#RelationshipGoals: Could I Truly Be With A Man With 3 Kids?
I know many of you are wondering: Did Thomas ever use that number? He did.
If you remember from the last column, I met Thomas at a bar where he worked. He told me that he’s the father of three children and that he co-parents those kids with their mother. I’m typically turned off from men with children, especially if there are multiple kids, but with Thomas I was intrigued because there was so much maturity. He didn’t talk slick about his baby’s mother, nor did he abandon his kids. I respected that.
But I also had to understand dating a man with kids isn’t easy; I’ve done it before. No matter how long you’re together, you’ll always be reminded that those children are not yours and depending on the mother, there’s usually some type of drama or disdain, no matter how pleasant you are. I just prefer to avoid that added component of difficulty in my relationships. It’s already hard enough nurturing the relationship, but adding multiple relationships into said relationship is a set of obstacles I’d rather not deal with. But Thomas had a bit of a hold on me–I was feeling him, so I ignored my self-mandated limitations.
When I pulled away from Thomas’ kiss, I told him that I’d be back after the next stop that my friends were dragging me to–more dancing.
“I’ll be counting the seconds,” Thomas smiled down at me.
“That’s a lot of seconds,” I slurred my speech.
He squeezed my hand and dropped it when he had to continue to check ID’s.
I stumbled away from the bar and from Thomas. At the new location, I danced like I was being paid to. And then, before I knew it, my stomach churned and I followed my instincts to find the nearest bathroom.
I barreled into the stall, slammed the door and released every little thing I ate that day. I held on the the sides of the stall, waiting for the relief of the wave of nausea that always happens when you’ve vomited everything you possibly could.
“Dani?” My bestie Charles called from the other side of the stall.
“Yeah,” I grumbled.
“No! Middle stall!” I kicked the door open.
“Still sick?” Charles asked helping me out of the stall.
“No, just ain’t got it together anymore,” I leaned on him.
Charles cleaned me up, took me upstairs, called an Uber and put me in the car.
When I sat down in the Uber, I grabbed Charles’ collar, “But…my bouncer…”
“Girl, get home, drink water, get some sleep. He’ll still be there tomorrow, or another day,” Charles said shutting the door.
It took Thomas almost two weeks to call me. I don’t remember even giving him my number, but I knew that I didn’t have his.
My phone rang while I was at work in the middle of the day. I assumed it was some new PR person pitching me, so I picked up, “Hello, this is Danielle.”
“Danielle, hello! I hope you remember me. I remembered you with my soul clenched,” the deep voice almost whispered to me.
“Who is this?” I giggled, curious and slightly turned on.
“Thomas,” he waited.
“Thomas! Wow, long time, no hear. Was that more poetry, or was that you?” I asked.
“That was more Pablo Neruda. I know how much you love him,” and then, almost as if he was cast in the sequel to Love Jones, he started reciting a poem of Neruda’s that I’d never heard before,” I remembered you with my soul clenched, in that sadness of mine that you know. Where were you then?
Who else was there? Saying what? Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly when I am sad and feel you are far away?”
My face grew hotter with each word. Smiling, I said, “What poem is that? I’ve never heard this one.”
“It’s called ‘Clenched Soul.’ That man knew a thing or two about love, huh?” Thomas asked.
“Sure did. And what do you know about love?” I asked.
“Not everything, but I have enough of it in my life to know a few things. I also know that every experience of it is individualized. Like my experience of you…it’s breathtaking. Our chemistry was off the charts, wasn’t it?” He sounded like he was smiling–likely overly confident in that smooth ish he was talking. It was working, but I knew better at this point.
Falling in love with Thomas for the night was a possibility, but falling in love with Thomas for real, that was something I wasn’t trying to do. And almost like it was a sign from God herself, on the other end of the phone, I heard, “Daddy! Tell Terrell I can watch the Disney channel because I cleaned my room today!”
Daddy, aka Thomas, replied to his daughter, “You can baby girl.” He addressed me, “Danielle, hold on one second, OK?”
I held. One second turned into enough for me to hang up. I sighed and got back to work.
An hour later, my phone rang again, it was Thomas. I didn’t pick up. He left a voicemail. I hate voicemails, but I decided to check it to see what he had to say. I was sure that it was something perfect.
“Danielle, my sincerest apologies. Had to handle some conflict resolution in here. Such is the life of a single father.” He laughed, “I hope that your day continues to shine as bright as you are. I also hope that we can speak again. I’ll give you another call later.”
Smiling, I ignored that he said he’d try to call me again and an hour later, I called him back.
The phone rang and rang and voicemail picked up, but it wasn’t Thomas’ voice. It wasn’t even a man’s voice. Confused, I checked the number I dialed. It was the correct number. Before the beep, I hung up.
It didn’t take much time to put together that the woman on the voicemail was likely the mother of his children. I was instantly uncomfortable with the entire situation. I decided that I was just going to let Thomas go as quickly and as easily as he came.
But then he called me the next day. I picked up, even though I decided I was done. But of course I needed to know whose voice that was on his voicemail.
“Beauty, we played phone tag yesterday. Sorry about that,” Thomas apologized.
“It happens,” I kept going back and forth with asking Thomas about the woman’s voice.
“It does. How are you?” He asked.
“Curious,” I blurted out.
Thomas laughed, “I like that. What are you curious about?”
“You,” I said with little excitement in my voice.
“What do you want to know?” Thomas asked me, but I could tell there was some hesitancy in his voice.
I wasted no time, “I called you yesterday and the voicemail picked up, but it wasn’t your voice, it wasn’t Siri’s voice, it wasn’t your daughter’s voice…”
“Danielle, before you work yourself up…” Thomas started.
Here’s something men should try not to do: don’t ever tell a woman to calm down, in any variation. We never feel like we’re hype, even when we are. And if you tell us to calm down, it makes us even more hype. It’s not good for anyone. Promise.
“I’m not worked up Thomas, just curious,” I said as calmly as I could.
“Good. Well, OK. Remember how I told you that I’d call you back?” Thomas asked.
“You didn’t let me. You called me. I don’t want to tell you what to do, but, it’s just one of them things…” Thomas trailed off.
Typically, Thomas was well-spoken. I mean, the man spit Pablo Neruda lines to me. And now, he sounded like a different man. A man who was about to feed me some of those he-aint-sh*t lines.
“What is ‘one of them things?'” I asked.
“Well, it’s one of them baby momma things that I would need your patience and understanding to explain,” Thomas said. “Can I get that from you?”
Do you think I gave Thomas that patience and understanding that he requested? Stay tuned for next week’s column!