She had not expected the phone call and thought twice about picking up the receiver. The voice on the other end triggered memories from the past. There were still words to be said, explanations, excuses, feelings and attempts to resolve more than twenty years of hurt.
Things had changed and she was no longer the victim in that story. The dynamic had changed and she had forgiven herself and everyone else a long time ago. The judgement, the guilt and the rejection had been crippling at the time but now as she looked at the picture of her daughter, she knew it had all been worth it.
Her parents had been ashamed of her and wanted her to abort the baby. Tony would not accept the fact that he was the father and accused her of sleeping with others. To justify himself, he told all their friends that she had tried to trap him with her story and that it could be a number of other guys who had gotten her pregnant. She had never went with anyone else but they believed him because he was the only one doing the talking. She had been shunned by her family, friends and the community.
Today she listened to someone she had once considered her best friend; before he walked away from her life because he was too young to accept the responsibility of a child. She had lost touch with him when she left her small town and went to stay in a woman's shelter in the city. It was here that she remained even after Stacie was born. The center had needed a cook and she was willing to learn.
Somehow after all these years, he had found her and knew that she had a daughter. He wanted to talk about it because maybe he was the father and he had rights. She listened to him and told him that he had no rights to what he so cruelly denied. Sometimes in life choices are made and the past cannot be undone. If at some point, her daughter wanted to find him, she would let him know, until then, he did not exist.
She had been cold and direct with him because she did not want anything to interrupt her daughter's plans to become a lawyer. As a single mother, she had scrimped and saved money all her life to make sure that she could have a good education and a better life. She was still living in the small two bedroom apartment in the basement of the shelter because it was cheap and she didn't need to buy a car to travel to work. She was still the cook earning just enough to pay for their small life. But her daughter would have more.
It was almost four o'clock and time to go and check on the pot roast. Three new unwed mothers had came in this week and they needed to eat something healthy and have someone to listen and understand them.