My focus that day was to tell Tommy the real reason we had not seen each other. I felt that he was too young to know the whole truth about his father’s threat to kill me. But I knew he needed to know that it had not been my choice to not see him. It was enough for him to handle the news that it was his father who had prohibited us from seeing each other. He needed to know how much I always wanted to see him, and that I had never stopped trying.
Sitting on the sofa next to Harry, I put my arm around Tommy as I began talking to him, saying, “Tommy, your dad and I want to tell you why you and I haven’t been able to see each other for so long.”
Tommy looked at his dad, sitting in a chair across from him, and then turned his questioning eyes toward me.
“I have tried and tried to see you all this time, but your dad has always stopped me. He didn’t want us to see each other. You need to know that I have been very sad not being able to see you because I have always wanted to be with you.”
“I thought it was best for you to just stay with me,” Micah said to him. “Your mother and I couldn’t see eye-to-eye about things, so I thought it was better for us to go our separate ways. Besides, I was angry. But now I see that it’s time for you to know your mother.”
As Tommy took in the information, his face looked cross and he folded his arms across his chest, clenching his fists. After a few moments he spoke to his father in a low voice, trembling with anger, “You shouldn’t have done that!”
We didn’t have anything. We were poor, and you had everything!
When it was time for us to go, I invited Tommy out to dinner with Harry and me. He wanted to go, and we agreed to bring him back in a few hours. I do not recall Tommy asking anything further that night about why we hadn’t seen each other for such a long time. I felt it best to give him some time to digest it all, so we focused on enjoying our evening. We made plans with Tommy to pick him up for breakfast in the morning, and Harry and I headed for our hotel.
I have never found out what happened between Micah and Tommy that night after we left. When we saw Tommy the next morning, he had transferred his anger at his father to me.
“You left Dad and me all alone,” he shouted angrily. “We didn’t have anything. We were poor, and you had everything!” His eyes were flashing, with his brow drawn tightly into an angry grimace. His body was stiff, his arms were tightly crossed across his chest, and his fists were curled into balls.
I could not believe what I was hearing. My mind numbed as I tried to comprehend his words. I didn’t know what to say. How could I make him understand that I didn’t leave him, that we were kept apart by his father, the sole person he trusted and relied on?
I was speechless because anything I thought to say would destroy his belief in his father. Even in my anguish at my son turning against me, somehow, I could not destroy Tommy’s belief in the person he most looked up to. It wasn’t logical reasoning that kept me quiet in that moment—just a gut sense that this would be more than Tommy could handle.
He has been furious with me ever since.
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