Tapping my foot, the vanity vibrated against the wall. I was so nervous. In a panic actually. My senior year was about to start. The volleyball State Championship win was the plan, prom, college, hopes, and dreams ahead. My entire future planned since Junior High School to be determined by a stick. The stress and anxiety grew. I removed the white plastic stick from under myself. Already chewed and raw, I chewed my nails some more before looking down. Positive. I was pregnant. Exactly what I didn’t want.
Why? How? Well, I knew how. These things are wrong all the time but twice within a week. Two different tests. Same plus sign. How? I was careful. I used protection. How could this be happening? I had irregular periods since I began menstruating. The surprise blood stains through my shorts during gym class one too many times because it came a week early or a week late was nothing new. It had been months since the last time I was with anyone. Over a year, prior to that. It was at Jess’s end-of-the-year party. Me, Jess, Ronnie and Peter had gotten plastered and things got wild. That’s when me and Ronnie hooked-up.
I had somewhat of a period last month. I hadn’t been with anyone else. Ronnie, Oh Jeez. Not that guy. I hadn’t seen him since that night. He hadn’t called me and I wasn’t calling him. School was starting in a week. How was I going to go back to school? I laid on my bed looking at my schedule for the upcoming year. Jess was texting wanting to go shopping. She wanted to get new outfits so we would look hot for the first day. Shopping for clothes was the last thing I wanted to do. How long would they even fit? I drove to the mall with saltines and ginger ale in my bag. Whenever I had the flu or just felt nauseous it always settled my stomach. I wasn’t sure if the nausea was from the growing human inside of me or if I just felt plain sick to my stomach from pure shock. I couldn’t even do a load of laundry without shrinking something. How was I going to take care of a baby? Be a mother? How was I even going to tell my mom? I couldn’t tell Jess either.
My mom was a single mother. Dad ran off with some bartender down the block right before I was born and never came back. Mom raised me on her own with waitress jobs on the weekends. During the day, she was a crossing guard for my school district. It made her feel better, having school days off when I was home so we could spend time together. She had worked hard for me to get through school. Food. Clothes. Sporting activities. Keeping her rust bucket car running. We lived simply. Always having the basics but content.
How was I going to tell her? All mom ever talked about was how I needed to make something better of myself. Go to college. Do better so I wouldn’t have to work so hard. Not only were my dreams being shattered but mom’s hopes for me too.
Jess was having a pool party again with some of the other girls from the volleyball team. She said it was an end-of-the-summer BBQ to discuss the uniform changes for the team. We had taken a vote at the end of last season to get all new shorts and tops. We had a couple of fundraisers to help pay for the purchase since the school district was on austerity. It was our way as seniors to give back and help the rest of the team. I didn’t want to go. I was exhausted from shopping and putting on a bathing suit was the last thing I wanted to do but for Jess, I would show up. I finally got done getting dressed checking every angle to make sure my swimsuit looked okay throwing on a cover-up, just to be sure, no one would notice my sprouting belly bump. My grandmother would say, “You can always tell when a woman is pregnant. They glow.” Oh no, I better not be glowing. Did I already start glowing? I was biting my nails again. I grabbed a bag of chips. A jar of dip and drove to Jess’s a nervous wreck.
I went through the back gate. Several of the girls were already there. The radio was blasting. Beers were popping. The BBQ fired up with hamburgers and hot dogs. I made my way to the group. High-fiving everyone, joking as if nothing was different. The smell of the meat cooking didn’t make me want to vomit only the smell of the beer was giving me a headache. I managed to keep nausea at a minimal with lots of salty chips. I was glad I had decided to go even in my current condition. The party was great and it was somewhat distracting me from my otherwise gigantic problem.
Everyone agreed on the style and design for our new uniform order. Jess basically had everything picked out and we all just agreed on it. Jess had great style sense. Everyone loved her clothes. She was the captain of the team, popular, always the take charge person. She was good at that. She had a somewhat bossy attitude but she got things done. She was voted most likely to be the first lady President to which she agreed she would be someday, proudly accepting of the vote. As the party dwindled, I couldn’t help feeling a sigh of relief. I wanted to go home. I was relieved Jess didn’t notice I hadn’t drunk my usual five to six beers. With a few quick goodbyes, I managed to leave by the side gate.
I drove home in a trance. I must have been on auto-pilot. All I knew was I had made it into the driveway. It had been a long time since I was happy to be home. I usually was out all day. Came in late. Crashed for a couple of hours. Then back out. Home gave me a peaceful feeling. Lying in bed was comforting. My mind couldn’t focus. It was swirling round and round. Positive. Negative. Positive. Negative. That was all I could think of as I fell asleep.
The next few days were spent going from store to store. Picking out snazzy outfits and comfortable cool shoes with Jess. I didn’t buy much. Just a few things. Tonight, was my late night at Mack’s Burger. It was my turn to close so I left Jess at the mall as she continued to shop. Within an hour of my shift, the smell of the french fries sent me running three times to the bathroom. Peter covered the rest of my shift so I could leave early. My manager was pissed. I didn’t care. I had coverage for the night. How was I supposed to work? It was so embarrassing.
Mom heard me come in early asking all sorts of questions. I told her I had gotten sick at work making up a story about the flu going around. She suggested going to the doctor. I refused, walking upstairs to bed. She yelled at me not to ignore her as I slammed my door. My comforter never felt so soft and cozy. When my head hit the pillow it was like landing on a cloud. Mom kept trying to check-up on me. I kept yelling to her I was fine. The last thing I wanted was for her to find out. Not now. For now yelling through the door worked but it wasn’t going to work for long. How long would I be able to hide this from mom? This was making me even more nauseous. Unless I decided not to keep the baby. It was the first time I thought about not keeping my baby. Was I horrible to feel this way? Tomorrow started senior year. The best year ever, so I thought. I should be thinking about prom dresses, dates, and college. Not diapers, formula, adoption or abortion. Did I even want to be a mom? I met Jess for one more shopping spree. I found the nicest denim jacket, so I got that. All I could think about was the next time I go shopping it would be for elastic pants and big floppy shirts. Jess still didn’t suspect anything so far. She was preoccupied with parties, prom and the perfect outfit. I couldn’t tell her.