- Making a promise
“Noah, are you done with your homework?” I call, but I don’t get an answer.
It was Friday afternoon and I was dead tired on my feet. I had forgotten when you’re pregnant how
easily you get tired. Every single thing tired me out.
The only thing I’m grateful for is that I never experienced morning sickness unlike when I was
pregnant with Noah. 1
“Noah?” I call him again.
I wonder what the hell he is doing. I usually get an answer immediately. Unless something has
caught his attention and distracted him.
Before I can carry my tired body to go upstairs to check on him, my doorbell rings.
I release a heavy sigh. It’s not that I didn’t want to see anybody, I just wanted to take a break.
Maybe have a long bath.
I spent the whole day at the Hope Foundation going through tons of documents that needed my
attention. My eyes were dry, My mind was burnt out and my body was aching all over.
Dragging myself, I open my door and I am surprised to find Calvin and Gunner at my doorstep. It’s
been two days since that day in my backyard.
When Gunner didn’t show up when Noah got back from school, I assumed that maybe Calvin
didn’t want anything to do with us. After all, he was really grumpy during our whole encounter.
“Hi” shock was clearly in my voice and I couldn’t hide it.
“Hi Miss Ava” Gunner tells me sweetly with a smile. “These are for you”
It’s then that I notice he has a bouquet of flowers. Pink roses to be exact. He hands them to me and
I take them gratefully.
“Thank you Gunner. These are beautiful” Without thinking, I bend down and kiss his cheeks.
When I straighten, he gives me a shy smile. Just like with Noah, I could already tell that Gunner
was a sweet boy.
I shift my eyes to his father, “Would you like to come in?”
He looks hesitant at first, but when Gunner pulls his hand, he agrees.
I lead them straight to the kitchen where I had been baking cookies and cupcakes. Noah had
requested for them and though I was tired, I couldn’t refuse him.
“You’re just in time to eat some goodness” I tell them as the oven timer pings.
I look for a vase and place the beautiful flowers Gunner brought me.
“Noah” I call again as I place some cookies in front of our guests.
“I’m coming mommy” he shouts back.
I hear his bedroom door close. Then his footsteps as he runs down the hallway and then the stairs.
Seconds later, he breaks through the kitchen door. He comes to a stop when he sees that we have
“Come, my love. I want you to meet someone” he hesitantly takes a step until he’s standing next to
Noah is a bit shy at first glance. That is before you get to know him better. When he sheds his
shyness, you won’t even believe that he’s the same boy. He’ll talk your ear off.
“Noah, this here is Gunner. He lives next door and Gunner, this is my son Noah. He’s the one I was
telling you about”
If I’m being honest, I thought things will be awkward between them at first, but I am wrong.
Gunner smiles “Hi”
“Wanna play in my room?” Noah asks at the same time.
With that, Noah grabs a bunch of cookies and hands them to Gunner. Then he goes to the pantry
and get a couple of juice boxes.
“Come on, I’ve got a new game to show you” Noah says as they walk off.
I was super surprised by his actions. I thought it would take a bit of pushing to get him to warm
up to Gunner. I guess I didn’t need to.
“Well that went well. I’m surprised Gunner made the first move. He’s usually really reserved”
I face him. I had completely forgotten that he was even there.
“Noah is like that too at first. He has to get comfortable with someone first”
“Really? Then he’s much better off. When I say that Gunner is reserved I mean, he likes his own company. He doesn’t like making friends or meeting new people. Even in school, he keeps to
“Seriously?” I ask shocked.
“Seriously. At this point I think Rex and I are his only friends”
I frown at that. I wasn’t a child psychologist but I was a teacher. Even I knew that that wasn’t typical behaviour for a child his age.
For a child to be that withdraw, then there is probably a problem. I know it doesn’t lie with Calvin.
You just have to take one look at them to know they adore each other.
Something else was wrong. If Gunner is as withdrawn as Cal says, then something’s made him.
“Hopefully Noah can get him out of his shell” I mumble, handing him a cupcake.
I round the island. Taking one of the barstools, I exhale in relief that I was off my feet. I dig into
one of the cupcake. My mind completely empty.
“I wanted to apologize” Calvin says after a while.
“Coming off as rude the other day.”
Waving my hands dismissively, I face him. “In your defence, I was being too extra, so don’t worry
Talking about that day reminds me of the pain I saw in his eyes. Right now he has done a good job
of trying to hide it.
Others may assume he’s okay, but I can tell he is not. I recognize the struggle in his soul because I
usually go through the same thing.
It’s easy for someone who’s been hurt to see the pain others are trying to hide. Especially if it’s the
“So what do you do for a living?” He asks, probably trying to make small talk.
“I’m a teacher, but I’m on leave for the next few months”
I had thought about going back, but I decided against it. Even though I was bored being home
alone, I knew I needed this time to myself. Not only because of the pregnancy, but also because of
my mental state. O
“So you got together with Rowan? Noah is his doppelgänger. It’s so uncanny”
At that I snort. “Everyone in this damn city knows what happened with Rowan. I didn’t get with
him. It was a drunk night gone wrong”
I sometimes curse that night when I think of how my life would have been different if it wasn’t for
my obsession. Then I remember that if it wasn’t for that night, then I wouldn’t have Noah. In the
end I’m left wishing it didn’t happen, but thankful because I got someone precious from it.
“What happened?” Cal asks curiously.
I clump up. Feeling myself start to sweat. “That’s a story for another day. Right now I don’t want to
I haven’t heard from Rowan since the day he showed up at my appointment which was three days
I also haven’t gotten any surprise visits from Emma demanding I stay away from her man. I think
Rowan is probably too busy trying to do damage control with Emma and for that I am grateful.
I didn’t want him around me because when he is, he confuses things. His recent behavior is
messing with my head and I’m tired of trying to figure him out.
“What about you? Where’s your wife” he was the same age as Emma so I assume he’s married.
“I don’t have a wife”
“Okay…where’s Gunner’s mom?”
I see pure undulated pain flash in his eyes. The kind of pain that isn’t yours, but you still feel it all
the way to your soul. My heart aches for him, because I know how such pain can be consuming.
“S–she’s not in the picture” he stammers in a broken voice. A voice filled with pain and a bit of
Fuck. I feel the need to comfort him, but I am not sure it will be welcomed.
“I’m so sorry to hear that” I whisper feeling terrible for asking because I drenched up his pain.
I can’t imagine losing a spouse. I can’t imagine living the life you imagined alone knowing the love of your life isn’t there with you. O
Calvin looks like the kind of man who loves deeply. If you love deeply then the loss is also just as deep. The loss becomes all consuming.
Now I know where his pain originates from. He wasn’t hurt by someone. He lost someone he deeply loves, 1
He breathes out. Trying to once again bury his pain. “It’s okay. She hasn’t been in the picture for a
while and I’m slowly learning to live with it” 2
I grab his hand and squeeze. Giving him the comfort he clearly needs.
Changing the subject into something lighter, I ask him if he would help me plant my garden again
since he didn’t send anyone to fix what Rex destroyed.
After talking to him, I realize why Gunner is withdrawn. Losing a parent at such a young age isn’t
easy and some children never recover from it.
I didn’t know them well, but right there and then I promise myself that I will be there for them. I
was going to help them. 15
We all need happiness and joy in our lives and from the looks of it, Calvin and Gunner haven’t had
it in a long time.