The Day Travis Became a Man – short story (part 2)
During Travis’s senior year, there was a girl he had his eye on. She wasn’t like the other girls he fooled around with, he really liked this girl. He wanted her to be his girlfriend and hopefully, one day his wife. That girl’s name was Stacy. Stacy was a petite girl, with pretty smooth dark coco skin, the same color of coco when you first take it out of the packet. She had a short hair cut, in an edgy spiked style. She had a totally different style and vibe from all the other girls in school and Travis was digging it. There was a slight problem for Travis though, Stacy was very hard to impress. She was very ambitious and focused on her future goals. One rarely saw her wasting her time talking and gossiping with the other girls. Not that she was stuck up or anything like that; she just wasn’t impressed by their material things, their meaningless conversations or their gossip. Stacy appreciated those who had substance. She did a lot of volunteering in her community and liked being around people that genuinely cared about other people and other things in life besides themselves. That is what drew Travis to her, that and the way she carried herself, which was very dainty and lady like. Each time Travis found the courage to try to get Stacy’s phone number, something always seems to block him from getting it. Either, someone interrupts him or the time is never right.
One day, Travis got lucky and was able to speak with Stacy and get her phone number. If his body could turn inside out, everyone would have seen a big smile, but since he shows no emotions…they didn’t. Travis and Stacy became a couple and started dating exclusively all through high school. You hardly saw one without seeing the other. After high school, Stacy went on to Nursing School, but Travis decided to not go to college and instead help manage his father’s grocery store, which he would one day own. Mr. Tatum was getting up in age and Travis knew it would be a matter of time before his father would no longer be around. Although, it was his father’s responsibility as a parent to take care of him and his sisters before and after their mother died, Travis felt a strong responsibly of paying his father back for all the years he cared for them. So, while Stacy was away at Nursing School he worked at the grocery store day and night.
Travis sisters had grown into lovely young ladies, besides him being too over protective he and his father had done a great job together raising the girls after their mother passed away. His sisters went away to school, so it was just Travis and Mr. Tatum left behind to hold down the store and their home. Stacy and Travis spoke on the phone a lot while she was away at nursing school and she visited Travis and Mr. Tatum on holidays when she came home to visit her own family. Mr. Tatum began getting ill and Travis knew the time for him to completely take over was coming. It was the week before Christmas; Mr. Tatum was rushed to hospital. The girls came home to be by his side and support Travis. They knew it was hard for Travis to show any emotion and that he would need them, although he may act as if he was holding his own. Mr. Tatum had become weaker and he had Travis and his sisters all come to the hospital together, so he can talk to them about the house and the store. They did and the girls were crying like babies. With tears pouring out their eyes, snots running down their noses, but not Travis, at least that is what they thought. Travis was crying inside. He couldn’t let his father see him being weak, because after all, “Tatum men don’t cry” But, his father knew his son.
A few days after their talk, Mr. Tatum died. Stacy was at the funeral, right by Travis’s side. The girls took it really hard, because now both of their parents were no longer with them. Travis was just numbed. After the funeral, the girls went back to school and Stacy stayed on for a few more days with Travis. Stacy was worried about Travis. He just kept very busy in the store and barely spoke unless she questioned him. Days passed and Stacy had to get back to Nursing School. Travis didn’t want her to leave, he wanted her to stay and hold and comfort him, but he didn’t know how to express that to Stacy. That was one thing about their relationship that frustrated Stacy the most, her not knowing for sure if Travis really cared or even loved her, because he never showed it, but he did love her and very much so. Summer came and Stacy finished school and became a Registered Nurse and started work that fall in the maternity ward at the hospital in their hometown. She wanted to come back to her roots and help those within her community.
The girls had one more year of college left and were home for the summer helping Travis in the store when they weren’t hanging out with their friends. Travis was managing the store very well, he had several employees and he made a lot of changes and upgrades to the store. Mr. Tatum would have been very proud. A year has passed and everything was going great for Travis, Stacy and the girls. The girls graduated and went on to do their things in life. Stacy became head nurse within the maternity ward and Travis expanded the store in two new locations. Life was good! So good, that Travis asked Stacy to marry him. Of course Stacy said yes, she loved him so much. However, she was a little shocked. Although, she knew deep in her heart that Travis loved her, she was a little worried about the way he never showed it. This would raise concern with anyone male or female. So, as she planned for a February wedding, the weekend before that Valentine’s Day to be exact, she was getting nerves by the minute. She wanted to be sure about what she was about to do, since she was about to commit her life to this man who barely gives hugs.
Stacy wondered if she was doing the right thing. She wondered would Travis become more affectionate once they are married, would he show any type of emotions at all. She was in love with him, but also very confused as to whether she was doing the right thing for herself and her future. What if they have children, would he be a loving and supportive father, while still disciplining their children? They never discussed getting married never mind having children. Stacy was really freaking herself out. After discussing these concerns with her mother, she decided she loved Travis enough and had enough faith in him to believe that he loved her just as much. The wedding was set. The weekend before Valentine’s Day, Stacy and Travis became man and wife, and Travis’s sisters were bridesmaids. It was a small, yet beautiful wedding.
At the reception, Travis got totally out of character and said a few words to his sisters, of how proud he was of them and how much he loved them. With tears in their eyes, his sisters looked at each other with a smile in shock and disbelief. Then he did something totally out of his box. He then made a beautiful toast to his bride Stacy. “To Stacy, the most loving, caring and giving person I have ever met.” “I will always honor you, love you, respect you and most of all, I shall cherish all the love you have shown me and continue to show me, I love you with all my heart.” With tears in both of their eyes, he kissed his bride and as he held Stacy he looked up and whispered “Tatum men do cry, daddy” and that was the day, Travis became a man.
Don’t we all have some form of barrier we put on to protect us against certain things in life that we are not comfortable with or we don’t want to be hurt by? Most of us are conveyed a certain way, because of the way we were raised, it’s not necessarily the way we really are.
I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I just love happy endings, don’t you?
© written by: Cheryl Foston
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