Trapped by Yawatta Hosby
Finia slammed her car door and walked slowly towards her home. Of course, she couldn’t relax this afternoon. Not with Miki’s red Mustang in the driveway.
The sky darkened with grey clouds as if in tune with her recent mood swing. Hesitantly, she placed her hand on the doorknob, taking a deep breath.
She entered the living room. Miki was the first to notice her; he smiled and waved.
Finia grinned weakly. “Hey everyone.”
Jahlin turned around. His eyes became wide with delight, and he smiled from ear to ear. Dropping the Wii remote, he ran to his mom and hugged her legs. “Mommy!”
Finia bent down to wrap her arms around him. He was only five years old, still at the age of adoring his parents. She wasn’t looking forward to him becoming a teenager and treating her like an embarrassing nuisance, a nagging parent instead of someone cool, who he respected.
She kissed her son on the cheek. “Did you give Laura a hard time?” She winked at her cousin, who typed away on her laptop.
“No, I was a good boy.” He pointed to the flat screen television hanging on the wall. “Daddy brought me a video game.”
“He did. Did you thank him?”
Jahlin nodded. He embraced his mom’s legs again then continued playing Mario Kart with his favorite cousin CJ.
Finia sneaked a peek at Miki. He opened his mouth to speak, so she went upstairs to her room; she wasn’t in the mood to hear what he had to say. With Miki, he always had something to say. She plopped on her bed, trying to collect her thoughts. Laura followed Finia, who had been too distracted to notice. She stood near the dresser, admiring jewelry.
“Don’t even,” Finia teased.
“Can’t a girl browse?” Laura laughed.
“How long has he been here?”
“Did he call first?”
Laura shook her head. Finia frowned. She had only made one request, and Miki blatantly ignored it time and time again. But that didn’t stop him from constantly putting demands on her like they were a couple. Like they had an emotional bond. They used to, until Miki messed everything up.
When their son was born, Miki had been respectful and listened to Finia’s wants and needs. They were parents–recently broken up from each other–trying the best they could for their newborn. They had decided to get along for the sake of raising Jahlin together.
One day, he had stopped by unannounced; he acted like Finia committed a cardinal sin because there was a guy sitting at the kitchen table fixing her computer. Miki told her that he didn’t want random guys around his son. First of all, the guy wore a Best Buy uniform. Second, she and Miki weren’t dating anymore. He had no right to dictate who she could and could not see.
Since there’s no reasoning with him when he had an idea stuck in his head, Miki continued to stop by unannounced all the time. Sometimes Jahlin was home, sometimes not. He liked to attend his granddad’s softball tournaments once in a while. Miki would wait comfortably, not caring how long it took for his son to get home. Not caring if he was bothering Finia.
She sighed. If only he hadn’t broken her trust the way he did. If only he hadn’t taken away her freedom to choose. “Did Miki say what he wanted?”
Laura nodded. “He wants to talk to you.”
“Of course he does.”
“What happened to you guys? You used to be so happy.”
“We just didn’t work out.” Finia had never mentioned how much pain he put her through. She was too embarrassed to tell her family the real reason behind their break-up; it was like she was stuck in a Lifetime Movie that she never asked to star in.
“Well, I’m taking CJ to Dairy Queen. Do you want me to take Jahlin too? It’ll give you guys some privacy.”
Finia wiped a tear from her eye. “Sure.”
Her cousin sat down and hugged Finia, trying to provide comfort. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. I’m just tired…I’ll be alright. I promise.” Finia wiggled out of Laura’s embrace and smiled weakly. She wasn’t great with expressing emotions. It’s not that she wouldn’t; Finia didn’t know how. As a child, no one ever taught her how to love or put her feelings out on the table, so Finia kept everything bottled up. She didn’t want to be an emotional robot, but she couldn’t get out of the rut she was in.
Laura stood, heading for the door. “We’ll be back.” She turned around. “You coming?”
“Yeah, just give me a minute.”
