Last night Jake and bunny were sitting out in the backyard on the step sharing a sandwich. Jake only made it back a few moments before bedtime and he always takes some time to give both kids his separate, undivided attention each day. He had a ham sandwich with pickles, and when bunny found out he begged Jake just to give up the pickles and let bunny eat them all. Jake complied and they enjoyed their time.
When they came back in Jake remarked again how surprised he is that bunny loves spicy things. He says that every time. We didn't think bunny would ever tolerate spicy foods.
It is a wonder, for when bunny was born, he had what the doctors all said was colic. He cried all the time. I knew it wasn't colic, colic doesn't affect a baby every minute of the day. When he was born Trey was carrying on with a coworker. He came home late, or not at all. I had post partum depression. I was stressed out. I had an almost two year old and a one month old baby and a wayward husband and I thought that was the end of the world. It was all I could do just to get through each single day.
One night I thought I couldn't make it at all. Bunny had been crying for probably 3 days straight, when he was awake. When he was asleep I tried to run around doing laundry, cleaning, cooking, anything because when he was awake all I did was rock him and try to keep birdie happy. I hadn't slept in over a week and I was half out of my mind. I called Trey and told him I needed him to come home on time after work, that I couldn't do it. He hung up on me.
I sat down on the floor in the hallway with both kids and cried. We were all crying. Then there was a knock at the door. It was Jacob, stopping by to say hello on his way home. He loved to stop in and see us and play with the kids when he had time. He opened the door and looked at us. I was standing there with a baby in each arm and tears running down my face and I couldn't even talk.
He came right in, got birdie bathed and down for the night and walked around with bunny lying full out on his forearm while he rubbed his back. He called a friend and had him drop off take out and diapers. He did laundry. He made another appointment for the next day at the doctors for bunny and then he held us both until we fell asleep.
I got up around 3 am when bunny woke up to be fed. I could hear Jake quietly arguing on the phone. Which meant Trey didn't come home at all.
I came out into the living room with bunny to fed him and change him just in time to hear Jacob say You have everything in the world right here. I would kill for this to be my family, for Bridget to be my wife and you're throwing it all away. You have everything, man.
Then he turned around and saw me.
He hung up the phone. And he came over and took the baby and told me to go back to sleep. He would feed bunny and put him back down, and he told me we were everything and all I had to do was say the word and we could go with him.
Oh my fucking God, I was so stubborn then.
Jacob went with us to the pediatrician the next morning and bunny started taking medication for reflux and he stopped crying at last. I pulled myself together, determined to get through this life that I had made. I was going to be more than responsible and become a martyr to make up for the absence of my husband. I told Jake I was okay and it was just a really long week and things weren't so bad.
I stood there and shook and lied through my teeth to him and he knew it. He gave me a bitter smile and said I didn't have to live like this. He begged me not to live like this. He put his arms around me and the baby and held us and I almost wavered. Almost. No one hugs me like that. Just Jacob. I had known him for 4 years by then.
He left but that was the beginning of our friendship moving into something stronger, because he became my protector. And we had that stupid conversation probably twice more before I finally did leave Trey.
It's a strange life when pickles can evoke such bittersweet memories.