Nathan Sanders Makes an Apology

Written in response to: Write about someone who needs to face their past in order to move forward.... view prompt

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Drama Fiction

I was a different person back then; this must be completely understood.  


Five years ago, I was self-medicating my depression with alcohol. I didn't understand then that the booze only made it worse. Five years ago, I didn't know what love was. I was selfish and I was a fool. 


I knew Betsy Marron loved me. It meant nothing to me at the time aside from the fact that I could get what I wanted from her, if you get my drift. She was beautiful with long blonde hair, blue eyes and the perfect figure. I told her I loved her too. It was easy to make her believe it because it's what she wanted to hear. 


When Betsy told me she was pregnant, I was angry. A baby would be a huge inconvenience, a financial drain and, if Betsy thought she was going to trap me into marriage she had another thing coming. I pretended to be as excited as she was, I spent one last night with her and then I went home, packed my bags and left town. I never looked back, not until a year ago. 


A year ago, I put down the bottle for good. I got medication and counseling for my depression. It was as if I had been surrounded by a dark fog all my life and it had finally lifted. The problem with that is that I became acutely aware of what an ass I had been. I was filled with self-loathing and regret for what I had done to Betsy. I didn't even know if our child was a boy or girl. I had cut all ties when I left so Betsy wouldn't be able to find me.  Like I said, I was an ass.


After a year of hard work, my therapist helped me understand that until I faced what I had done, I would never be able to move forward with my life. I had to go back, face Betsy and if there was any way possible, I had to make amends.  


How does one even begin to make amends for such a heinous act? I had no idea; I only knew I had to try. 


I drove into town and was amazed at how little had changed since I left. The small town seemed frozen in time.  


I went to the apartment where Betsy used to live but she was no longer there. The girl in the office was quite chatty and happy to share that Betsy had moved into her parents' old house three years ago --- with her son. 


Back in my truck I drove the familiar route to Betsy's parents' house. I parked on the street and sat there for a long time working up the nerve to go knock on the door. When I finally did, there was no answer. I went back to my truck and waited, afraid if I left, I'd lose my nerve and run again. 


Two hours later, a car pulled into the drive. I sat frozen, watching as Betsy got out of her car, she was alone. Even from this distance I could tell, she was still beautiful. Her blonde hair was shorter now but otherwise she looked just as I remembered her. 


I got out of my truck and walked briskly, reaching her just as she unlocked her front door. "Hello Betsy." 


Betsy froze for just a moment, then turned around to face me. All the color drained from her face when she saw me. "Nathan." My name was obviously unpleasant to her mouth. I couldn't blame her. "What do you want?" 


"I need to talk to you. May I come in?" 


"No." 


I nodded. Couldn't blame her for that either. 


"What do you want Nathan?" She asked again. Her eyes were cold now, not the warm loving gaze I remembered but, that was my own fault. 


“I came to apologize to you Betsy, although I am painfully aware that no apology can make up for what I did to you--- what I did to our son.” Her face looked stricken, but she said nothing, so I pressed on. “I was a miserable person back then. I was a selfish drunken fool and I know it now. I got help Betsy, I’m better now and I see how wrong I was and I’m so very sorry.” 


“That it?” She asked. I could tell she was on the verge of tears despite her cold tone. 


“I don’t know Betsy, is it? What can I do to make things right with you? How can I earn a place in our boys' life? I don’t even know his name.” For a moment I wondered if I could make her love me again. I pictured myself with her and our son, a family. 


A cruel sneer painted itself across Betsy’s beautiful face. “You needn’t have run away Nathan. I miscarried OUR child three weeks after you disappeared. Then again, maybe that wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t so devastated and broken hearted that you had left me, left US.” 


I caught my breath. My first thought was that she was lying to me; she wanted to keep me away from our son. “I know you have a son Betsy.” 


“I do have a son but, he’s not yours.” 


“Why should I believe that?” I regretted the words as soon as they were spoken. 


Betsy’s nostrils flared in anger. “You should believe that because it’s the truth. Between the two of us, I am not the one who is a liar. I never said I loved you and didn’t mean it. I never said I was happy about our baby and then ran away. That was you. ASSHOLE!” 


Betsy slapped me across the face, hard. It stung like crazy. She reared back ready to take another swing at me, but I caught her wrist. She tried to jerk away but I held fast. 


“Is he, mine Betsy? Tell me the truth.” 


“My son is three years old Nathan. Do the math. And for the record, his name is Trevor Brantley Jr., after HIS FATHER.” She held up her left hand to display her wedding band. “Now let me go and get the hell out of here.” 


A car pulled into the drive and parked behind Betsy’s car. A large hulk of a man sprang out of the driver's seat and instructed the small boy in the back to stay put. He charged at us. 


“Get your hands off my wife NOW!” I hadn’t even realized I was still gripping Betsy’s right wrist. I released her immediately. The man grabbed me and slammed me up against the brick wall of the house. “What the hell is going on here?” 


Betsy was rubbing her wrist. My fingers had left indentations on her skin. I felt horrible and resigned myself to the beating I was about to get from Trevor Brantley Sr. I deserved that and more. 


“Trevor, I’m ok, really.” Betsy assured her husband. “This is Nathan Sanders, and he was just leaving.” 


“Nathan Sanders? You have a lot of nerve showing up here after all these years.” He grabbed me and shoved me towards the driveway. “Go back to whatever rock you’ve been hiding under. I better never see you near my wife again.” 


I took one last look at Betsy. “I’m sorry Betsy. Sorry for everything.” As I staggered toward the street where my truck was parked, I stole a glance at the small boy still sitting obediently in his car seat. He was the spitting image of Trevor Brantley Sr., no doubt about that. 


I fumbled with my truck keys. Finally getting the engine started, I watched as Trevor and Betsy retrieved their son from the car. Betsy picked the boy up and covered his face with kisses, her husband’s arm around her shoulders. As I drove away, the urge to drink hit me harder than it had in months. I called my sponsor instead. I knew what I wanted now, and it would require me to maintain my sobriety, stick to my medication and therapy sessions as I had for the last year. 


What I wanted was a family. I wanted someone to love me and to look at me the way Betsy once had. I wanted children and a house with a white picket fence. I wanted all the things that had once sent me running in cowardly fear. Betsy had found her happily ever after; I would find mine too and this time, I would not throw it away. 

August 29, 2022 19:42

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