Finia couldn’t handle another outburst from Miki. Not now. Not today, but once again she was forced into something she had no desire to do. He had the conniving capability of always getting his way, yet Finia finally had the upper-hand. She would never be romantically involved with him, no matter how many times he begged.
Just listen to Miki, then he’ll leave. Yeah right, if only it was that simple. Finia crossed her bedroom, dreading what was in store for her.
He was already waiting for her at the bottom of the steps. He wiped sweat from his forehead then fidgeted with his hands. She passed him to enter the kitchen where she started putting away dishes in their proper place. Finia would listen to him, didn’t mean she had to make eye contact. Miki followed and stood behind her at the counter. They were so close that if she fell backwards, she’d trip into him. Or if he took one measly step forward, he’d be able to rub up against her. Probably a cheap trick Miki would attempt before the conversation was over.
“Can’t you look at me?” he pleaded.
“What do you want, Miki?” It wouldn’t be so bad if he wanted to discuss Jahlin, to set schedules for visitations or holidays. But nope. He always wanted to open the floodgates about Finia somehow wronging him.
Like clockwork, he spilled his requests out like she was customer service. “I wish you’d stop treating me like I don’t exist. You don’t even acknowledge my presence.”
“Since when?” Finia gripped the plate tightly then banged it inside the cabinet.
“Just now. You didn’t even say ‘hey’ to me when you came in.”
Finia rolled her eyes. She wished she could buy a ticket to Denyville where Miki was a permanent resident. “I said ‘hey everyone.’ Stop rewriting history.”
“You didn’t say it specifically to me.”
“Next time I’ll single you out as the most important person in my life,” she said.
Finia ran out of dishes to put away, and there weren’t dirty ones in the sink. With no more excuses to stay with her back towards Miki, she hesitantly turned around. She was greeted with his famous pout.
He lowered his gaze to the floor. This was a first–he was speechless. Now, Finia became nervous. What did Miki want?
“It’s been five years,” he whispered. “When are you gonna let go and forgive me?”
He actually went there. “I can forgive, but I can’t forget.”
Miki had always wanted a family. Finia didn’t want kids because she was afraid she wouldn’t be a good mother. The last thing she needed was her children thinking their mom didn’t love, support, or want them.
There was no compromising on that, so Finia dumped him, giving him a chance to find true happiness. She had loved Miki, yet it was easy to let him go. Unfortunately, he hadn’t felt the same way or acted like a rational adult. Months later, she found out she was pregnant; they reconnected again. At the doctor’s office, Finia expressed concern about the baby’s health because she had taken birth control all that time, not realizing she was pregnant.
The doctor had told her there was no trace of birth control pills in her system. Later, Miki confessed to switching her container with other pills and poking holes in the condoms to guarantee she’d get pregnant. He said he was desperate because he could sense Finia wanted to leave him.
Miki trapped her and never apologized, claiming he did nothing wrong. That she had ended up loving their son like he knew she would, so what was the problem?
There was no moving forward from that.
Finia couldn’t deny that Miki was a great father; he always spent time with Jahlin–he definitely wasn’t a weekend or summer only dad. He paid his child support on time. In fact, Miki probably nurtured their son emotionally more than Finia ever could. That’s why she didn’t become vindictive and try to make him lose custody or play silly mind games where she’d find every excuse in the book to delay Miki spending time with Jahlin.
If only he hadn’t betrayed her, then maybe they could’ve ended up one big, happy family. Finia started to believe that satisfying endings only happened in fairytales. Or in Denyville. Not the real world.
Miki rubbed his forehead as though he had a headache. “I’ve been going to therapy for the past eight months.”
Finia’s ears perked up. How did he keep it a secret for so long? Or was it a sick ploy to win her back? An act of manipulation? It’s not like Miki couldn’t lie well. “Really? I’m proud of you. It takes a strong person to admit they need help, then take the steps toward getting it,” she said.
