Yesterday I wrote about how Monday was my last time going to court about Cydney. What started off as me taking a DNA test to prove I’m Cydney’s father became custody hearings, which then turned to visitation, which then became me motioning for the visitation agreement to be amended. It had been two years and twenty-eight days since Timile died and it has been a fight for me ever since.
The judge set up visitation for Timile’s parents and Cydney to be reacquainted from 12-2PM at the McDonald’s near my house in Baldwin, Long Island. I left court at 11:03. I had to hurry home and get Cydney ready immediately. By the time I got home my sister told Cydney that she was going to go and meet her grandparents. She was excited. She was talking about how she was leaving us home, getting into her Sofia the First car that she got for Christmas, and headed to BeDonald’s to go see her grandparents. She couldn’t wait. I was indifferen. Being that she was so ecstatic I couldn’t help but he happy for her.
We got there a little after 12 (My sister ran a little late and I hate not being on time to things). As soon as Cydney’s grandparents and uncle saw Cydney their eyes lit up. It was a joyous occasion. They have not seen Cydney in person since I diddy-bopped out of court April 2012. A part of me knew how that felt because it felt like forever the five months I didn’t see Cydney. They asked if they could take pictures which of course I was okay with. They brought Cydney Christmas gifts and cards that they’d had since her second birthday. She was excited to play with them.
We were sitting at two adjacent tables because there was six of us there. I sat at the other table. I had writing to do so I brought my computer with me and got to work. Also, I wanted to let Timile’s parents have their moment with their grandchild uninterrupted. I didn’t really feel like having small talk conversation. It would have been fake to be on some “Oh, so how have you been?!” Fuck that. However, I did engage a little bit. I just couldn’t talk much because I had work to do.
Anywhere I went, Cydney followed me. When she wanted a box opened she gave it to me to open. I went to go refill my drink, she’d come running along behind me and try to hold my hand to do so. I found that to be interesting behavior because Cydney is reluctant to hold my hand while walking places unless she’s leading me somewhere she wants to go.
About an hour or so into the visit, Cydney wanted to go into the playroom. She grabbed my by my hand and let me know she wanted to go “There.” So we all picked up out things and relocated. While she jumped around and climbed a little bit; all I could do was sit there. The whole moment was surreal. I was sitting there with the other side of people who’d lost Timile. Of course she was on my mind the whole time. It was a reminder of my loss; our loss. There they were happy to see the extension of the daughter that was gone too soon. I knew that Timile would have been happy and was smiling down on what was a dreary, gray, and rainy day outside.
Eventually Cydney was over the whole thing. She just wanted her father all to herself. There’s a life-sized Ronald McDonald that sits on a bench in the playroom. Cydney sat next to him and was pretending to feed him fries and some of her drink. She pulled me to come over and sit with her and Ronald. I had to eat fries and talk with Ronald. I was okay with this because I was ready to go anyway. But I never liked interacting with Timile’s parents anyway. All they ever do is sit around quiet and awkwardly; and have random small talk. What a drag.
While I sat with Cydney and Ron-Ron (We’re on a nickname basis now), my sister and Timile’s mother were having a conversation. I did, but I didn’t want to know what they were talking about. My experience with Timile’s mother has been is that she’ll talk to whoever to get information out of them or to explain herself somehow. She’ll come off sincere like she really means well but there’s always an ulterior motive. If they’re reading this: Timile told me this. When we got in the car my sister told me that their actions were based off of what Timile told them that she wanted. She wanted them to have Cydney. I said to her “That’s some bullshit.” My sister said that she should talk to me about everything when she’s ready to to heal our situation. Fuck that. Well, nah. We can talk; but I’m shooting that shit down.
