i shouted the word in my mind; i couldn't believe what i saw. he wasn't supposed to be here... not now...
'you knew this day would come, danielle; nothing lasts forever.'
there stood my brother, my loving, endearing, sweet brother. who would do anything for me. even after years of ignoring phone calls, sending back letters, running from place to place...
'it all happened so fast, there was no way we could've reached you in time...'
my brother even went through the trouble to find me and tell me in person, that our mother was gone...
'i'll try to help you in any way that i can...'
leaving me to take care of my four-year-old son, michael.
i couldn't breathe, i couldn't think, i couldn't even stand on my own two feet; my knees buckled and i collapsed into my brother's arms; as he caught me i finally saw the stranger i ran from so long ago. his large, bright green eyes stared into mine with a certain wonder and curiosity; his small frame was shaking from the harsh winds of New York and he had nothing on but a light blue windbreaker. i could've sent them away with nothing but 50 bucks to buy the child a better jacket and that would've been the end of it. i could've shouted,'no! you will not take my one chance at happiness away from me!' but i couldn't. i'd become more selfish since meeting bruno, but not heartless. bruno would just have to wait.
'let's step inside' i said slowly, leading them into the lobby of my apartment building.
all i could think at this point was, 'what would bruno say?', 'what would bruno think?'; i couldn't just go up to him and say: 'hey bruno, did i ever mention i had a four-year-old kid that i ran from just months after he was born? well, i'm sure we can just be one big happy family!' no way in hell would that ever happen. i glanced upward as i thought of what bruno might be doing at that very moment; playing the guitar he must've found by now in my living room, singing to himself in the shower, sleeping...dreaming. he was so different...i could simply stare at him all day with the greatest satisfaction i might've ever acheived in life...
'...danielle? danielle, what are you looking at?' my brother was looking at me like he was frustrated. i felt the smile on my lips and brought myself back to reality, pulling my lips into a straight line.
'danielle, i came here to try to make this easier on you; i know that this, seeing me and michael in person, was the only way you could accept this without running from it. but you simply won't listen-' he got up from the chair he was sitting in and was walking towards the door.
'no, no more waiting! i'm sick and tired of waiting on you, danielle! waiting on you to call back, to come home, to grow up! no, you're on your own! he ran out of the building and jumped into the nearest taxi. i called after him as loudly as i could, but he wasn't coming back. i felt a small tug on my sleeve.
'mommy?' michael asked. i had to remember that he had only seen me in pictures from the family scrapbook; what broke my heart was the fact that he only knew my voice from the answering machine on my phone that spoke to him in a monotone, cool voice as i ignored his calls. he didn't know who i was. mommy was simply the only thing he was trained to call me when he saw my face... it had nothing to do with fondness or love. he was asking to make sure i was mommy. a single tear trickled down me cheeck
'yes baby, mommy.' he walked over to me silently and lifted his arms into the air. i picked him up and carried him to the elevator. i couldn't do this alone...
we got to the apartment and i heard something through the door. the guitar. i smiled slightly and put michael down. we stood by the door and listened. i could barely make out the words bruno was singing as he strummed the guitar:
today i don't feel like doing anything, i just wanna lay in my bed, don't feel like pickin' up my phone, so leave a message at the tone, because today i swear i'm not doing anything...
i opened the door slowly and peeked in. bruno was on the couch, still in nothing but his boxers and fedora, gently strumming the midnight blue accoustic guitar that usually rests on a stand next to my tv. i watched him quietly until he stopped and saw that i was standing in the doorway, then quickly put the guitar on the couch next to him.
'i-uh... you were taking a long time so i-' i silenced his stammering with a soft kiss. he seemed to be the only thing in my world that came easy, a kiss, a touch, all was solved, but i knew things would soon get a lot more complicated..
'ewww' michael groaned from behind a tall plant next to my door. bruno's head snapped up and he looked all around to see where the sound came from. i knew i had to do this right, or it would all blow up in my face...
'bruno, i need to tell you something i-' i stopped. i met this man 24 hours ago and now here i was telling him about my son? i looked at bruno and was amazed. he looked so...concerned. for me. he looked about as worried as i felt... i melted inside. he would never cease to amaze me, it seemed...
'danielle, if you need to tell me something-'
'what is it?'
i let it all out. everything, from the beginning at which my son was concieved by means of two sexually curious teenagers alone in a barn, and i realized that things would slow down for me. i would marry this boy so our child wouldn't be a bastard and we would scrape by on what we made on the farm. i refused to let that happen. months after having michael, i left home and never looked back. my mother vowed to take care of him until i came back, or until she died... at this point, i'm in tears... i chased away what was left of the family that would still speak to me, and now i was alone with my child...
'i don't know what i can do with just me and michael,' i said after catching my breath.
'you two won't be alone.' he said plainly.
i scoffed at him. ' you hardly know me, bruno, why would you want to get caught up with my mess?'
' i care for you more than you think i do, or should, for that matter. danielle, you're different, you saw me when you met me, not the person you would see on tv or on a magazine...'
that's all you were to me last night, i thought. but then he got past the b.s. i put off as a personality and saw me too. we reflected each other in so many ways, it was almost scary.
'that's only 'cause i don't watch tv. i act like an old person and just don't give a damn.' he smiled at me.
'i'll help you through this. you can count on me...' the last line he said had a certain musical quality to it. i rolled my eyes.
'how come i feel like you just did a bad song pun on me using your own music?' he laughed.
'see, you know me better than you think.' i smiled and we held each other for a moment; then michael(who was exploring my large penthouse while i spoke with bruno), started to beg for food. i glanced over at bruno with a slight look of fear. he smiled and took my hand.
'don't worry, i won't leave you alone'
the cracks in my broken home were being filled...everything felt so right... then bruno's cell phone rang...