"Carl, please. Why do we have to spend every free minute discussing this? Please tell your mother I will call her this week sometime to finalize the seating arrangements. I mean, damn! Is it that big of a deal where the hell Ms. Clark's fat ass sits? I mean really!!"
Allison threw her jacket on the ottoman and stormed to her bedroom. She was beyond irritated, and wanted nothing more than an hour of peace. It seemed that was even too much to expect these days. The wedding was 11 months away and it seemed that's ALL Carl cared about. He was like a "Groomzilla!"
Before she could become too consumed with her regrets, she heard a light tap on her door. She knew it was Jaidyn.
"Come in sweetie."
"Are you ok Mommy?"
"Yes baby. Just a little tired. I could use a hug. You got one for me?"
Jaidyn was six years old, and undoubtedly one of the sweetest children Allison had ever laid eyes on. She was probably the sole reason she was still there, planning a wedding with a man that she wasn't completely in love with.Allison's dream of having her own children was short lived when she underwent an emergency hysterectomy at the age of 15, due to an attack on her reproductive system by an undiagnosed disease. She felt like half her soul was taken from her. She spent years trying to make up for the emptiness she felt knowing she could never bare her own child.She graduated college with her teaching credentials and landed a job soon after at Jaidyn's elementary school. She volunteered at the youth center on Saturdays and directed the youth choir on Sundays. Her entire life had quickly become dedicated to everyone else.
Allison reminisced about the simplicity of her life when Carl and her were JUST friends. The friendship started back in high school and has been unbreakable since. It was often the reason for several failed dating relationships, as it was difficult for some to accept the closeness they shared.
Nikki was the only person who accepted and appreciated their friendship. Allison met Nikki a few years after college graduation while working at the Eastside YMCA. They clicked instantly and Allison knew she would be perfect for Carl.
"Hi. I'm Allison. My best friend Carl would love you. Are you married?"
Nikki laughed. "Girl, please! I have yet to meet a man that can handle me!"
That night she introduced the two. Two years later she was Nikki's maid of honor in their wedding.
She remembered when everything changed. Nikki called her one night and asked if she could come by and talk. Allison prepared their favorite "girl talk treat" - vanilla bean ice cream with fruit cocktail topping.
Nikki arrived and sat down at the kitchen table.
"Talk to me chica." Allison joked.
"I'm pregnant." Before Allison could interrupt, Nikki placed one hand in the air. "Let me finish."
Allison listened in awe as Nikki explained in detail that she had sickle cell and was in danger of dying if she continued with the pregnancy.
"Allison, I want this baby so bad and I know God will keep me safe. However, if anything happens to me, please raise my baby as your own. Promise me you will watch over Carl. Please."
Allison knew that no matter what happened, she would keep her promise to her dear friend.That night the two held hands and cried for hours.Nine months later, Nikki gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Jaidyn Marie. Nikki died during the delivery.
Immediately after the funeral, Carl and Allison agreed it would be best for Jaidyn if they all lived under the same roof. For four years they lived as roommates, in separate rooms. Eventually, Carl grew tired of their "situation without a title" and began placing expectations on Allison.
"Allison, its time to make things right. Jaidyn deserves a real family."
Carl pressured her for over a year until Allison finally gave in. She knew she didn't love Carl the way a woman should love the man she's marrying, but she settled for the idea. After all, she could never have her own child and what man would want only half a woman? She convinced herself it was the "right" thing to do. For Jaidyn.
The friendship quickly transitioned into a full blown relationship. Allison had always felt "responsible" for Carl; even as teenagers. He was a great guy, however he just wasn't aggressive enough for her. Allison was a go-getter and felt like nothing came without hard work and endurance. Carl would much rather wait for his blessings to fall in his lap.
Carl was an artist. He attended art shows worldwide and for the most part they were somewhat profitable. However, the money came in when the work did. Which meant his contributions to the household finances were sporadic. The more Allison did on her own, the more she began to resent him.
Allison began spending more and more time away from home volunteering at different centers. She found happiness in being around people. It made her forget about the reality of her own world.
She will never forget the Saturday she met Suave. He was the Youth Director at the Northside Y.He introduced himself to her and apologized for being so "forthright" in his approach.
"You must be the fine sista all these young knuckleheads keep talking about. Boy, they weren't lying." He smiled. Allison was immediately attracted to him.
For the next 10 months Allison and Suave spent every free moment they had together. She had never experienced a stronger love with anyone. She loved him as if she had raised him herself. The thought of her life without him brought her to tears at the mere mention of it. They shared a connection on every level. Spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. He was without question, her soul mate.
Suave knew her situation in its entirety and understood its complexity. He also knew that he loved Allison from the deepest part of his soul and could never watch her marry another man. He had settled for this horrible situation because of his unconditional love for her, but he could no longer sacrifice his own heart.
Two weeks before Allison's wedding he told her that he would no longer try to hold her destiny in his palms. That night they held each other for hours knowing this was their goodbye. Her heart ached for Suave. She wanted nothing more than to leave everything behind and run to him; but she couldn't break her promise to Nikki. She couldn't lose Jaidyn. She couldn't hurt Carl.
The next ten days were unbearable. The pain she felt almost killed her. Allison knew she had lost Suave, but she also knew she couldn't marry Carl. After experiencing love like she had with Suave, Allison could never be the woman Carl deserved.
The night before her wedding she told Carl that she couldn't marry him. She watched as he cried and searched for answers. She was devastated and ashamed that she had let everyone she loved down. She wished she could take back the last year of her life and do things differently, but she couldn't. It was time for her to deal with the consequences of her actions.
Carl and Jaidyn moved out that night. For days following their departure, she cried until she couldn't cry anymore.
Two years had passed, and Allison still hadn't heard from Carl. She wanted many times to find them and bring them back, but she knew Carl deserved a woman who loved him in spite of. Not because of. Allison couldn't give him that.
Saturday morning, Allison came home from shopping, and found on her porch, a letter with a red bow attached. She opened it and found an invitation to Carl's wedding.
The note inside read:
"My Dearest Allison. Thank you for letting me go. I have found my soul mate. I want nothing more than for my best friend to be at our wedding. Jaidyn misses her Mommy. Please come. We love you."
She kissed the letter and cried. This time they were tears of joy.
She hopped in her car and drove to the Northside Y. Allison prayed that Suave was still there. She walked inside and her heart melted when she saw him.
"I'm ready to place my destiny back into your palms. If there's room."
"What took you so long," he asked.
He extended his open hand to her and one single tear rolled down his face.