That’s not what Timile would have wanted. They didn’t have the courtesy to tell me Timile died. They tried to get rid of me before she passed. It had become an ugly situation in which I didn’t get to tell my girl goodbye. If it was really about carrying out what Timile wanted, her father wouldn’t have said to me in a very smug tone of voice when asked does he think I’m Cydney’s father “Well if Timile says so then yeah. But he’s gonna have to take a DNA test.” If Timile’s parents really had the best intentions in mind and fulfilling Timile’s wishes the wouldn’t have told the family in Buffalo they weren’t invited to the funeral because they took their baby away from them. They would have told me when the funeral was. Timile’s mother wouldn’t have been sending text messages to other members of the family badmouthing me. None of that would have happened. Even for some reason the drugged up girl I loved said all of this: she WOULDN’T have wanted it this way.
I felt bad for Timile’s parents. I hated that things had come to this. But the real deal is none of this had to happen. Had they been decent human beings and told me that Timile died, come and get my kid in spite of how my last interaction with Timile happened; I would have had no problem letting Cydney visit. They could have had Cydney for summers or during breaks without me being there. I would have been come down to Virginia to visit no matter how much I didn’t like them. I have no intentions of ever going to that house again. If I do, it’s to get the rest of Cydney’s inheritance. I hate going to Virginia when I’m in DC. I hate flying into Regan and Dulles airports just because they’re in Virginia. My hatred for the state is real because of them. I’ve forgiven them for everything; but I don’t have to like them. We’ll never be a big happy family. Too much has happened for that. We can be cordial, but it’ll more than likely always be awkward small talk. They still don’t want to deal with me; but in order to have a relationship with their grandchild they have to for the next fifteen years. And when my daughter asks questions I will answer them and keep it all the way real with her.
Once I got home I was drained. The burden had been lifted off of my back and I could finally move on with my life. My neck and head had been aching the night before and they were beginning to again that evening. I laid down and watched The Wire on my laptop and tried to take a nap…that is until a certain toddler came in the room and started jumping on the bed.
I was left to myself with my own thoughts. I called the girl I’d been seeing for a minute (surprise!) because she’d contacted me earlier in the day to ask about what was going on, but I couldn’t talk at the time because it was while I was in the midst of our visitation. It had been hit and miss for the day which actually worked out for the best. I needed the time to reflect to myself. I thought about all the places I’d been over the last three years. It was flashes of pictures in my head. I saw the first time I’d driven to Buffalo and felt Cydney kick for the first time when Timile was pregnant. I saw when we had our baby shower in Buffalo. The drives along Lake Eerie I’d go on to get my break for two hours when Cydney was an infant. Roswell Park where Timile did her treatments. When I took the bus to work and then to the hospital. Me helping people short sell their homes and my co-workers who made created a much needed distraction in my life. The couches I slept on in Buffalo and Virginia. The twin sized box spring with yoga mats and couch cushions that made Timile and my bed in Buffalo as Cydney slept in a pack-n-play right next to us. The conversation in the car when we talked about moving to Virginia and Timile telling me “What’s the worst that could happen if we move to Virginia.” How I’d eat 7-Eleven tacquitos in Virginia to make my money stretch until I got a paycheck. How I’d have to sneak to see Timile in the hospital. The drives I’d take around Newport News. Watching movies on Netflix on my phone when I had no one to talk to when I lived in Virginia for three weeks. The last time I’d seen Timile. The look on Timile’s parents face when they were really ugly to me that last time. Sitting in the DMV when I found out Timile died. The cries I consoled that day. The shit talked about me being a deadbeat father based on what Timile’s parents were telling their living children. All of that.
I gave a list of everything I thought about because this will probably be one of the last times I write about the painful stuff on this blog. The rest of the details will be given when I publish the novel. As far as living it, the chapter is finally closed. One of the things that I have wanted the most in life was to move on from all that I’d been through. I didn’t want to be hustling anymore to make ends meet because I was ready for what was next. While I didn’t have any baggage, I still had parts of my past that were still my present and future with impending court dates looming. I couldn’t be in any real relationship and possibly try to start a tomorrow with anyone else with yesterday being part of my today. I’m free.
I am grateful for this whole ordeal that I’ve been through. It sucked, but it has served its purpose. As someone with a relationship with God I believe that he put me through this for a reason. I had to be broken down from who I was to become who He made me to be. He made me to be Cydney’s father, be some woman’s husband, and a myriad of other things.
Things are only going upward from here.