He doesn't understand. He doesn't understand why you yell and scream at me all the time, Randy. He doesn't understand why his father is gone all the time.
He's only four years old and he loves his father to death. He's just a little boy. He cries when he misses you. It keeps me awake at night. "Daddy, I'm having a nightmare." "Daddy, I love you." "Daddy, I miss you." It breaks my heart. He's just a little boy and there's nothing I can do to help him. He doesn't want Mommy anymore. He's too old for that. He only wants Daddy.
And I'm afraid to show him that you're just on the television. I don't want him to see what you do and then fear you. He loves his Daddy more than anything and I don't want to know what it would do to him if he saw you. He knows you're at work. But he always looks up at me with the eyes he got from you. He asks, "Mommy, when is Daddy coming home?"
But, Randy, when you scream at me…He gets scared. You treat him like a little prince, but you treat me like the chamber maid.
"Come on, Troy, wake up. Daddy's coming home today," Jane whispered, gently shaking her son.
"Daddy!" the young boy screamed. The mere mention of his father woke him up in an instant. He jumped out of bed, throwing the rocket ship comforter off of his tiny body and jumping up and down in his dinosaur footy pajamas.
Jane smiled to herself when she saw how excited her son was. It had been a few months since Randy had some time off. He was coming home for the weekend in St. Louis.
And it also broke Jane's heart to see how happy Troy was. He looked just like his father, practically a spitting image. But he never saw the dark side of Randy Orton. Randy was always very controlled around Troy, never even raised his voice at him once.
But Jane got the full blow of it. He wasn't physically abusive, but he did yell at her a lot. It wasn't until about a year prior. When his schedule became more intense, when more pressure was put on him at work, he took his stress out on his fragile wife.
But even though he saved it only for Jane, Troy heard it at night. It kept him awake. He heard his dad call his mom things he never heard before. He never heard his dad that angry around him. He always wondered what his mom did to make his dad so angry. But then he'd wake up the next morning and go up to Jane. He'd say, "Mommy, I had a dream where Daddy was screaming at you and he scared me." She'd reassure his son that it was only a dream. He idolized his dad and didn't want to tarnish that.
The brunette frowned. "Come on, honey. Let's give you a bath so you're all clean when we go pick up Daddy from the airport. Okay?"
"Yeah! Can we use the bubbles, Mommy?" he asked.
"Whatever you want, Troy."
Jane stood in front of the mirror in the bedroom that she seldom shared with Randy. She didn't know what to wear. She didn't want to dress up, but she didn't want to wear what she wore while cleaning the house. She chose a light blue sweater and jeans. It wasn't much, but it was definitely nicer than the tattered t-shirts and sweatpants she wore while taking care of the home and Troy.
Her expression depressed as she surveyed herself. Randy worked with the so-called sexiest women on television. And he always had girls throwing themselves at him on the road. How could she compare? She definitely wasn't exactly a bombshell anymore, after having a kid and living the homemaker's life. Would he still love her? She was just a plain girl. And with the way he treated her when he was angry…
Jane was worried.
Troy sat in the back seat of Jane's red Ford Taurus that she drove for everyday use. He was kicking his feet up and down.
"Troy, I asked you if you needed to go potty before we left," Jane frowned, eyeing her son from the rearview window.
"I don't need to go potty, Momma. I'm happy to see Daddy!" he squealed, anxiously tugging on the brim of his St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap.
"Me too, honey. Me too."
"Are we there yet? I see a plane!" Troy asked, pointing at the sky.
"Almost, Troy. Look! There's the plane towers!" Jane said, trying to keep her son happy. When he was happy, she was happy, and she's never seen him this excited before.
"We're here!" he screeched, clapping his hands together.
"Uh-huh," Jane nodded, pulling into the parking structure.
They waited in the lobby. Jane bought her son a cup of chocolate ice cream. While making sure he didn't get it all over his grey t-shirt, she kept looking at the escalators that led upstairs from the baggage claim. He should be coming up at any moment. His flight was on time and it landed about half an hour ago.
"All done, Mommy!" he said, handing his mother the empty cup and plastic spoon.
"Sit still, Troy. I need to wipe your face. You don't want ice cream all over your face when you see Daddy, do you?"
Jane took a clean napkin off of her lap and wiped Troy's smiling face clean. She quickly retracted her hand when Troy let out a loud gasp.
"Troy! Are you okay, baby?"
"IT'S DADDY!" he yelled, hopping off the chair and landing on his feet, running up to Randy, who had just come up the escalator with his large suitcase. The young boy jumped up to Randy, who caught him with one hand and carried him back to his mom.
