It's an overcast and cool Friday afternoon. The shopping center is bustling with activity as people get in their last minute shopping before the stores close at seven. The sidewalks are choked with yuppie looking women surrounded by throngs of little rugrats. Rosa sits next to me and waxes poetically about her own daughter. We spend all our waking hours together these days. I keep wondering when she will grow tired of me.
"My daughter wrote me another letter," Rosa says. "She talked about being in prison and how it straightened out her life."
"I can only imagine," I reply.
"I've been in jail plenty of times for prostitution so I can't say much about it."
"Jail sucks," I reply. "I spent a night in jail for drinking and driving and learned my lesson as well."
"A pretty boy like you would get ass raped in prison," Rosa says. "You would be everybody's girlfriend."
I shudder to even think of what Rosa just said.
"When do you go see your daughter?" I then ask.
"The first week in May," Rosa replies. "She is driving here with my granddaughter to see me. I am so nervous."
"My social anxiety would be giving me fits," I retort.
"Don't put that in your mouth," A young mother says to her young son as they pass me and Rosa on our bench.
"I'm glad I and Rachel didn't have any kids," I tell Rosa. "That would have been one helluva mess."
"You would make an awesome father, though," Rosa replies. "I bet being a father would change your life for the better."
"Or drive me even crazier that I already am," I respond as I chuckle and smile. "Can you imagine me with teenagers?"
Rosa laughs and agrees. It certainly would make for an interesting family. But I would never want to pass on this affliction called schizophrenia to my offspring. My mother, her mother, and her mother's mother did. It made for some terrible and chaotic childhoods and lives. This line stops with me. I leave Rosa to walk on home feeling forlorn about the whole topic of parenthood. Somethings were just not meant to be.