Sunday, May 6, 2018

FAMILY AFFAIR


Tiffany has known she’s not her father’s daughter for a long time now. If anyone can recollect their first memory, Tiffany’s would be of that time when she overheard her aunt say, “Zariah can say whatever she wants, but the more she denies it, the more Tiffany looks like Rocky. Shit, she’s the spitting image of Rocky Junior.”  At the moment, she didn’t know what it meant, but time has made it clear. Everyone else in the family, and even the family friends, have had their part in clarifying the fact.

As a nineteen-year-old stay-at-home mother of twins, Zariah lived a busy life while her high school sweetheart Thomas worked two jobs to support their growing family. It wasn’t a bad deal. They had a small two-bedroom apartment in lower Manhattan; they had proper meals and clothes, and bills were paid. Thomas provided the necessities and a little more. Even though he ended up dropping out of high school a few days before graduation for a promotion at his job, he’s managed to make ends meet and become an example to follow for his younger brother.

So they weren’t the smartest kids, as their parents told them, but they made the decision they thought fit for themselves and dealt with the consequences as they popped up. Zariah was able to finish high school and Thomas was very proud of her. Thomas was able to secure his full-time job in the morning and looked for a part time gig in the evening. Twins are no joke, Zariah kept saying, as they run in her family and grew up surrounded by a couple sets. She was prepared, and she was doing the best she could, but she was tired. The world around her was changing. It was no longer the late 90s. it was the expected crazy 2000s, and she felt casted away, not longer part of the world. “It’s so much more than diapers and drool, bottles and binkies…I just… I am drowning here!”. That’s when Richard, also known in the streets as Rocky, came along. He was a friend of a friend of a friend of Zariah that managed to cross the loophole and stick around. Rocky was always there when Zariah needed to vent about the boring days she has had. Rocky was the window for Zariah to the outside world, her touch of reality; he was fresh air to the monotonous routines he was living. Thomas knew she was feeling a little out of it, and tried to take her and out and enjoy of date nights, but it just seemed not enough for her. Thomas knew of Rocky’s existence, and he was okay with letting him orbiting Zariah.  It was a relief for him, he confessed some day to someone in a drunken night. “If I am not able to make her happy, maybe someone else will. Maybe she’ll leave me and I’ll be happy too. Maybe we will both be happy once she realizes that Rocky is just a confirmation that she and I are meant for each other.”

 There was no argument and no conversation about it when Thomas’s brother caught Rocky and Zariah kissing. There was no surprise and no questions when Zariah gave Thomas the news that she was pregnant. Rocky was no longer in the picture. Thomas and Zariah had come a long way, and the twins were getting to the age where they need both parents, so they stayed together. No one in Thomas’ family made any comments to his face or around his presence. He was being the man he was and raising his still growing family. His decision was respected and left alone. After all, the expected child was not at fault. They all knew he knew they knew, and Zariah knew they knew, but no one said a word.

Time is a bitch, and it always brings everything up at some point. Tiffany was six when she first heard the truth. It made no sense, and Thomas was still Daddy to her. Today at seventeen, Thomas is still Daddy for Tiffany, and she doesn’t mind what anyone else has to say. Not even now as she snaps a picture with her half-brother Rocky Jr, posts such picture to her social media captioned, “I found the man of my life. So happy to be her fiancĂ©e!”