Two Mommies Part II: This IS Family
Rafe's musings about his family.
Disclaimer Ahead: Guiding Light was a product of Proctor
& Gamble (like Tide, Charmin and Olay). The characters are
the creative property of the show and its producers – I'm
just borrowing them for my amusement, and hopefully for those
few souls who read this.
My Two Mommies Part II: This IS Family
Thanksgiving. 2008. That's when I should have noticed it. I
caught only a glimpse of you two as I headed back to my cell.
But the way you held her, and the way she clung to you like a
lifeline, it was there then - this unbreakable attraction and
commitment. And the way you stroked the back of her head,
trying to calm her. You reaching out to stroke her arm too
after she'd moved away. The tears still hung in her eyes with
news of how she lost our money thanks to Decker, and, at that
time, all you could do was hold her. So that's what you did…
That should have told me everything, but it didn't.
A few months later some other prisoners stole my meds and I
collapsed. I drifted in and out of sleep that day. One time I
woke up and you were there. With her. I remember that I teased
her and asked if my medical emergency interrupted her date. It
wasn't just the new clothes she was wearing that made me
wonder, but this…aura around her - one of contentment and
delight. She said no, she wasn't going on a date, but in
hindsight, you know, maybe it was a date; even if two didn't
realize it. And while you BOTH stood over me, making sure I
was alive, Emma prepared to stand in front of a classroom
alone, because at the moment I took precedence, well… That
should have told me everything, but it didn't.
And her engagement… I asked if she was happy with Frank.
I don't believe she lied to me. I think Frank did make her
happy, but was happiness really enough? Looking back,
obviously, it wasn't. What I should have asked her is if she
was 'in love' with Frank? Or maybe an even better question
would have been… who did she really love? Even at the
wedding Ma looked disheartened and when she looked at you,
there was this… apprehension… and maybe even a longing
that you'd save her from making a big mistake. But you said
nothing. Instead tears filled your eyes and ran down your
cheeks. Sure, at the time, I thought they were tears of joy,
that Ma was getting everything you wanted her to have –
everything we BOTH wanted for her and … That should have
told me everything, but it didn't.
Then the day I got the job at the hardware store… Any
inkling or suspicion I might have had couldn't be ignored
anymore. At first, I couldn't believe what I was seeing – or
I simply didn't want to believe it. My Ma scooting closer to
you. Caressing your face. Then you kissing her palm. I knew
that the two of you had grown close, but this was way too
intimate. I knew what I was watching doesn't happen between
friends. This was something more. In my shock, and yes, I'll
admit it, disgust, I quickly got tunnel vision and, as a
result, I managed to miss the bigger picture. You were both
happy and you two were in love. You wanted my dad, but you
never looked at him the way you were lookin' at my Ma; not
once did you look at him with total unwavering devotion and…
That should have told me everything, but it didn't.
And after she left without a trace, not once did you tear
into me, even after all the cutting comments I made. I lashed
out at the closest thing to Ma... you. I was angry at the
thought of her 'picking you' over me. I was angry with her
leaving without saying a single goodbye. I was just...angry...
But you stood your ground and listened to me rant and rave,
time after time, with the patience of a saint. I used you as a
human punching bag and you let me. I think it's because you
knew, in the end, that Ma's heart was yours. That she'd return
and that I'd come to regret everything I did and said, like I
have. And rather than play the 'I told you so' game, you took
the high road...That should have told me everything, but it
Then, as I got on that bus to ship out, I watched you
smile. I could tell – it wasn't because you were happy to
see me leave, although you'd have every right to be jumpin'
for joy. No. You actually looked proud – as if I was your
own son. You seemed pleased that I had the intelligence to
recognize I had little opportunity for the 'better life' I
desired, but I was taking steps to get there on my own. But
more than that…I saw the way you held her when she cried.
You stood there; side-by-side; equals... a united front to any
dilemma, fear or sadness that might lie ahead. That look led
to the realization that your affair just might not be just a
phase Ma was going through, well… That should have told me
everything, but it didn't.
I came home on leave to meet Francesca for the first time.
Shayne's team had won their big game, and we were having a BBQ
at the farmhouse to celebrate that fact, along with my
homecoming. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. In fact, it
was rather mundane.
But that's when it happened…
Lillian and Buzz were doing the BBQ prep work in the
kitchen. You were holding Francesca while Ma and Blake were
pulling the silk out of the corn so we could cook them on the
grill. The two of them were talking and laughing. I just
watched as they placed the corn in the bucket so they'd be
Out in the field, Doris and Frank were trying to show Emma
how NOT to 'throw like a girl,' as Doris called it, and
surprisingly they were actually having some success. I smiled,
and even chuckled, as I watched Emma trying to mimic Doris
wiggling at home plate with the bat. And that's when it
I glanced over at you. I wasn't expecting it, but you were
watching me instead of Emma. You wore the same look of love
and adoration you'd always given Emma. It was the same look
you gave Francesca throughout the day as she sat in your lap.
It was also that same undying affection you showed my mother.
We were truly a family.
But before I could say anything, or acknowledge it in any
way, Ma walked over, breaking our eye contact. She kissed
Francesca on the crown of her head and then leaned over
further to kiss you gently on the lips. I watched silently and
This isn't an itch that needs scratched…
This IS family…