Never Say Never-Chapter 1

The life Michelle Spencer had known was over. Days after she gave birth to her son, Kelvin Jr., she had mixed emotions about being a mother. During the hospital stay she beamed, grateful for the normal delivery of a healthy baby boy. Along with the phenomenal support of her husband, Kelvin, her girls—Angel Wesley, Kim McKenzie, Lynn Williams, and Wanda Boyd—made the unforgettable experience a great one.

Once discharged, the excitement began to fade. Parenting was more challenging than Michelle had imagined. She lacked the nurturing attributes of a mother, so caring for her son was a chore. Instead of bonding with him, she cried constantly, wanting out of a complicated situation. Too embarrassed to confide in her friends, she masked her true feelings about motherhood. She was intimidated by their judgment. They’d branded her life and marriage as solid and unbreakable. Kelvin’s love was evident by his consistent affection. What troubled Michelle was trying to reciprocate that love by fulfilling his desire to have a child. She never wanted children.

Six months later, she stood, staring from the kitchen window taking in the leafless trees and brown grass of January’s chilly winter weather. The cold, depressing scene correlated perfectly with how she felt on the inside, and the nagging sound of her son in the background wail screaming at the top of his lungs made her head throb even more.

Finally, she became fed up. Michelle stormed toward the playpen ready to grab and shake Kelvin Jr. However, the moment she lifted him the crying stopped and his round brown eyes gazed into hers. She paused. Overcome by guilt, she cradled him close and burst into tears.

Minutes later, she lowered Kelvin Jr. back into the playpen. The wailing started again. Michelle took a deep breath and slowly exhaled before walking away. She sat at the kitchen table with her head cradled in the palms of her hands, praying the pounding would stop.

Soon, the humming of the garage door lifting stole her attention. Before long, Kelvin walked in. “Hey. What’s going on? Do you hear the baby crying?” he asked, setting his laptop and keys on the counter.

“Yes, I hear him,” Michelle replied.

She watched her husband enter the living room, pick up their son, and comfort him. Then after preparing a bottle, he commenced to feed Kelvin Jr. She took note of how he left kisses along his forehead and talked baby-talk as the baby gulped down the milk. She never did that. Normally, she’d lay Kelvin Jr. on his side and prop the bottle with a pillow.

“When was the last time he ate?” Kelvin asked, breaking her trance.

“A few hours ago.”

“Did it dawn on you he may be crying because he’s hungry or wet?” Kelvin fussed, removing the soiled Pamper.

Michelle remained silent, but heard him mumbling as he tended to the baby’s bottom. Afterward, he laid Kelvin Jr., down and covered him with a blanket. She hoped he’d cry out as he had earlier with her to prove Kelvin wrong. In her opinion, he wasn’t fussy because of hunger. He cried all the time, for no reason at all.

Surprisingly, Kelvin Jr. immediately fell asleep.

“That’s all he wanted—to be fed and dried. You need to do a better job of keeping him clean,” Kelvin said, cutting his eyes at her.

Michelle avoided his stare, ashamed at how easily he took charge and made her enormous problem seem pathetic. Am I sabotaging my life? she wondered.

Later, she moped upstairs to her bedroom. While preparing for a bath she heard Kelvin rattling pots and pans in the kitchen. Then as she relaxed in the tub of bubbles, a tasty aroma floated through the air causing her stomach to growl.

After bathing, she slipped on pjs and returned downstairs, curious what he’d cooked. There wasn’t any food on the stove so she looked in the refrigerator. She still didn’t see anything and the kitchen was spotless. That’s odd, she thought. “Kelvin, did you make dinner?” Instead of answering, he appeared and stood in the doorway with his arms folded. “You have a lot of nerve,” he said. “You’ve been here all day—all day. Yet, when I show up, my son has literally been neglected, there’s nothing prepared for dinner, and you show no concern for either. What in the world is going on with you, lady?”

Lady? Michelle repeated in her mind.

Although offended by the disrespectful reference, the look of disgust on Kelvin’s face took precedence over what he’d just said. Normally, he was gentle and calm while dealing with her. Even during arguments he got his point across without being loud or aggressive. This time, she felt threatened by his stare, stance, and tone.

“I’m listening,” he said, approaching her.

Michelle sighed, realizing the moment had come to be honest about her feelings. “I’m not happy, Kelvin,” she managed to say.

“You’re not happy? What’s the problem?” he asked, irritated.

Unable to suppress the tears, Michelle covered her face and wept. “I can’t do this anymore,” she babbled.

“Wait a minute. Come here,” Kelvin said, pushing aside his anger.

Michelle walked into his embrace and rested her head against his chest. Then they held each other tightly. Kelvin stroked her back until she was calm. Afterward he pulled out a chair and insisted she sit down. “Whatever it is, let’s talk about it,” he said, kneeling in front of her.

“I made a mistake when I agreed to have a child. I don’t want to be a mom. I want my life back,” Michelle said.

Kevin frowned. “Are you kidding? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard you say.”

“No, I’m not kidding. And it’s not ridiculous—it’s how I feel. I allowed you to convince me to get pregnant and sell my ownership of Classy Kids Daycare to Lynn. Now, I regret doing both.”

“Are you serious? Look at me when I’m talking to you,” Kelvin ordered.

Reluctantly, Michelle made eye contact with him.

“Are you serious?” he repeated.

“Yes, I am,” she said.

Kelvin stood and chuckled. “Unbelievable. Yes, I wanted a child, Michelle, but as far as the day care goes, that was your call. I had nothing to do with your decision to sell.”

She realized he was right. “Well, it was a result of us deciding to get pregnant,” she pointed out.

