The weeks up to the concert flew by extremely quickly. I was excited and weary still. I was currently getting Tyler ready to go to my parents' house for the night.
"Are you excited to see Grandma and Grandpa?" I asked him with a small smile. He was being extremely quiet today and it worried me.
"Yes" He said before falling silent again.
"Tyler…" I said softly "What's wrong baby?"
"Nothing's wrong, Mommy." He told me, not meeting my eyes.
"Tyler… I know something's bothering you. Please talk to me…." I asked in a soft tone.
He sighed and looked up "It's just…" He bit his lip and looked back down.
"It's just what sweetie…"
"Well… my school is doing this thing… it's a father-son basketball competition where two pairs will go against each other in a small game. My teacher said it was for charity. I really want to do it but… I don't have a daddy." He said, I could see his eyes well up with tears. It pained my heart. He had a father, one who would love him unconditionally and do anything for him. If he'd only known he existed…
My chest tightened at the thought and the sight of how upset Tyler was. I quickly pulled him in my arms to comfort him. This wasn't fair for him. I keep wishing things were easier, that this situation was better. I couldn't help but wonder… had I made a mistake that day?
Tyler buried his face in my shirt to muffle his tears. I rubbed his back, trying to soothe him. We stayed like this for awhile before he calmed down. He looked up at me with glassy dark eyes. "Mommy…" He started
"Yes, baby?" I asked
"Why didn't my daddy love me?" He asked. It was such a heart-breaking question. I didn't know what to say or how to react for a moment. I knew he was going to ask what happened but I hadn't expected him to say it like that.
"Tyler. Listen to me, ok?" I said
He nodded and continued to look at me with his big, dark almond eyes.
"You're daddy loved you very much. Never think he didn't." I told him. "You had one and he was an incredible individual." I ran my fingers through his soft curls in a gentle way. Tyler pulled back from me, his dark eyes still glassy. His lip was still quivering; he seemed to be searching my eyes.
"He did?" He asked in a soft, vulnerable tone.
"Yes, very much" I said. He seemed satisfied with that response and hugged me tightly again. I did what I could to comfort him until he finally relaxed. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to go to the show tonight.
We'd arrived at my parents' house just minutes ago. I needed my mom's advice at this moment. She was a wise woman and always knew what she was talking about. Iwalked in with Tyler and called out for them.
"In here Rochelle!" My mother's heavy Spanish accent rang from the kitchen. I smiled and led Tyler in the direction of her voice.
"Hello Mother" I said with a smile as we walked in, the moment we got in I saw Tyler run over and give my mother a warm hug. "How are you and dad?"
She smiled and hugged him back before answering my question "I'm wonderful but… your father has been feeling under the weather lately" She said with a sigh.
"Oh. Do you know what it is?" I asked her in a concerned tone.
"Just a fever, nothing too bad" She said with that warm smile of hers.
"Well… alright." I said "Where is he now?"
"He's resting in the bedroom"
"Oh. Well ok." I said
"Can I go watch TV Grandma?" Tyler asked then. She smiled and nodded and he darted out of the kitchen and into the living room. I shook my head in response.
"How've you been, hija?" She asked after another moment.
"I've been alright, I can't complain too much" I said
"Good." She smiled "He's getting big"
"He is" I said, smiling proudly "I remember how tiny he was when we first brought him home." I laughed at the memory and then sighed.
Mother knew then something was bothering me. "What is it dear?" She asked
"He…asked about him today." I told her, looking down.
"Oh. What did you tell him?"
"That his father loved him very much and to never think he wasn't loved" I said with another sigh "Oh mama, you should have heard the heartbreaking way he asked too"
I hadn't told my mother Michael was Tyler's father either, she figured it out by herself. She was a very intelligent woman and there was no fooling her. When I was younger, my mother always knew when I was lying. She could tell by just the way I'd say it or how I'd act when trying to explain. My eyes tended to wander here and there and even if they didn't, mother just had this way of reading people.
"I'm sure. Hija, you know you have to tell him eventually, don't you?" She asked me, pulling me from my thoughts.
"Yes I know. It's too hard to explain right now, when he gets older, I'll tell him everything." I said
"Well good." She said with a small smile "Don't you have to be going soon?"
"Oh um, yes. I still have to pick up Naomi… if I still want to go."
"Darling, go. You need a nice night out." She said
"I know but after today… I'm not sure I should leave Tyler…."
"He'll be alright, I promise. Go enjoy yourself for once"
"Alright." I walked over to her and hugged her tightly "Thank you mother. I appreciate this."
"Of course dear" She said, hugging me tightly back.
We broke our embrace then and smiled at each other. I told her I'd see her tomorrow and walked out of the kitchen. I hugged Tyler and told him to behave before leaving. I picked up Naomi and we headed to the stadium, both concert high by the time we arrived. It certainly was going to be a good night.
The show was going amazing tonight! Adrenaline coursed through me, one song after another, I felt like I was flying! The love from the audience was strong and I gave my all into the performance. The moment I dreaded most arrived though and now I had to sing the one song that touched me on such a personal level, I wasn't sure I'd get through it tonight.
I looked at the sudden dark spot in shock, seeing that Siedah had disappeared as planned. The lights darkened so that one lone spotlight shone on me. I stared for a couple of minutes before slowly turning my head into my hand. I felt the tears threatening to come as I started to sing.
She's Out Of My Life
She's Out Of My Life
And I Don't Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry
I Don't Know Whether To Live Or Die
And It Cuts Like A Knife
She's Out Of My Life
I continued singing, my eyes closed as I felt the music coursing through me. I could hear all the cheering as I went.
It's Out Of My Hands
It's-" I cut off there to talk to the audience. "Can I come down there?" I asked.
They roared their approval and I walked down the steps to the small platform.
To Think For Two Years She Was Here
At this point, it was time to call one of the women on stage. I looked out and met an all too familiar pair of deep green eyes. Those were eyes that I knew anywhere. The eyes of the one person who understand me the woman that got away. Rochelle.
Maybe I was hallucinating or maybe I was really seeing her. I didn't know which but I did make sure she was the one brought up. I gestured to her and made sure it was specifically at her and security went and brought her up.
Her eyes showed uncertainty and as she got closer, I knew it was her. The love of my life, the one who I couldn't stop thinking about was standing there in front of me and I was speechless. I couldn't bring myself to continue to sing at the moment. I looked at her in awe, was it possible that she'd grown more beautiful since the last time I saw her?
I wrapped my arms around her and hugged her tightly. It was like God had sent me a personal piece of heaven and I was never letting it go again, I knew that.
"I've missed you so much…." I whispered in her ear, it was the best moment of my entire life.