Dear J, you may remember that not long ago, I found out about a certain daughter’s prom night. Blue and I haven’t had much of a chance to talk about it since then, though, because of the birth of Little Leo.
Speaking of the baby, he has grown by leaps and bounds these past few weeks. I can see both Leela and myself in his features and I can’t wait to watch him grow up, to see what he becomes. He’s a little stinker at night still, but Leela said that’s normal. She said Ruby didn’t sleep through the night until she was about eight weeks old. Little Leo has only been with us for a month, so I guess it’s normal that he wakes up every few hours.
Each day brings something different that I didn’t notice before. Just yesterday, he rolled over all by himself! I think he’s pretty strong even though Leela says that’s normal, too.
I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted lately, but I haven’t said anything because that seems like it would be unfair to my wife since she actually gave birth and has to feed the baby. Even though I get up during the feedings, it’s not like I’m really helping or anything except to see my boy’s face again and to support the woman I love.
Today, while Leela and Little Leo were napping, I decided it was time to talk to Blue for real instead of just the usual niceties we’ve exchanged. After school, she had to work at the bakery, but I caught her before she left.
“I don’t want to talk about prom,” she said almost as soon as I opened my mouth.
“I think we need to anyway,” I insisted. “I want to know if what happened that night has to do with the way you’ve been acting.”
“Now you’re just making it weird.”
“I care about you. I’m worried about you. Can’t you see that? I want you to be able to talk to me.”
“How can I talk to you?” she asked, her eyes welling with tears. “I could see how ashamed you were of me and I would rather just forget you even knew about it or that it happened.”
I tried my best sympathetic look before I spoke, looking into her eyes as lovingly as a dad could. “I’m not ashamed of you. What I felt when I found out was betrayal that you lied to me…. disappointment that you’d let a boy use your body as a playground because love wasn’t involved…. concern that you did something too soon before you were ready. I love you, Blue.”
If I was hoping she would understand what I was saying and that my words would calm her fears and soothe her, I was really, really wrong. Instead, she blew up at me.
“You just think you know everything, don’t you? Well, maybe what you didn’t know was that I’m not the perfect little princess daughter you thought I was. Maybe you need to shorten my pedestal! You have absolutely no idea what I’ve been through or why I’ve done the things I’ve done!”
“Then tell me already! Have I not been here for you? Waiting for you to finally clue me in?” I yelled right back at her.
Abruptly, she was still. In a quiet voice, she said, “I had a huge crush on Rob for a year and a half. When he asked me to prom, I thought I was dreaming. I slept with him because things got carried away. He asked me to be his girlfriend and I got swept up in the moment.” I was silent, staring at my feet as she paused. “I was so happy, I thought Rob and I would be together forever. We’d graduate, go to the same school then get married. But after that night, he never spoke to me again. Then the rumors started. Rob bragged all over the place about how he’d had sex with someone ‘famous’.”
Rubbing my eyes, I whispered an obscenity as I thought about
beating the shit out of Rob talking to Rob’s parents.
“And see… I can’t stand the look on your face, Daddy.”
Although I tried my best, the look on my face didn’t change. My heart was breaking for my daughter and there was no way I could hide it.
After a few moments, I managed to say, “You’re going to run in to a lot of people that will try to use you because you’re my daughter. And I’m sorry for that. It’s not what I wanted for you but we have to deal with it. Together. I really wish you had told me about all of this.”
“How could I? I told you now and wish I hadn’t.”
“I can understand why you say that, but it will help both of us in the long run if you tell me what’s going on. I don’t know how to impress upon you that you can talk to me about anything; even the difficult things.”
Blue wiped a stray tear from her cheek. “I love you, too, and I’ll try to do better.”
“Me, too,” I answered. “Come with me.”
Together, we walked out onto her balcony. There was a boat on the water and the air smelled piney like the little tree shaped air freshener in Blue’s car. A small breeze brought with it the faint aroma of someone’s barbecue.
“I wanted to tell you something because you’re old enough now. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m ready to pass the reigns on to you.” I stopped speaking as a general weakness came over me. Steadying my hand on the balcony railing, I thought perhaps I was more tired than even I had thought.
“I’ve really been trying to improve my writing skills,” she said.
Smiling a little, I put my arm around her. “No matter what’s happened, I’m really proud of you and always will be.”
From the Diary of Blue Valentine Capra (written in the weeks following Leo’s Entry):
Dear Diary, yep that’s him and they’re calling him Little Leo. I know I should think he’s cute and everything but instead, I think he’s kind of wrinkled and homely. When I write what I’m thinking down, I begin to wonder if there is a part of me that is missing. In my soul, I mean. Because how could I say that about a baby?
As usual, this line of thinking has brought about feelings regarding my real mother, Chrissy. Had she thought these things about me? Is that why she dumped me off at Grandma and Grandpa’s without even a glance back? Is that why, now that she was sort of back in my life, she really showed no interest? Because all she could remember was the ugly baby I’d been and how I’d kept her up all the time?
Everyone always stands around him cooing and making such a fuss all the time. Sure, we did that when Thea and Phyllis were born. In fact, I even joined in, as amazed by them as anyone. But after his initial arrival, I just couldn’t understand why this behavior continued. He wasn’t the first baby ever born and he wouldn’t be the last. (Although I did hope he would be the last one born in our family!)