“Okay. So what happens now? If you’re unhappy, I’m sure you’ve weighed the options. What’s the solution, Michelle?”

“What do you suggest?”

“You’re the one with the issues,” Kevin said.

“I don’t know, but something has to change. Staying at home all day with a crying kid isn’t working.”

“He’s your son, Michelle. Look… just tell me how to help you. What do you want me to do?” Kelvin asked, attempting to be calm.

“I’m not sure. I just needed you to know the truth. I’ve carried this burden alone for too long.”

“Do you think counseling will help? It’s not like we can give a child back,” Kelvin said.

Michelle shrugged. “I guess so,” she replied.

“Good. That’s a start. Let’s throw around some more ideas… Maybe you should talk to Lynn about buying back your fifty-percent ownership in the day care. Returning to work could provide an outlet. We can enroll Kelvin Jr. in day care as well,” Kelvin said.

“That’ll defeat the purpose. I don’t want him there.”

“You know, that sounds really harsh, Michelle. I wasn’t suggesting he attend Classy Kids,” Kelvin clarified. “We’ll enroll him someplace else.”

“Oh. Okay. Well yeah, I agree,” she said.

Kelvin rubbed his head. “Hearing how you feel really breaks my heart. Then again, why am I surprised? I knew something was wrong months ago. You never bonded with our son—ever. Even to this day, you don’t take the time to show him affection. Why in the hell would you agree to have a child if you’re so against being a mother?”

“For you. I was trying to be a good wife—or what’s perceived to be one, anyway,” Michelle said.

“I thought it was compromise—something husbands and wives tend to do. I’ve made tough sacrifices for you as well. Don’t forget that,” Kelvin said.

Michelle watched him leave through the new tears forming in her eyes. Then she sat reflecting on his decision not to move back to his hometown, Tampa, Florida, after his parents had practically begged him to. They asked him to take over the family restaurant after his father became ill.

Kelvin opted to stay in Savannah because she’d refused to relocate. His parents were extremely disappointed and consequently, his cousin Andre managed the business. Unfortunately, knowledge of the company’s profits led to dishonesty and greed. Within a year the restaurant went bankrupt. Instead of holding Andre accountable, they blamed Kelvin.

Oh my God. Not only have I caused tension within my husband’s family. I’ve brought it to our home .

Michelle massaged her temples. During the conversation with Kelvin, she forgot about the headache. Suddenly the pounding was back. She grabbed pills from the pantry, shook out two tablets, and washed them down with a glass of water.

“What’s that?” Kelvin asked, startling her as he reentered the room.

“My medication,” she replied.

Kelvin snatched the container and read the label. “Is this the Percocet prescription I had refilled for you last week?” he questioned.

“Yes.”

“This was a month’s supply of meds. The bottle is half empty,” he complained.

“My head’s been killing me lately. Give it to me, please,” Michelle said with an extended hand.

“I thought they were prescribed for back pain,” Kelvin said.

“I’m dealing with that, too.”

“Okay. Now I see why my child’s being ignored. Instead of parenting, you’re sitting around here popping pain pills,” Kelvin said.

“How dare you?” Michelle rebutted.

“Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me I’m wrong,” Kelvin said, throwing the bottle across the room.

“You’re wrong,” Michelle yelled.

“I don’t think so. Matter of fact, I won’t leave my son alone with you again. He’s going to Lynn’s day care in the morning.”

“No, he’s not,” Michelle said.

“The hell you say,” Kelvin argued.

“Please. I don’t want my friends in my business.”

“Why not? You tell them everything else. This really isn’t about you. It’s about my baby boy. I’ve heard every word you’ve said, and clearly I need to step in and make a decision. On Monday I’ll find a permanent place for him to attend.”

“I can handle tomorrow,” Michelle replied.

“I beg to differ. Right now, your words are useless and the sound of your voice is annoying. I never thought a day would come that the love of my life would disgust me. The more I think about it, the problem isn’t that you don’t want to be a mother—you’re selfish and unfit. Incapable of being one,” Kelvin said.

Michelle stood numb as he turned and left the room.

Eventually, she retrieved the pill bottle from the dining room floor and went in the opposite direction. She curled up on the sofa in the den feeling like a failure, questioning if she’d done the right thing by being honest.

Then her mind drifted to Angel. She remembered adoring her while pregnant and the way she cared for Derrick Jr. after birth. Suddenly, the fact that jealousy had played a major role in the irreversible and life-changing agreement to give Kelvin a child made her sick to the core. However, she had no one to blame but herself. What happens now? was the question swarming her mind.

Hours later, she headed upstairs and eased in bed, trying not to disturb Kelvin. As she lay there, it seemed impossible to fall asleep. Michelle regretted not calling the girls. She wasn’t enthused to share what had been going on with her, but her friends had a way of making bad situations seem better. At that moment, she needed reassurance that things would improve.

She peeked at the digital clock on the nightstand. It read 2:47 a.m. She decided against reaching out at that hour.

Well, when Kelvin shows up at the daycare tomorrow, I know Lynn will have questions. I’ll wait until then to have the discussion.

“I apologize for putting you in a bad situation,” Kelvin said, breaking the silence.

“I’m sorry for letting you down. How can I not love my child?” Michelle questioned.

“What did you just say? Not loving our son and needing time away from him are two different things. Which is it, Michelle?” Kelvin asked.

“Love is caring for and protecting him. I’ve done a horrible job at both.”

Silence filled the room.

Kelvin sighed. “Let’s sleep on all that’s happened and where we go from here. Good night, Michelle.”

“Good night. I don’t want to lose my husband, Kelvin,” she said.

“I’m not losing my son,” he replied.