter mug that Lola got him last Father's Day, as Lola sat at the dining room table chowing down on some pancakes that had been suffocated in syrup.
"Good morning, mommy!" Lola practically shouted towards me, "Daddy let me pour my own syrup."
"I can see that." I grabbed the bottle and placed it back in the fridge before turning to face Tate, who had been shielding his eyes from any light shining in through the blinds. He had even shut off every light in the house. "I've told you about that, Tate." I told him but he shushed me.
"It was the only way to shut her up." He rubbed his temple, "I couldn't stand the talking."
"You think that had anything about what you were up too the last few weeks?" I asked him.
"I had business to take care of."
Bullshit. "What kind of business?"
"Just business." He answered, "It's none of your business."
"You were supposed to pick Lola up from school," I told him, "a few weeks ago."
"Yeah." Lola hopped into the conversation, "I had to sit at school with my teacher waiting only for mommy to walk through the doors."
"Something came up." He said, short and quick.
Lola was standing by him now, "Was it more important than me?"
"Daddy?" Lola tugged at his shirt.
"Lola," I went to pull her away, "let's leave daddy alone right now."
Lola nodded, starting to follow me back towards the hall that lead to her room before running back to Tate once more. "I missed you, daddy." She said before wrapping her arms around him.
"Goddamn it Lola. I told you to stop!" Smack!
"Tate!" I screamed out, yanking my daughter away from him as he stormed back into the bedroom as the door slammed behind him. "Lola," I bent down to her level, "are you okay?"
"Daddy hit me." Her face was bright red and her lip was quivering.
"Daddy's just having a bad day."
"Daddy hit me, mommy." She repeated.
I pulled my sleeve over my hand to wipe the tears off her cheek before pulling her into a hug, "Let's just leave daddy alone for today. He needs to be left alone for today."
"Good." I cupped my hands over her cheeks so that she can be the huge smile imprinted on my face, "Now go finish your pancakes and maybe after we could watch a movie together or something."
After she sat back down and began eating once again, I made my way back towards the bedroom. Tate just hit his little girl. He's never hit his little girl. Never. There was no way I was just going to let this slide. We needed to talk.