Can I tell you something?” Tom asked Lena, playing with her long black hair. Lena turned to him and sensed it was something important, ready for this big thing Tom was about to say.
“While you were away for work I wrote a letter to my mum about us. I said you were very kind, clever and we were in love.” Tom paused. Lena didn’t expect anything big from their relationship, she only wanted to have fun and they fitted so well together. Tom continued:
“I mentioned that you had a one year old son.”
“And? Did you hear back from her?” Lena asked, waiting impatiently. Tom looked down.
“Yes. My mum phoned her brother here and told him to meet me.” Tom murmured still looking down.
“My uncle asked me to come to his house one evening and he opened a bottle of vodka. He needed to talk to me. My mum had told him everything in the letter.”
“So? They know that you are going out with me and I have a son.” Lena summarised, wondering why Tom was looking so guilty and weak.
“I told my mum that you were the one I want to spend rest of my life together.” Lena didn’t know what to say. She knew Tom from her university class and he was her dream to go out with. Tom didn’t say anything about this kind of things before.
“What did your uncle say?”
“He said I shouldn’t marry someone with a child. I had many younger brothers and sisters and I should be a good example to them.” Tom sobbed in Lena’s arms. Lena felt sorry for Tom and angry with his mum and uncle. Tom whispered:
“We’ll show them that we can do it. We can be much better than they expect us to be.”
Lena’s head was buzzing with thoughts now. She thought of her son. She wanted to hear what else Tom was told to do or not to do.
“What else did he say?” she checked, mixed with emotions.
“He told me to go out with a girl from a family they know. She is from a good family.” Lena felt sick. She didn’t want to know anymore.
“We will be alright, aren’t we? We will show them how good we are together.”
Lena didn’t reply. She needed to think.
Tom’s mobile beeped. Tom giggled reading his text message.
“What does it say?” Lena asked innocently, guessing one of his friends being funny. Tom read out loud “John is tickling me. Can you come and rescue me… aah”
“Typical John. Who is the message from?” Lena looked at Tom, shaking her head expecting someone she knew. Tom’s smile disappeared. He held his mobile in his hand, hesitating standing there. Lena took his mobile and saw the girl’s name. “That is the girl! That is the one who your mum and uncle want you to go out with.”
“You’ve been in touch with her while I was away.”
“Yes, we went to cinema and had dinner.” Now Lena was angry with Tom. He has taken the girl out to see what she was like. Lena felt cheated and degraded. She was hurt. What was all that tears and plea about earlier on?!
Lena asked Tom to leave. He and his family were not going to play games with her and her son. She opened the door for Tom and held it open. “I’ll let you marry to the girl. I love my son. You are free to go.”
Tom knew Lena well. There was no need arguing with her when she is like this. Tom left awkwardly. Lena stood there beside the window watching Tom walking away. She wasn’t going to cry. She wasn’t prepared to let anyone treat her precious little boy second best.