Someone Has To Stay
By Damaris Chanza
There are nights where I cry myself to sleep. Other nights I stare up at the dark ceiling, silently awaiting the bright morning sun that shines through my window. I await a new set of responsibilities and emotions and actions. I await my new expectations. Aside from the lack of sleep, I assume everyone spends their nights waiting as well. Most are probably just waiting for tomorrow, but some might be waiting for something to change. I know Alex was.
Alex is my best friend, who is currently waiting for her baby girl to be born. Being seventeen and pregnant is not ideal, but it is Alex’s reality. Every night she gets to lie in her bed, feeling the baby kick inside her. She can stare at the toys that crowd the floor because her little sister refused to clean her own mess. Unfortunately, she has her fair share of sleepless nights and tear-filled moments as she too waits for morning’s bright sun to shine through her window.
The difference between me and Alex is that in the morning, I can walk out of my house before anyone else even wakes up and make my way to school. I can meet up with my friends or have a mini-adventure. Alex, on the other hand, wakes up to siblings who can be unbearably loud in a home that is too small for her family to live comfortably. The woman goes through so much every day, yet her most significant problem is that the father to her child left her.
I didn’t know him well, and we had only met twice, but the baby’s father was a tall, kind boy who was considerate yet jealous, fun yet limited, and present yet aloof. The baby’s father is a confusing boy who has refused to take responsibility for the child he helped create. He claims that he “cannot be there for a baby that isn’t even here yet.” It is heartbreaking how often I hear Alex cry over a boy who pays her no mind. When we hang out, I see people stare at her and shake their heads in disapproval. I witness how growingly difficult everything has become for her. As her best friend, as her family, like her sister, I’m by her side through everything.
I may not be able to make it there, but I know about every appointment. I am there every time she freaks out because the baby is not moving. I talk to her when no one else will. I ask about her baby and her family. I have managed to be there for Alex through everything. I was her prom date when the baby’s father wouldn’t be. I even gave her a cheesy promposal because I knew she wanted one.
In two weeks, I will meet my beautiful goddaughter, Kylie. Unfortunately, Kylie most likely will not have a father, but that is okay because she will have a mother and a godmother who will be there for every tantrum, every time out and every diaper change. The two of us will also be there for every milestone, every laugh, and every beautiful memory.
I know Alex struggles daily, so do I, but I know she would be there for me had I been going through something similar. Her life changed immensely, and in turn, so has mine. Kylie’s father left, and that is a frustrating problem, but that doesn’t mean she should be unhappy. Yes, that boy left, but it doesn’t mean anyone else should. I’m the change that she so patiently awaited on those sleepless nights. I’m the one who doesn’t leave.