When Sergio returned from his trip to California, it didn’t take long for NIna to sit him down to talk about the recent visitor. She didn’t know how Sergio would react to hearing the news that Becky had returned, but she knew that she had to tell him. It wasn’t that Nina was happy that Becky showed up, but under the circumstances, she felt it was best to do as Becky had asked. Besides, if Sergio had a not-so-angry response, maybe he could find that closure that never happened with her.
“Honey, I have to tell you that we had a visitor the other day.” Nina said.
“Oh? Who? Did Don Lothario stop by to try to workout with me again?” Sergio asked.
“No. Now, before I tell ya who came over, I need you to stay calm. I’m just telling you, I’m not the person,” Nina said.
“Who the hell showed up?” Sergio asked cautiously.
“Becky,” Nina said. “Just before you respond, she didn’t come to see the boys. She came to tell you that, well, she’s not doing too good.”
“Probably needs money,” Sergio said calmly. “She was never good with it. But, this is the wrong tree and she needs to bark somewhere else.”
“Sergio,” Nina said, “she wants to tell you herself, but I can tell you it ain’t about money. I don’t like the fact she showed up out of the blue anymore than you do, but I think you should hear her out.”
Still remaining outwardly calm, Sergio nodded, “Okay. Bring her over. I think we can have a civilized conversation about whatever she wants help with. But she’s not seeing those boys.”
“That’s fine,” Nina said.
When Becky arrived, Nina showed her into Sergio’s workout room. The walls were padded so that the noise from his weight machine wouldn’t carry on around the first floor. It was also kind of an homage to Sergio’s career with his trophies displayed and a few posters he was feature on. It was decorated sparsely because he didn’t want a lot of distractions in there. No televisions or radios. There were no pictures or potted plants. Just the machines, the Wall of Sergio, and paint.
Of course, once Sergio entered…
“You’ve got a lot of balls to show up here,” Sergio blasted at Becky. “All these fucking years and you couldn’t even call you children to wish them a happy birthday or fucking send them a Christmas card? Some goddamn mother you are!”
“What the everloving fuck is your problem, Sergio?” Becky said. “You don’t know everything that I went through and you don’t know why I did what I did. Hell, you don’t even care because it’ll ruin this little narrative you’ve got going on in your head where this bitch of a girlfriend abandoned two kids on your front porch!”
“Oh fuck that shit. You were only thinking about yourself. The only person you’ve ever fucking cared about is you. What you want, when you want it, damn the consequences. Well, do you think I was ready to be a dad? Do you think I even wanted to be a dad at that point? No, Becky, no. I didn’t want kids right then. But you know what I did? I fucking did what I had to do to keep those kids happy and healthy. And you know what? I fucking hate you for the fact you just left like a coward. You could’ve talked to me about it, but no… you hadto do the typical Becky thing and run away!”
“You’re an asshole, Sergio. You’ve always been an asshole and you’ll always be an asshole. I don’t get it at all! How does everyone think you’re so fucking amazing when, deep down, you’re just an angry little man who has nothing better to do than yell at people? Do you talk to Nina like this? The kids?”
“Are you kidding me right now? That’s it. This discussion is over. GET OUT!” Sergio said.
“Not until I tell you what I came to say,” Becky said.
“You got one minute to talk before I carry your skinny ass to that fucking elevator,” Sergio said.
“I’m drying, you fucking prick. I’ve got cancer.” Becky said.
Sergio’s entire demeanor changed. All the anger melted in an instant. He felt embarrassed and stupid. She was, after all, the mother of his twins. It was something he never expected to hear. For years he always figured if they met again there would be this explosive argument, but he never once thought that this kind of news would come.
They were never the kind of couple in high school who were perfect. They were always fighting. It was something that defined their relationship. They were that couple. The ones who seemed to only have this physical thing between them and when they tried to do anything else, the found out they were not compatible at all. They had broken up and gotten back together so many times that their friends at school gave up trying to give advice and just told them both to stay away from each other. And, as senior year went along, they did just that. They hadn’t spoken until that day that she showed up at Sergio’s front door. And once more, it became apparent that there was only a physical link between them and there was nothing more.
