Hand over her mouth, Willow barely made it to the bathroom in time. Initially missing the toilet, she left a short trail of undigested corn flakes on the floor starting just inside the bathroom door.
"Hey," Patti said from the doorway, pinching her nose at the smell of curdled milk and bile that clawed at her senses.
"I am never eating my mothers cooking ever again," Willow moaned before another wave of nausea made her put her head back over the bowl.
"Ya know," Patti offered, stepping into their tiny, shared bathroom, doing her best to avoid the sick on the floor.
Taking a seat on the edge of the tub carefully pulling her friends cocoa colored hair out of the splash zone.
"Three days of this might not be simple food poisoning," she offered.
"What else...," Willow paused, holding up her index finger trying to decide if she would finish the sentence or throw up. Thankfully the nausea ebbed and she was able to continue. "What else could it be?"
"Well," her roommate sighed, handing her a damp washcloth, "when was the last time you had sex?"
"Since before I broke up with Adam," Willow replied, slumping to the floor, enjoying the cool wall against her back.
"What about Mardi Gras?" Patti asked pointedly.
"I didn't have sex at Mardi Gras," her friend replied, looking at her as if she'd lost her mind.
"Yes, you did," Patti said, shaking her head, her tight black curls bouncing as she moved. "Do you really not remember that hot guy with the weird amber contacts?"
Willow shook her head, having no idea what her friend was talking about.
"Oh honey," Patti breathed, her hand moving to cover her mouth. "If I had known you were that drunk I never would have let you leave with him."
"Wait," Willow said, her swirling mind trying to understand what Patti was implying. "Do you think I might be pregnant?"
"Could be doll," her friend replied with a shrug, her deep green eyes looking sadly at her. "If you don't remember him, than I guess it's a fair bet you don't remember if you two used protection or not."
"Oh fuck," Willow moaned before she grasped the toilet seat and pulled herself up to her knees before she threw up again.
Wearing her yoga pants and a tank top, Willow sat curled up on the window seat of her apartment looking out over the courtyard of her building.
If Patti was right, and she had hooked up with someone the night they'd gone down to Bourbon Street to watch the floats, them she was exactly seven weeks pregnant.
Since puberty, her periods had been irregular, so the idea of being pregnant never crossed her mind, but the two pink lines on the test stick said otherwise.
Willow couldn't help but smile as she watched a mother and toddler playing chase on the grass below. Could she be a good mom like that?
Life had never been easy, from her drunk, abusive and gambling addicted father to her pacifist mother who never defended herself or her children, Willow had no idea what a good mother acted like.
She'd actually almost convinced herself to never have kids at all, but here she was, twenty-six, employed as a waitress in a shitty cafe and now pregnant. If not for Patti, Willow didn't know if she would be able to make it in the world.
As it was, the two of them could barely manage the rent of their shit-hole apartment, let alone pay for gas, water, electric, sewer and god forbid food.
All of her tips and most of her paycheck went to pay her father's bookie. It was that or have him break her arm, or do worse things to her again.
She knew there were programs out there to help single mothers, but the thought of going into a government building and having her life looked at under a microscope, scrutinized, dissected and analyzed to determine how little they could get away with giving her, made her stomach churn again.
There was of course abortion, but every time her mind went in that direction, she would start to wonder what color her baby's eyes would be, or its hair, would it be straight or curly, or would it have her crooked smile?
She could put it up for adoption. Maybe a loving couple, like the kind you saw in movies would take her baby to a magical place where it could grow up happy, with rosy cheeks and sun bleached curls.
The other side of that was a couple who thought a baby would make their life whole only to discover that life didn't work that way, and following their bitter divorce, they would fight for custody of the child, neither of them really wanting to be a parent, just wanting to stick it to the other person.
"Hey," Patti said, shaking Willow by the shoulder, making her friend shriek in surprise, "quit chewing your nails."
Grabbing Willow's hand, she looked at the mangled tips of her fingers with disgust.
"That's a nasty habit," she said, screwing up her face.
"I know," Willow replied, her mind trying to drag her back to the dark thoughts once more.
"Have you decided what you're gonna do?" Patti asked, curling up to join her friend in the small window seat.
"Not really," Willow sighed, about to bite her nails, but stopping herself when she saw Patti's look of disapproval. "I read somewhere about a woman who put an ad in the newspaper and found the father of her child that way. Maybe I could try that?"
"Right," Patti replied with a harsh laugh, "blind drunk brunette seeking one night stand from Mardi Gras. I can see prince charming now, riding towards us on his great white stallion, coming to take you away from all of this."
Willow couldn't help but laugh along at her friends sardonic sense of humor.
"Right," she added, holding her hand in the air pretending to wave a sword.
"Come my lady fair," Willow continued, forcing her voice comically low, "I am here to rescue you from this land of poverty and take you to my trailer park in the sky."
The two of them dissolved into laughter ending up on the floor as the jokes continued getting worse and worse until their imagined Willow of the future had twelve children, wore nothing but moo-moo's and sat around all day eating bonbon's and drinking wild turkey.