The phone rang.
On the other end was a voice I've heard so many times before. It's been some time since I've talked to that voice, but there were many years when it would be the first and last voice I heard each day.
I didn't know why she was calling me. I guess I didn't care. She was a part of my life I had left behind, nothing more than a fond memory of a more innocent time. We talked for a little bit, just like old times. We always could talk to each other. We were always better friends than relationship partners. Even during the worst times of our relationship, we still had that bond of friendship. It might be more distant since we haven't spoken in quite some time, but it's still there.
After about ten minutes of chatting about some random things, she paused for a moment. The next words out of her mouth would have scared me to death eight years ago.
"Mike... I'm pregnant."
During our time together, those words were quite literally the worst thing she could have ever said to me. We were barely out of our teens and still in college. Neither of us had a dime to our names. An unplanned pregnancy would have altered our lives forever.
She's 28 now. She's been living with her boyfriend for over a year. He's a big city lawyer and makes probably close to twice as much money as I do. The pregnancy wasn't planned, but seeing as they're both adults and financially stable, it's not like the timing was bad.
I heard those words, and I was hit with a wave of emotions like I've never felt before. I was happy, proud, sad, nervous, and scared all at the same time. I congratulated her, and we talked about the whole thing. We spent nearly an hour on the phone just talking and laughing and speculating about her unborn child. It was a good conversation... Really nice.
I hung up the phone, and I couldn't stop smiling for a while. I was happy for her. Overjoyed actually. She's an incredible person, and she's gone through so much in her life. She's one of those women that were just born to be a mommy. She loves kids and loves caring for people. For the last few years, she had been struggling with physical and emotional problems (that she attributes to our breakup). To hear that she finally got her life together and was going to have a baby made me really happy.
Happiness was the predominant emotion, but there was some sadness and regret not to far from the surface. When we were together, we often talked about "our kids." I wanted a girl. For one, the idea of having "daddy's little girl" really appealed to me. Secondly, since my girlfriend was so small (and I'm not exactly a big guy either), I knew whatever children we had together would grow up to be small. It's easier for a girl to be short than it is for a guy. Short, petite girls are cute. Short guys... not so much.
Back then, I always thought that whenever she finally did say the words, "I'm pregnant," I'd be the first one to hear. I'd be the one there to hug her and hold her. I'd be the proud and happy father-to-be. I'd get to tell all my friends "we're having a baby!" I'd get to go to the ultrasound appointments and take care of her.
As I type this, I'm holding back tears. Not because I wish she was still with me and having my baby, but because it's a moment I may never get to share with someone. I may never get that moment of pure joy that you get when you first learn that the woman you love more than life itself is having a baby with you.
Occasionally, I've written about how I don't really know what I want out of my life. I've said that I'm not even sure if I ever want to be in a relationship. Well, times like today remind me of who I really am... Who I'll always be.
I'm that proud father kind of guy. I want to teach my son how to throw a baseball and shoot a basketball. I want to bring my daughter to her dance recital. I want to help my kids with their homework, watch their baseball games, see their faces as they unwrap gifts on Christmas.
There are so many dead beat dads out there. So many guys that don't deserve to have children, but they have several from several different women. Then there's me... Someone with all the traits you'd look for in a good dad, but there's a good chance I'll never be one. And it'll be such a waste.
Every day I look in the mirror and I see an image I hardly recognize anymore. The hair is getting greyer, and the hairline isn't where it was when I was 18. The fine lines, wrinkles, and saggier skin remind me that I'm not young anymore. I don't feel any different than when I was 18, but people sure don't look at me the same way. I regularly get referred to as "sir." No one cards me when buying alcohol. Why would they? I'm nearly 30 years old.
I'm nearly 30, and I'm still alone. I've had one real relationship in my life, and that one ended 4 years ago. As the years go by, instead of becoming more refined and sophisticated, I've become simpler. I'll never wow a girl. I'll never sweep someone off her feet. I'm boring. The only way I'm getting a girl is through pure dumb luck.
For now, I sit in this barren room in my newly renovated condo and type my thoughts out to strangers because there's no one else I can talk to. I'm still happy for my ex, which goes to show that I really don't have romantic feelings for her anymore. I just hope one day I'll get to share that moment with someone, even though I know that the chances of that happening keep getting smaller and smaller.