Skin Deep, Iris 10

Iris admired the church's  architecture while she waited for her message to be relayed. She was tempted to peek inside the sanctuary for a look at the wedding party but decided not to. It was really the bride that she was interested in and she wouldn't make her appearance until the ceremony started.

Her impulse was a moot point. The skinny white boy didn't waste any time getting downstairs where Iris was waiting. Just as she imagined, he made a handsome figure in his tuxedo. His thick, dark hair was freshly cut in a style that created subtle spiky tufts about his head. It was the kind of cut that made a woman want to run her fingers through it.

His hairstyle might have appeared too youthful if not for the 5 o'clock shadow that covered his face. When Iris woke up in bed with him all those months before, he had been clean-shaven with a boyish face. Wasn't nothing boyish about him with that stubble on his face. 

She wouldn't have minded having the feel of that stubble as one of her wedding night memories.

"What are you doing here?"

The harsh whisper brought Iris back down to earth. "You ain't got to whisper," Iris commented. "Ain't nobody here but us. And we need to talk. I was–"

"Why did you tell my friend that we'd had a child together," her one-time husband interrupted. 

"I ain't said we had a baby together. I told him I was your baby mama." Iris gently laid her hand atop her stomach. "We gonna have a baby in two months."

The white boy's knees buckled. He fell back against the wall of the church, stunned disbelief all over his face. "This can't be real." His words were so soft that Iris almost didn't hear them.

"It's real, boo-boo. I'm having a baby and you the daddy."

His gaze roamed all over Iris' body. "But you don't look pregnant!" Compared to the little white chicks he messed with, she probably didn't. Them bitches was so bony that they probably looked pregnant after they ate a fuckin' TicTac. His comment was a reminder that the skinny white boy certainly wasn't used to dealing with a woman with some cushion. "Did you come here to interrupt my wedding?"

Iris scowled at him. The expression made her unfortunate features even stronger than usual. "I ain't even know you was getting married. And why the fuck you think I want to stop you? All I want from you is one thing." She reached into her purse and pulled out a folded sheaf of legal-looking papers. "Sign this."

"What is this?" He flipped through the papers. 

"They some legal papers that say you give up all your rights to this baby and leave it to me to raise by myself."

The white boy stood up straight. His jaw was tight with anger. "You come here minutes before I am about to be married and tell me that you're pregnant with my child. A child that would have been conceived while I was drugged and defenseless. And in the next breath you tell me you expect me to make a life-altering decision about its existence?"

"Yeah," Iris said calmly. "I do. And that's why. What you just said." She shook her head sadly. "You was drugged. You was defenseless… This whole time you been acting like you the only victim of what happened. Like I helped Craig trap yo skinny white ass, like you some kind of prize. I bet you ain't even told nobody about what happened that weekend, did you?" Iris took his silence as an admission. "I did," Iris continued. "I told family, 'cause she love me… and I knew I ain't do nothing wrong." She thrust the papers at him again. "I don't want my baby to have a daddy who got no respect for who his mama is. I'm gonna always be the secret you hiding from everybody. And you just gonna be the skinny white boy who knocked me up one fucked up weekend."

The church door opened. An older version of her one-time husband took a single step outside. "Son? Is everything okay?"

Iris marveled at the man. Looking at him was like getting a look at what the skinny white boy could be with some years and a few pounds on him. "I'm sorry," she apologized. "Yo son was telling me how bad my timing is, 'bout to make him late for his wedding. I just need to get these papers signed."


"It's okay, Dad." He didn't meet his father's gaze. "Go on back inside. I'll only be another minute." The white boy didn't speak until the door closed completely after his father. "I'm not going to sign this."

Iris shrugged. "Okay. Then let's just go inside and share our good news with all the folk you got waiting for you."

His lack of movement erased any doubts Iris might have had about cutting the skinny white boy out of her baby's life. "This baby got no place in your life. Or me neither." She squared her shoulders and held out an ink pen. "Sign." 

Iris locked gazes with her baby's daddy. Neither of them blinked, neither looked away. The first strains of music from inside the church broke the stalemate. The skinny white boy angrily snatched the pen Iris offered and scratched his signature across the line that was highlighted. He had barely finished signing when Iris grabbed the pages from his hands. 

Without a backward glance she turned and walked away. Iris felt a sense of relief that her baby's fate was now solely in her hands. She reminded herself to concentrate on that and not the sadness she felt in knowing that her baby's father didn't think their child was worth fighting for.

Home | Back | Next