The memories of high school flashed through Sergio’s mind in that moment. The good times, few as they were. Walks in the park, kisses and hugs, that moment he lost his virginity to her. And all the guys she dated in high school her senior year after they finally drifted apart. Maybe there was some part of him that always wondered how things would’ve turned out if they could have figured out how to make it work, but now that was only a memory from the past. Then he snapped back into the current reality.
“Cancer?” Sergio said trying to calm down.
“Yes, Sergio. Fucking cancer. Lung cancer, to be exact. I never smoked a day in my life, but fucking hell. Everything happens to me.”
For perhaps one of the first times in their lives, the two started to actually talk about something, sad though it was. Becky explained how the cancer was spreading quickly and there wasn’t much the doctors could do. There were treatments, but there were no guarantees. All she wanted to do was tell Sergio and then let him do with that information what he felt was right.
And, for his part, he did just that. He called Diego and Antonio into the dining room and sat them down at the table. They boys had no idea why they were being summoned, but they responded quickly and sat down. Sergio took a moment to tell them about Becky. It wasn’t that they didn’t know Nina wasn’t their birth mother, it was that Sergio didn’t think it was a good idea to get too involved into why their birth mother was never around. He wanted to spare them from that entire story. They were far too young to know all those details. Now, they were aware of just who their mother was. To their credit, they didn’t seem to be upset or confused. They just listened as he told them, in simple, kid-relatable terms, why he and their mother didn’t work.
He never told them about being left on the porch, though. That was something he promised himself he’d never ever tell Diego and Antonio. What kid would ever want to know that? That kind of thing could really fuck up a kid. At least that’s how Sergio felt about it.
Becky met the boys and the boys seemed to take to her. There was no mention of her cancer or any of the past. There was only the two boys meeting their mother for the first time. Becky even finally said which twin was born first: Diego. The whole time this was going on, Nina stood behind the feature wall that separated the kitchen and dining room from the living room. When she heard the kids joking with Becky, she stepped out from behind the wall and watched.
When the kids went to bed, Sergio took Becky into the living room and apologized for being an ass.
“Sergio,” Becky said, “Don’t. Don’t apologize. I guess I deserved it. I just felt you should know. But I also really love you for letting me see the boys. They’re so cute. We did good work together.”
“Yeah, that one time we actually did something right, even if the situation around it was fucked up.” Sergio said.
“And you and Nina have those cute toddlers running around. You’ve got a nice family, Sergio. I hope that you’re happy.”
“I am. I’m just sorry this happened to you. But, I want you to know if you need help with medical bills or therapy or anything, you only have to ask.”
“Sergio, I didn’t come here for money. I have my own. I have good insurance from work. But I appreciate you offering. And if I need help, I’ll let you know. Anyway, I should probably get going now. I have an early morning flight to New York.”
“Do you wanna crash here? I can offer you a couch and I’ll get you there. You can have breakfast with the whole family.” Sergio said.
“Thanks, but I should probably go back to the hotel.” Becky said.
Sergio nodded. Probably best she went back to the hotel anyway. Nina wouldn’t be too pleased if she spent the night. “Maybe, if you’re up to it, when the boys have some time off from school I can bring them over to New York to spend some time with you?”
“I’d like that. Let me know when and if I’m feeling up to it, by all means.” Becky said. Then they hugged.
Then she walked through the penthouse door. Sergio closed the door behind her. After pressing the button for the elevator, she looked back at the apartment. She could heard the boys laughing as Sergio started to play with them. She burned that sound into her mind. She knew that, deep down, she’d never see them again.
She never made her flight to New York. When the hotel housekeeping staff arrived to clean the room, she was on the bed, an empty bottle of pills beside her bed and a note by the telephone.