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Creative Nonfiction

We call him our son, but he’s not. Not really. He’s Falfa. Just Falfa and Falfa’s a good dog. We taught him to beg, play dead, roll over, stay, heel. The usual stuff people teach their dogs. But, I don’t tell Susan the truth, even though she knows it. Even though in her heart of hearts she already knows it. She knows it. I know it. It’s one of those things like your wife’s weight, which you know, but you don’t speak about. You know. One of those things. So, we get up, I walk Falfa and he goes. He’s getting picky, but he goes.  

I forgot to mention, we got Falfa at the pound. We saved this S.O.B.’s life. Susan decided this dog was the one she wanted and he already had the name, Falfa. Falfa. Why Falfa? What? Was it short for Alfalfa? He’s not a bad dog. He’s a good dog. He goes outside, he doesn’t beg at the table, but he’s just a dog.

We all watch TV together. Susan, Falfa, and I. We watch CSI and GMA every day in the evening; all three of us. We record GMA, which is why we watch it in the evening, but the commercials really hurt. Sometimes the news hurts too. Commercials like, “Walmart has the lowest prices on GI Joe and look at the new Barbies we just got in. Then, I look at Falfa and remember I’ll never have a real son and then I feel empty.  

I have a brother who’s married, owns a home, has two cars in the garage, and is independent, living the American dream. Meanwhile I rent a two bedroom apartment, don’t own a car (Susan owns a car), am single (she doesn’t want to get married) , and Susan doesn’t want to have kids since she’s 45 years old and’s too old to have kids. That was the first thing she told me when we started dating and she told me she never wanted to talk about it again. So, we don’t. It’s stereotypically the elephant in the room. We don’t mention it or talk about it, and I’d better not bring it up or she’ll leave and no one else will date me and I know she’s right, but it’s in my genes, my blood, to reproduce, to show pictures of my pregnant wife, my home, and my car on Facebook and Instagram. I just can’t help it.  

I’d never hurt him, but sometimes I get angry at Falfa for not being our real son. I wish, like the puppeteer in Pinocchio, that he could be a real boy and not just any real boy, but our real boy. I wish he could’ve been in Susan’s stomach for nine months, but he can’t.  

So, I get up every morning, pour a cup of Cheerios with milk into a styrofoam bowl, get a banana, and get a cup of Coffee with milk, and I look at Susan, and I look at Falfa, and I silently cry. I know I can’t cry out loud or Susan and I will be in a big argument and she’ll leave. I can’t get anyone else, since I don’t have a car and the nearest single’s bar is 30 miles away. So, Susan, Alpha, and me stay in this stingy apartment and I wait and I pray: “God, please let me be a real Daddy someday. Please. Thank you.” But, I mumble it so she won’t hear me and get angry. I have to make sure she doesn’t hear me or else. Or else. “Or else”.

February 08, 2020 12:57

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Michele Duess
15:00 Feb 17, 2020

This reminds me of a friend of mine, maybe even me. Not because he wants a child I'm not sure he does. And while I have children if it turned out I couldn't I would have lived with it. It's the idea of being with someone just for the sake of not being lonely whether they're right for you or not. And being trapped. That's the part that speaks to me.


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