First off, he cries like clockwork every four or five hours, day and night. Talk about annoying! And when he messes his pants, well, I’ve just never smelled anything so repulsive.
No one else even seems to notice how disgusting he is. He could smell to high heavens and they would just continue their cooing and smiling.
I was so incredibly tired of hearing the words, “adorable,” “precious,” and “Little Leo!”
To be honest, though, it has crossed my mind that I wouldn’t even feel this way if the kid wasn’t my half-brother. The way my dad looks at him makes me want to cry. I mean, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who the favorite child is now.
When Dad looks at Little Leo, his eyes go all soft and glinty, not like he’s crying, but like he could if he was pushed a little because the baby is just that great. There’s such adoration in the gentle way Dad talks to him and holds him that it cuts me to the core, ripping me apart and wishing it was me.
Why couldn’t he have had this with me? Then this would be nothing new for him, it would just be another baby, and he wouldn’t act this way in front of me.
To clarify, I don’t think Dad is purposely trying to hurt me with all of this Little Leo-this and Little Leo-that. But it does tear my heart in two just the same.
And this has been going on non-stop since the baby was brought home from the hospital. Sometimes I think I just can’t take even another minute of it.
Sure, Dad and I had what he probably assumed was a good talk on the balcony the other day. He’s officially passing the torch on to me as I am the heir. Well, if I’m the heir, and so important and loved, why can’t he take five minutes and read my English paper? He used to read all of them. Now, I think he doesn’t even know I’m in the room if the baby is in the room, too.
So, the baby is the boy, the “junior.” A little mini-me for Dad to love and teach everything to as he grows up. When this kid gets older and starts taking an interest in everything Dad likes and does, it will be as if I no longer exist, I’m sure of it.
As each day trudges on, I realize more and more how taken my father is by this infant. I feel utterly forgotten and I think everything Dad said to me about not being ashamed of me was a lie. I think maybe he can’t stand my very presence and it makes me hate him in a way.
When I tried to talk to him again today, Leela interrupted and said that my dad was too tired to talk and needed to lie down. As if sleep is more important than his own daughter! His first child!
And what was up with that, anyway? Lately, Dad has been avoiding me with this “feeling tired,” needing rest, and his stomach feeling tender and stuff. He’s never sick, that’s why I’m sure he’s just attempting to dodge me.
You can call me bitter, or jealous, or whatever you want to call me. But you really don’t know the half of it. It’s more than the new baby. It’s this life Dad chose for me when I had no voice in it at all.
He wanted to be famous and that was the most important thing to him, I guess. But that left me with fake friends or no friends at all. A boyfriend who seduced me for bragging rights, and a bogus school award! Oh, and remember the time, Dad, that I got the lead in the musical? And I was so excited, thinking of how proud you would be to see me on stage. Then, I overheard the teachers talking about how they’d given me the part because they were sure to sell more tickets? It might even be in the papers that you had attended their meager little play! No, you don’t remember, because you never knew! There’s so much more but I think I’ll run out of paper!
To top all of this off, Little Leo isn’t going to have to put up with any of this because you’ll probably be forgotten by the time he grows up. Either that or you’ll know what to expect and handle it better.
I just can’t take this anymore. If I’m to be put off and ignored because of a little boy who can’t even speak yet, then perhaps I’m better off elsewhere!
Staring at my room, I wondered then just what I was prepared to do. My chest ached and heaved, my breath came in gulps and my tears were hot on my cheeks as I thought about the relationship I once enjoyed with the only parent I had. How could he treat me like this? How could he cast me aside for another?
Well, no more! No more!
Quickly, I gathered all of my belongings that I could comfortably carry, including the diary I was now charged to continue writing. It felt heavy as it now contained both my Grandma’s and Dad’s entries. But I felt determined that I would write down every ugly detail of my life. Someday, they would read it and be sad. They would regret the way I’d been treated.
Shaking these thoughts aside, I walked right out the front door. No one even noticed, which seemed typical lately.
With eyes still blurred by tears, making streaks of black mascara down my cheeks, I turned to look back once again at the house I’d lived in most of my life. Would they ever even notice I’d left? I highly doubted it. Did it even matter anymore? They could keep their new and improved family. I’d venture out to find people that didn’t know me or care who I was. People that would accept me for myself; a place where I truly belonged.
I’d show them.
Wiping my face on my arm, I hurried off into the darkness to find what I was looking for …
Author’s Note: Thank you all so much for reading Generation 2! It’s been such a delight to read your responses to this saga. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed Leo’s story and that you will also enjoy Blue’s. I know Blue probably seems a bit hard to take right now, but I think you will be surprised by her story and the things she learns along the way. So, I hope you’ll join me on Februrary 11 (I’m taking one week off) when the Chapter 3.1 is published because it just might make your jaw drop…. just a little.
In other news, many of you know that someone hacked Lil Sapphire’s blog and deleted it. Since then, she and I have come up with a new site you might like to peruse. 🙂 It’s called Lil ‘n’ Ro’s Simprovised Stories.
Thank you again. xoxo