By K. Hecht, A. Hosack, & P. Berman
The future seemed so wonderful to imagine. Even Larry had re-entered Claire’s life. Larry had a job at a local bar as a bouncer; he had been working for a year and had saved up and now had a car. When he first showed up at the Carsons, Claire was so surprised he had been able to find her! It made her feel so happy and loved that he would search for her. Claire assumed it was another sign her future was bright. Larry was earning enough money to take her out to eat and to the movies that she said she would be willing to just hang out without these special things if he could give her the money instead for caring for Davy. Larry had rejected this idea and reminded her that he had told her the truth from the beginning – he wasn’t ready to be a father.
Claire was disappointed. By now, she had figured out that the Carsons’ budget was over stretched, and she wished Larry could help at least a little. She was giving them all the money she earned. and she could tell they really appreciated it. It was a surprise, but Claire found that helping to pay for the food in the house seemed to make it taste better. She was probably crazy to think this but when she impulsively told Mrs. Carson, she got a big smile on her face.
Larry wanted to start having sex right away, but she made him wait until she bought some condoms. Claire had learned from parent magazines how much harder it would be to have two kids; she knew she was not ready for this and it wouldn’t be fair to the Carsons either. Larry didn’t like wearing a condom but said as long as she paid for them, he would.
Mr. And Mrs. Carson are curious about Larry. When he came to the door, he was polite enough, but he didn’t say much. After the first time he came, he began just honking his car horn and Claire just runs out. Claire doesn’t seem to mind this but the Carsons think it is more respectful to come to the door and knock. When they ask Claire about him, she is evasive at first but later feels guilty about it. She finally tells them that Larry is Davy’s father.
The Carsons get angry when they hear this because he hasn’t even come by once to meet Davy. Claire tries to explain that Larry had told her from the beginning that he was not being ready to be a father. Mr. Carson said something that has stuck with Claire; it isn’t whether Larry is ready or not, Larry is Davy’s father.
The next time Larry honks, Mrs. Carson suggests to Claire that she take Davy with her. Maybe if he meets Davy, Larry will realize what he is missing by not being active in his life. It sounds like a good idea, but Larry knows nothing about three-year-old’s and gets angry when Claire must fuss to get Davy into the car. Then, when they get to his apartment, he is frustrated that Davy can’t entertain himself and keeps grabbing Claire every time Larry tries to kiss her. Davy tells Larry, “she is my mommy not yours!” Larry has had enough by now. He sees red and glares down at Davy.
I would never have talked like that to my father. That brat doesn’t respect me. He needs discipline NOW.
Larry yanks Davy hard on the arm and begins spanking him hard while saying, “Don’t ever talk like that to me again.” Davy bursts into tears and screams for Claire but Larry shoves her away when she tries to pick Davy up.
Claire is not teaching that kid how to treat me with respect. She is favoring that kid over me. That must change right NOW!
Larry was raised in a home where his father was the absolute dictator of everything that happened. His mother would never have taken his side against his dad. Claire tries to explain that she has learned from Head Start that all little kids talk like that, it isn’t intended to be disrespectful.
Shut up Claire. Don’t you tell me what is and isn’t okay for that kid to do!
As far as Larry was concerned, Claire’s words showed she was not being loyal to him. She should be shaking the kid and telling him to shut up. His attention shifts from Davy to Claire. He shoves Davy away and Davy quickly hides behind the couch. As Larry approaches Claire he is screaming in her face, “If that little monster were living with me, I would lock him in a closet anytime he started to cry- that would get him to know who was in charge.”
Claire is shaking with fear. She has never seen Larry like this before – but she has seen his dad behaving this way. Why was Larry acting just like a man he had always hated? She just wanted to get Davy and get far away from him until he calmed down. She had tried to be an advocate for Davy and let Larry learn some of what she was learning from Head Start. But Larry had taken it all wrong.
Claire looked down at the floor and doesn’t move a muscle. Larry is glaring at her but sees that she is now looking down at the floor.
Better, but not enough. She must grovel after what she has done.
Larry shoves Claire up against the wall and says in a low growl that she had better keep quiet when he is disciplining his kid, or she will be the one who gets smacked! Davy had squirmed deep into the small space between the couch and the wall to try to escape from Larry, but when he heard these words, he runs out and gets between Larry and Claire crying, “Don’t you hurt my mommy!”
Larry turns purple with rage, it has happened again. That brat has no respect for him. Claire looks back and forth between Larry and Davy. She isn’t sure what to do to protect Davy. She gets on her knees and whispers to Larry, “please let me take Davy home for a nap. He is too tired to be a good listener. Please let us go home.” Claire is clutching Davy to her and it is this that grabs Larry’s attention.
She keeps choosing that piece of crap over me! That bitch is beyond belief. She wants to go home. Fine, I am done with her and her brat. I don’t want to ever see them again!
“Sure Claire, I’ll take you and the brat home. But first, take this present from me.” Larry punches her hard in the stomach and then screams for her to take the brat and get in the car. Claire is doubled over with pain, but she knows she better listen and get out to the car. She clutches Davy to her and runs out the door and into Larry’s car. As soon as Larry is in, he takes off fast not waiting for Claire to buckle Davy into the seat. The look on Larry’s face makes Claire want to hurl. She closes her eyes and tries to calm herself down. Suddenly the car stops, and Claire falls forward and hits the front seat. Only her tight grip on Davy prevents him from flying into the front wind shield. Larry screams for them to get out. The moment Claire and Davy are half way out of the car, Larry pulls away and disappears down the road with the side door of the car flapping back and forth.
Davy is crying as Claire carries him inside. Mrs. Carson asks what’s wrong and Claire wants to tell her the truth. She keeps quiet. Larry would be so angry if she told the Carsons what happened. Claire doesn’t think Mr. Carson ever hits Mrs. Carson. They might get so mad at Larry that they don’t let him come by anymore- Larry is Davy’s dad and Claire still loves him.
Claire tells them that Davy is just over tired. As Claire puts Davy in his bed, she kisses and says she loves him with her whole heart. She can’t believe that her little Davy tried to protect her from Larry; no one had ever tried to protect Claire before. She tells Davy that what happened with Larry will never happen again and he falls deeply sleep.
Why would Claire still love Larry after what he did?
Do you think Larry could ever be a good dad?