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I usually have a hard time getting out of bed on Mondays, but today was different. I was really excited to get my day started. My appointment at Jackson’s Diagnostic Testing Center was a breeze. They swabbed my cheek, took a couple of vials of blood, and told me I would have the results of the DNA test no later than Wednesday.  I should probably go into the office, but I’m quite content people watching inside this coffee shop near my house.  There’s a very handsome man sitting a couple of tables over. He has a low haircut with really sharp lines. His skin is a beautiful caramel complexion, and his eyes are deep brown. He looks a bit disheveled for this time of day. It’s not even noon yet, but his sleeves are rolled to right beneath his elbow, and his tie is loosened. It looks like he’s had a hard day at work.

If I had a bit more courage, I’d go introduce myself, but I’ve never been good at that kind of thing.  I prefer subtle flirting, like brief eye contact or an accidental bump while walking by.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t looked up from his laptop so we haven’t been able to make incidental eye contact. I guess I’ll have to take the scenic route past his table and go get a refill.  This teal maxi dress I wore today is always a head turner. It hugs me in all the right places, and I’ve been told on more than one occasion that the color looks great on my dark skin. As I walk toward the front of the coffee shop, he briefly looks up at me and smiles. I tilt my head to the side a little, and smile back at him.

As I’m standing at the counter perfecting my cup of hazelnut coffee, I see him walking toward me out of the corner of my eye. This is my chance to be bold. Considering what I’ve been through the last three days, flirting with an attractive man should be easy.

“Could you pass me the raw sugar, please?”

I clumsily hand him the container full of raw sugar.  My hands are shaking, although I’m not sure why.

“How are you doing today?”

I’m doing okay. How’s your day going?

“It’s going pretty well, I suppose. I’ve never seen you before and I practically live here. You must not come here often.”

Well, I’m usually at work this time of day, but I took a little time off to handle some personal matters. How are you able to spend so much time in here? Do you own this place?

“Nah, I’m self-employed, and sometimes I feel like the walls are closing in on me when I’m at home or my office. I come to the coffee shop to people watch. It gets my creative juices flowing.”

My only mission while sitting in here today is to people watch.

“Oh, I know. I’ve seen you watching me for the past twenty minutes.”

I hope my face isn’t showing how flustered I am. I swear I didn’t notice him look up at me. How in the hell did he know I was checking him out? He probably thinks every woman is checking him out considering he’s so damn fine. He obviously doesn’t even pretend to not know it.

No way! I may have glanced at you once or twice, but the rest of the time I was looking at the plant behind you.

He’s laughing hysterically. His eyes are sparkling, and his teeth are perfect. I hope he doesn’t think I’m a creep.

“So you’ve got a thing for plants?”

As a matter of fact, I do. I have what one might describe as a green thumb. I’ve kept my artificial house plants in mint condition for years.

“Wow, that’s pretty impressive. Perhaps you should come join me at my table so you can get a closer look… at the plant.”

Are you sure I won’t be distracting you from work?

“You’ll definitely be a distraction, but I’m okay with that.”

I just felt a flutter in my stomach.  Not only is he fine, he’s also charming. That’s a combination that can low key ruin your life if you’re not careful.

I’d love to join you. I’m dying to get closer to that plant.

We walked back to his table, and as I’m standing there waiting for him to clear off some space for me, I notice his screen saver is a picture of a beautiful little brown skinned girl. She has thick curly hair, and the brightest eyes I’ve ever seen.  She is what I imagine Davinder looks like.

Is that your daughter?

“Yes, that’s my little sweet pea.  She’s the most amazing child ever, in my clearly unbiased opinion.”

She’s absolutely gorgeous. How old is she, if you don’t mind me asking?

“I don’t mind at all. She’s four going on fourteen.”

She’s Davinder’s age. Maybe I should ask for some parenting advice.

“What about you? Do you have any kids?”

Oh shit, I’m not sure how to answer that question.

Um, I think so.

“You think so? Do we need to take you on the Maury Povich show? Is some guy trying to trap you by claiming you’re his baby’s mama?”

He’s amused with himself, and I can’t help but laugh.

It’s a long, complicated story that’s a little heavy for coffee between strangers.

“I think strangers are the best people to lay your burdens on. They don’t know you, so they have no preconceived notions about what you should or shouldn’t do.  They might judge you, but hell you shouldn’t care since you’ll probably never see them again anyway.”

So you’re saying I should treat you as if I’ll never see you again?

“For the purpose of this conversation, you should absolutely treat me like you’ll never see me again. I’m very curious about you. I’ve never met a woman who didn’t know whether or not she has a child. I need answers. I promise I won’t judge you.”

He’s right. If a woman told me she “thinks” she has a child, I’d want an explanation too.

I’ll tell you, but you probably won’t believe me. It’s a really crazy situation, and there’s still a lot that I don’t know.

“Just tell me what you know.”

I’ll give you a very condensed version of my story. I was paying a clinic to store my frozen eggs, and one of their doctors illegally fertilized and implanted them into a surrogate for a young couple.  They had a little girl; she’s four years old now.  So, biologically I am a mother. I just found all of this out a few days ago, so that’s why I wasn’t sure how to answer your question.

He has a blank look on his face, and his eyes have suddenly stopped sparkling. He looks like a kid who just found out Santa Claus isn’t real. I knew this wasn’t an appropriate conversation for getting to know someone.

What’s wrong? You said you wouldn’t judge me, but I definitely feel judged. Your whole mood changed.

“I’m sorry. I just… that story really is unbelievable. Do you know anything about the couple that’s raising your child?”

Not really. I know they live in the Atlanta area, and I know their names are Vincent and Seana. I hope to find out more about them in the next few weeks.

Speaking of names, I just realized we haven’t formally introduced ourselves. My name is Evening, but most of my friends call me Eve.

“Is your last name Hammonds?”

How in the hell does he know my last name? I’m a little freaked out right now.

Yes, how do you know my last name? I don’t think we’ve ever met, because I never forget a face.

“I know your last name because I’m, uhhh your child’s father”

Suddenly I can’t breathe. I feel like I’m about to faint. Did he just say what I think he said? Did I really just accidentally meet Davinder’s dad? You have got to be fucking kidding me!

“Breathe, Eve.”

Let me see the picture of her again, please.

He turns his screen around, and suddenly all I see is this beautiful mini version of me.

“Say something, Eve.”

I stand up, gather my shit and head for the door. Just as I’m about to walk out, I turn around and yell to Vincent, “SEE YOU ON MAURY!”


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