It never fails.

I’m sitting in front of the refrigerator, staring at the oblivion that lies within; legs sting from exertion from my job, but the only thing screaming out is my stomach. And it’s right there in front of me like siren and her sweet, seductive song. The cool air brushes past my sweaty face to lend me its chill. Too many things to choose from: sugared juices, lemonade-flavored sugar water, milk (which I’ll spoil with chocolate syrup and chug down after devouring a peanut butter sandwich), and so many edibles that I cannot list because none of the matter. None of them matter because what lies before me transcends everything that this refrigerator has to offer me. Because set on the bottom rack is something that is best compared to the supermassive black hole that is found in the center of our galaxy because it draws all my attention toward it. It’s an awesome sight to behold that if god tore a hole through the fabric of time and space and reached his tentacle arm down and smacked me on the back of my head, it would still come a dead second to what this refrigerator houses. I close my eyes and slowly close the door and lean up against the cold white. Goddamn chocolate cake.

It never fails.

Having a child turns your life into a television sitcom minus the canned laughter. “Shaun’s been saying stupid a lot lately,” Jeanna says. And every instance of my use of the word plays back in my head like a Family Guy cut-away. And the four letter words turn the last few years of your life into one giant clip-episode. There are times where every shit, fuck, dick, asshole, cunt, twat, chingao is autotuned to Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.” And all I can do is turn to him and watch his little fox smile crawl across his face like he’s miming to me, “You really done it this time, daddy.” And he opens his mouth and cackles, “Stoopid.” And both Jeanna and I turn address him how that is not a word we say (and I mouth, at least not in front of Mommy).

It never fails.

When your best friend also happens to be your ex-girlfriend, the woman you swore up and down you’d spend the rest of your life with and you mean to make good on that promise—even if it’s not in the sense you originally wanted it to be—there is bound to be a question you’ll find uncomfortable and awkward to discuss. And as much as you try to pretend there isn’t a heart wrenching pain thrashing beneath you sternum or that boiling anxiety deep down in your belly, you know a part of you looks pained in her eyes. If she was looking at you, anyway. After all these years of knowing her—I’m sure if you asked me to, I can map out her essence, not just her body—she doesn’t know my age. “Do you think you’d ever want another one?” she asks meaning a kid and I eye Shaun. In all my life, I never thought I’d ever be a father because I’m far too selfish and I think I proved that to her because we’re not together anymore, right? But I love Shaun, and I love being a father. But the truth is I love being Shaun’s father. But to have another kid means to split this family further. It means that I wasn’t willing to fight hard enough for Shaun to stay with his mom. And there’s that uncertainty that all broken home children feel when their father has a kid with another woman—“Why wasn’t I good enough?” Because I’ve been down that road myself, and I can’t see putting Shaun on it. I can’t imagine that look of pain, the look of betrayal in his eye. “Why wasn’t I enough for you to stay?” I mean to stay committed to my parenting partnership with Jeanna, even though I couldn’t give her that in a relationship. I want her to know that this is it for me. The only way I’ll have another child is if the woman I fall in love with already has one or two of her own. So no, I say. No. I think I’m done. And that question that stabbed my heart is now slashing at my throat and my meek voice comes out, “Why? Are you trying to say you want another?” And I think that she would never have children with more than one person, but this was before she met the new boyfriend. And while I’m happy that she’s happy, I will always love her. And knowing that she’s moving in that direction, I’ve lost her forever. And it’s not that I want to revisit our relationship, but the thought that she’s moved on while I’m still in this stasis feels a bit like being dumped all over again.

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