“Thank you. That means a lot coming from you.” His eyes beamed with hope, then turned vulnerable. “I’ve brought you up a lot. You know I feel that you’re the one who got away…my therapist would like to talk to you.”
“Yes, only for a couple of sessions with me. She feels it’d be a great way to get everything off our chests.” He gulped, waiting for an answer.
“Thursdays at 6.”
“I’d need a babysitter for Jahlin. You know Laura leaves at 4.”
Miki smiled. “Already covered. My mom will watch him.”
“Okay then. I’ll go.” Maybe this would provide closure. Finia knew Miki would always be in her life (she didn’t believe that after the child reached eighteen, the parents could wipe their hands clean of each other). But hopefully, he’d understand they’d never be an item, and move on. When he’d visit, he’d only expect to see Jahlin instead of demanding Finia’s time too. In the long run, this would be beneficial for both of them. Maybe the therapist could help Finia get over her resentment.
This was a good sign that Finia agreed. She could have easily said no but she didn’t, not even hesitating. Miki knew that deep down she still had feelings for him. Hopefully, the therapist could get her to explain how he could win her back. He needed Finia and Jahlin in his life because they were his family. Plus, he didn’t want Jahlin to be the only child.
Miki grew up as an only child, and it sucked. Jahlin needed at least one or two younger siblings. It’d be too tacky to have different women as his babies’ mommas, so Miki needed Finia to cooperate. It’d only take once for her to let her guard down, and he could take advantage of her vulnerable state. He probably couldn’t get away with stealing her birth control again, but he’d find a different method. Miki needed to rush since they were in their mid-thirties. Finia’s biological clock ticked away; then again, women had babies in their forties, so maybe he had more time than he calculated.
He was doing this for her own good since she didn’t know what she truly wanted. He was doing Finia a favor by guiding her in the right direction.
Miki was grateful that she let him stay until their son’s bedtime (not that he would leave anyway). Jahlin lay under the covers while Miki read him a story. Finia sat on the other side of the bed, holding Jahlin’s hand.
“Are you two divorced?” Jahlin whispered, then hid under the covers. How did he know about that word? He was too young.
Miki peeled the covers back. “No. Why do you think that?”
“Because you don’t live with us, Daddy.”
Miki’s heart sank. He’d do everything in his power to change that, if only his son could wait a little while longer. “I did something to hurt your mommy, so until I make things right, you’ll have two homes.”
“Did you say sorry?”
Miki looked at Finia, who wiped a tear from her eye. If that’s what she wanted, he would shout it from the rooftops even if he didn’t feel remorse. He would never regret getting Jahlin–the best thing that ever happened in his life–and apologizing would imply regret. But if she needed to hear that to give him a second chance, then Miki had no problems lying. “I wish it was that simple.”
“We both love you. That will never change,” Finia said.
Jahlin smiled. “I love you too.”
They each hugged him and gave Jahlin a kiss on the forehead. “Now go to sleep,” Miki said.
“Daddy, can you check for monsters?”
Miki searched in the closet and under the bed. “Nothing’s there.”
After they left, Finia asked, “Monsters? He never asks me to check.”
“He thinks it’s a man thing to do. He doesn’t want to put you in any danger.”
Finia chuckled. “How thoughtful.”
Miki could get used to this–her not treating him like he had a disease. Finia escorted him to the door. For once, he didn’t want to overstay his welcome. He should be on his best behavior, so she’d let her guard down faster.
“Good night,” she said.
“Sweet dreams.” He grabbed her hand and planted a kiss on it. “Thanks for a wonderful evening.”
“Get out, Miki.” She shook her head, smirking.
He left, and his heart sank again when she closed the door in his face. He was trapped in this limbo stage where he couldn’t be with his family every second of the day. He desperately needed to get out soon. He glanced up at the window and noticed Jahlin peeking through the curtain. He waved, so did his son. Miki would get his happy ending that he deserved; he just needed to wait patiently.