Now it isn’t that Betty and I didn’t try.
For a few months after Cass was born we tried to do the “right” thing. Of course, we failed miserably trying to do the “right” thing. Our efforts only made it worse. This is one of the difficulties when discussing out-of-wedlock pregnancies. The self-righteous and judgmental members of society insist people do the “right” thing, regardless of the circumstances. They say, “Son, be a man, and do the right thing”. When pressed as to the meaning of “right,” they respond with, “You know what to do”. Apparently, I didn’t.
I am a great deal of things and stupid is not amongst them. Arrogant, selfish, condescending maybe, but stupid I’m not. I understand the unspoken societal rules: get married, have other babies and live a righteous and God-fearing life. Of course, I don’t know anyone in a situation similar to mine, where doing the “right” thing actually work in the long run. No one is perfect and for all my faults I knew playing house would result in everyone being miserable: Betty, me, and most importantly my daughter.
As a sidebar, not wearing a condom demonstrates a serious lack of foresight. Therefore, to suggest I would somehow know what it means to “do the right thing” gives me more credit then I showed I deserved. Wait, maybe that means I am stupid.
We both wanted the “right” thing for Cass but we kept bumping up against the boundaries of reality. The reality was, I was never going to marry her mom. Truthfully, after my behavior during the pregnancy she was never going to marry me so it is arrogant to assume I had much choice in the matter. In hindsight, I think showing-up drunk at 3:00 a.m. probably contributed to our demise. Although, it could have been grandma’s ultimatum to Betty to choose: her family or me. She would have been insane to choose me. A simple, but hard truth.
Regardless of our motives, we made the “best” choice for ourselves. And although we often disagree, I think we both believe we’ve made the best choices for Cass based on the circumstances. As a result, Cassandra has had a fairly stable childhood and after all, that is what matters most.
As I’ve grown and become more honest and mature, I believe less-and-less in the “right” thing. I guess that makes me a cynic. The “right” thing often gets in the way of the “best” thing. For example, the “right” thing is not to kill. The “best” thing is to kill them before they kill us. In every case, the “right” thing is to get married. In our case, the “best” thing was not to get married. Although I was willing to sleep with Betty, I knew I’d never keep my vows. I would have eventually cheated on her out of sheer resentment – or her on me – had a nasty divorce, and spent years fighting over Cass.
Like I said, more hard truth…