"Hey, buddy. I missed you," Randy smiled, letting go of his suitcase when they reached Jane.
"I missed you, too, Dad! You should see my room! I made a race car out of clay at preschool and I painted you a picture!" Troy said.
"That sounds great, tyke. I can't wait to see it. Now stand here while I give your mom a hug, okay?" Randy said, putting Troy back on the chair.
"Jane," Randy sighed, engulfing his wife in his arms. He buried his face in her neck. "I missed you."
I doubt it.
"I missed you, too, baby," Jane agreed.
Randy stood upright and placed a deep kiss on his wife's lips.
"Ewww," Troy said, covering his eyes.
"One day, bud, you'll be married and you'll be kissing a girl like that," Randy chuckled, picking up his son again.
"No! I'll never get married!"
"You'll love a girl someday," Jane said. The family of three walked back to the car, with Randy toting both his son and his suitcase.
"Nooo! The only girl I'll ever love is you, Mommy."
"That's cute," Randy smiled.
You're so sweet around him, Randy. You treat me like a queen. With Troy in our lives, we're the perfect family.
But what if he wasn't born? Would you still love me? Or would you cross the barrier you have never crossed before?
Would you be hitting me? If we didn't have a child to care for…What would you do? He wouldn't be there to ask me where the bruise came from, and I hate lying to my little boy.
I know he's the light of your life. Remember when I used to be?
"Look what I made for you, Daddy!" Troy yelled, running to the refrigerator once they entered their home.
Troy pulled off a white piece of paper with a picture painted on it with water paints. It was a family of three and a house. There was Jane and Troy inside the house, frowning.
And then there was Randy. He was painted wearing a business suit and carrying a briefcase. He was standing outside the house, and he was smiling.
"Why am I outside the house?" Randy asked, holding the paper in his hands.
"Because you're never home. You're always at work," Troy said. It was the saddest he had sounded all day.
"Oh…" He looked up and saw his wife frowning at him. "Why are you and Mommy frowning?" Randy asked.
"Because we miss you when you're gone," Troy answered.
"Why am I smiling? Am I happy to be leaving?"
"No! You're coming home to surprise me and Mommy! And when you come in the door we'll be happy!" Troy said, hugging his dad's leg.
"Will you be here when I wake up?" Troy asked, kicking his legs under the covers.
"Yes, I will be. I'm not leaving for another two days. We can spend all that time together. I promise," Randy replied, closing the story book he had just finished.
"Yay! Daddy, you're the bestest daddy in the whole wide world!" Troy said.
"Thanks, buddy. I love you more than anything in the whole universe." He bent down and kissed his son's forehead. "Go to sleep, okay? I don't want you to be tired when I take you to the Cardinal's game tomorrow!"
"The Cardinals!" Troy gasped, covering his mouth. "I'm going to sleep right now!" He laid back against the pillows and closed his eyes.
"Goodnight, Troy," Randy whispered, turning on his son's fire truck nightlight, turning off the main light, and leaving the door half open.
He stood in the doorway watching his son sleep for a bit. He smiled to himself. He really did love that boy. He turned around to walk into the room next door, his bedroom, only to find Jane standing in the doorway in a robe. "You read my mind," he winked.
Jane opened her rope to reveal a flannel nightgown. "Really? You want to watch Home Improvement? This is what I am now, Randy."
She braced herself for the verbal abuse. She knew it was coming. She was waiting for it.
"I don't want to talk about this now, Jane," Randy said with a bit of an angry tone. "He's right in the other room and I do not want to wake him."
"Oh, like that's ever stopped you before!" Jane said, tossing her arms up in the air. "He's come into my room before crying because he's heard you yelling. He asks me why. I tell him it's just a dream! I hate lying to him, Randy."
"Fine! I'm just some horrible man! You don't even need a job because of me! I provide for this whole family! So maybe you can tell me what to do when you make millions a year!"
Jane looked away from her husband. It was times like this when he made her sick. She turned around and went into the room, kneeling on the ground and searching under the bed.
"What are you doing?" he asked, following her.
She resurfaced with a notebook in hand. "Maybe if you read this, you'll understand. I love you, Randy, but if we're staying together just for the sake of our son…There's no use in both of us going crazy." She walked to the closet and took a blanket off the top shelf. "I'm going to sleep on the couch." She shoved the notebook into Randy's hands and left the room.
Randy sat alone on the bed, his hand running over the red cover. Why was this so important? Did this have her life plan in it or something? He opened up the cover and started reading to himself.
He doesn't understand.