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No Not Charlie

Well, one day it happened. Mom announced, "I'm getting married. You will have a father."

I never really knew my Dad. Mom and Dad were divorced when I was just six months old. Mom worked and was never interested in anyone until she met my soon to be stepfather. I was pretty upset and hurt. There really wasn't any reason for her to get married. She had me!!!! Wasn't that enough for her?

I have to give Mom's fiancé a hand. He really tried to get me to like him. He had never been married and didn't know much about kids or me?

The wedding day came and went. After the wedding things changed a lot. Grandma wasn't around to see I was getting the worst of it and I did. By Christmas of that first year, Mom was all aglow. The news came one day that I was going to have a new brother or sister. After ten years Mom was having another baby. Women her age just didn't think of these things.

Mom and I hadn't been getting along too great lately and this new kid wasn't going to help that. The brat would probably be in my room once it could walk. I didn't have time for my friends anymore. Mom had me doing the laundry, doing the dishes, and pick up your room. I was beginning to forget who was the mother.

My parents had been divorced for years and I hadn't seen dear old dad in I don't know how long. I was beginning to think that Mom wasn't a prize anymore and my stepfather wasn't so hot either. No friends as Mom said my friends were no good. She always found something wrong with them.

I don't know who was counting the time more me or Mom. I figured with a new kid in the house she would lay off me. I had had more than enough and I was going to do something about it. I had met this really cool guy at school. He was an outcast and quiet just like me. I had felt so out of place ever since Mom had remarried. Besides my stepfather and moving around all the time I was lost.

Gary was the name of my guy and he finally asked me out. I don't know how I was going to swing it but I had every intention of going. No matter what I had to do. Even though I was sixteen Mom treated me like a little kid. I told Mom that I had to go to the library to study. I will admit it wasn't a good lie but it was the best I could do.

Gary was wonderful. We really talked. His father had passed away and he had no siblings. He couldn't understand how I felt about Mom and a new baby and a new stepfather. I hated the baby and it wasn't even here yet.

Finally, the big day arrived and Mom was taken to the hospital. By that evening I had a new baby brother. Soon afterward he was named Charlie. I could have cared less. When Mom and Charlie were set to come home I wasn't there. I wanted nothing to do with it. I was off at school trying out for a school play. I made it into the play and was so happy I ran home and didn't think of the baby. I came into the house screaming that I had made it. Mom yelled at me that I had just woke the baby and she had just got him to sleep.

I ran to my bedroom and cried. That kid had to spoil everything. I wished I was dead and I even wished that Charlie was dead. The next morning Mom tried to make up for her behavior the day before. She said she was learning what it was like to have a baby again. She told me she was glad I had gotten the part and she knew I would get it. I knew everything she told me was a lie. I told her not to worry about it that I wouldn't let it happen again. Things started to go from bad to worse with Mom and me. I started to not come home from school. I knew I would be in trouble anyway so why not have a reason? I thought it was cute. I shut Mom out completely.

I still wouldn't have anything to do with him. Mom tried so hard to get me to hold him or feed him. I just wanted nothing to do with him. He had ruined my life. I had forgotten Gary by now and was running with a pretty wild crowd. Drinking, drugs, and free sex were all part of the scene. The other kids were beginning to push me pretty hard. I hadn't tried any of it yet but that kid had so messed up my life. Charlie had driven a wedge between Mom and me and I was so confused. I needed a mother but she had Charlie. I don't remember the last time I had really talked to her.

Downtown one Saturday morning I ran into Gary again. He asked me out for dinner that night and I agreed. I thought why not? When I got home Mom was waiting and boy was she mad. It seemed that grandpa was in the hospital and I was supposed to be babysitting my little brother. She laid down the law to me. Gary could come over to the house but I would watch my little brother. I told her smart like that the kid wasn't mine so why did I have to babysit the brat?

I was really surprised because Charlie didn't do what any other baby would do. He didn't cry, he was really a happy baby. I had to feed and bathe him before Gary came over. Gary played with Charlie. I wasn't jealous like I had been before. I was having fun too. When it was time for Charlie to go to bed he was tired.

It was getting late when Gary and I smelled smoke. It seemed like we had just smelled the smoke when the flames were seen on the wall. Gary grabbed my hand and headed for the door. I yelled, "Stop! What about Charlie?"

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Gary said, "What about Charlie? You wanted him dead. This is your chance. Nobody would blame you. We'll say the fire spread too fast."

I knew I deserved what Gary had said but I knew what I had to do. I took the steps two at a time to get to Charlie. I grabbed Charlie and outside I ran. Gary met me outside and put his arm around me and Charlie. It was just about that time that my parents pulled into the yard. I knew now that Mom hadn't pulled away it was me. She hadn't chosen Charlie over me. I knew now that you could love two people at the same time. I had made a major discovery and grown-up.

My folks jumped out of the car and ran toward us, "Kelly, are you all right? What happened? Is Charlie all right? How are you, Gary?"

I had a new feeling now about a lot of things. The old me would have thought Mom was accusing me but now I knew she wasn't She loved me and I loved her and Charlie. Dad wasn't mad at me. He just wanted to know we were all okay. He said the house could be replaced but we couldn't.

Why had I been so hard on them? It wasn't their fault. Why had I blamed them because I was a confused teenager? The house was a total loss. Everyone was fine. Our new house was a house of love. We all had a say in it.

Years later Gary and I married and our daughter is a teenager. I'm pregnant again and I was wondering if she would do the same thing I had done to my mother. I had now realized as well that my real Dad hadn't wanted anything to do with me. I learned that my parents loved me and that they will if given a chance.

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