Everybody Talks

Title and underlined portions adapted from 'Everybody Talks,' © Neon Trees.

It started when I kissed her.

The kiss quickly became more than just that. So much more. We were both ravenous upon the other's mouth, and then she made my lips hurt. I would have said something about the blood, about getting a condom, but she wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise. Not that I was complaining. Not at the time.

It had ended as quickly and as fiery as it had begun. She screamed and accused me of using her, to which I responded that she, similarly, had used me, each to our own ends. So she had no right to complain.

That's when I found out everybody talks.

It went around that I had beaten and raped her, and then tossed her onto the streets like so much refuse. Of course, this wasn't true, and she had not gone to the police for a rape kit, so it would never come to any sort of head, legally speaking. But people are cruel beings, and legal or not, when they believe you've done something that horrible, they will retaliate.

I was stalked and harassed constantly. My tires were slashed more than once, my apartment egged and other various sorts of vandalized. I was threatened over the phone, my email, by post, even at work where I could not even defend myself. I went to the police myself more than once, but they claimed there was nothing they could do about it. I was even threatened with arrest for harassing an officer at one point.

I figured I would have to move, out of county or out of state. This was a small town, so of course things would get around very quickly and to more people than would ever be on my side. If I moved, none of it would follow me, or so should I hope.

But that's when I was told she was with child.

I was genuinely upset with myself for not insisting on a condom, and upset with her for not allowing me the opportunity.

She sued for sole custody.

I didn't contest her. I would have been more than happy to be the father to this child, to raise him or her with both parents like I never got the chance. But if she, the mother, thought it was easier this way and better for the infant, so be it.

The judge denied her child support because there was as yet no proof the child was mine.

I found out much later that she had been with other men, quite a few of them. It could be any that was the true father, maybe not me. She sued different individuals in different states and became nearly wealthy.

Finally, someone stood up to her and demanded a paternity test if she was going to sue him. When they found the results, I got a call.

She hasn't been allowed to see Jayden this entire time; he was taken from her days after birth and given unto my care. I told the judge I would not mind supervised visitation, but he ruled that the infant should not be exposed to someone who had committed multiple felonies. I did not argue the point.

When Jayden was three I realized how he looks so much like his mother. But it is of no real matter. He asked where she was, and I explained it to him so a toddler would understand. He told me he would like to meet mommy when she gets better.

I told him I did not know when that would be, and he just smiled and went back to playing quietly with his toys.

I thought I loved her, until I was given custody of Jayden. He is the light of my life, and the only pride I truly have. I know I love him, as any father would and maybe more. I know I did not love her.

But of course everybody talks too much.

As Jayden grew older he heard the rumors that I had raped his mother. I had not had the money to move after being given sole custody of a baby, with no family to ask help from. He asked me about it, of course. I explained my take on it, and he just sat quietly and thought to himself.

The years went on and Jayden graduated top of his class every year. He was truly a child prodigy. Finally, when he was fifteen, he asked if he could see his mother. I told him of course, we would just have to see if she wanted to see him.

He asked that I let him see her alone. I figured it was for the best. I did not want to see her, neither her me, and it would only create tension Jayden did not need to be subjected to.

I was worried, of course, that she would convince him of how horrid a person I supposedly was, how I had beaten and raped her, all the lies she told to the court while under oath.

My fears were allayed as he walked back to the car, where I waited, and smiled at me.

-x-

This one is short and abrupt for a reason, so no worries. It's not bad writing. (Hopefully lol.) Let me know as always what you think. Until the next installment.

AH