I watched the bubbles of boiling milk. Pop pop. They formed and died, formed and died. Daniel waddled into the kitchen with his finger in his mouth. I beamed.
“Come on Daniel, you shouldn’t be in the kitchen, you know.”
Brrrring. The doorbell. Wow, mom was early today.
I sighed and lifted Daniel into my arms. I pulled the door open – oh god. Brad?! Since when is this boy so involved?
“Um. Hi,” He said. He kept looking down. I tried to catch his gaze. When I did, my heart jumped a little. Why did it always do that? Huh? He’d ruined me. Left me. When I most needed him. But then again... he didn’t leave me alone. In fact, he left me with what was now my sole reason for living. Daniel.
I found Brad’s eyes devouring his son in my arms. Daniel suddenly started reaching out for Brad, giggling and drooling. Brad’s face burst into the biggest smile I’d ever seen him make.
“I think,” he gushed, “I think he wants me to hold him.”
Hmph. As if I was going to let him hold my son.
“Amanda, come on, please?” He said, still gushing.
I didn’t move.
“Please, Amanda.” He said, sounding genuinely desperate. And Daniel at this point was starting to wail. I gave in and carefully placed Daniel in Brad’s arms.
Danny’s soft chubby hands were grabbing his father’s nose. Brad laughed his hollow laugh; the stupid pompous laugh I fell in love with two years ago. Was I falling for it again? No. No Amanda. Snap out of it. Oh just look at them. Grabbing at each other’s noses. Giggling. Laughing. Wait no. What’s happening? That’s my son! Brad broke all relation with Daniel the day he left me. He had no right to even see Daniel.
“Bed-time, Danny!” I said firmly, taking him from Brad. Danny looked as if he was about to protest, but I waggled my finger and frowned a little. This always seemed to shush him. I began to close the door.
“Wait Amanda...” Brad began, “ I wanted to come down here to tell you...”
“Yes?” I said impatiently. Jesus, Brad looked so cute when he was confused. NO! No. I was not going to fall into that trap again.
“I broke up with Marcia.”
“Oh. I'm sorry.”
I stood there, not knowing how to react. I filled the air with silence.