I nestled into my bed after vomiting for the third time this Thursday morning, secretly wondering if it was from the morning sickness or from the mourning sickness. It had only been a month since Ned left me… I mean, he left. I pulled the comforter around me tautly like a human burrito and pressed my face into the mattress, releasing a heavy sigh. I only managed to swallow my pills before succumbing to this cretin’s need for me to vomit. I turned my chin down and glanced at the drugs again. I needed to consume them, I knew. I reached for the bed stand’s drawer and slowly slid it open, and I consumed two before forcing myself to rest again. I clenched my eyes shut and wondered what I would do with the baby, what I would do after I gave birth, just what I would do in general.
I went to the counselor that Tuesday, and Dr. Haven realized I had nothing better to do during the day besides face my demons. He folded his brow and cracked his thumb against his palm loudly. He conferred, “What do you do during the day, Devin?”
I leaned back into his loveseat and motioned toward the door. “I got to go.”
“You have nowhere to go.”
I froze and turned back to him. He patted his mahogany desk and pointed to the loveseat. “I realize you have particularly no outlets for your mind during the day. You have no job, and I don’t think you’re ready for a high stress job. Are you on any drugs?”
“Yeah, Zoloft, Amitriptyline… um, Zofran…”
“No, no, any recreational, illegal drugs that I should be aware of.”
I dipped my chin and analyzed his expression. Was this a test? Was he trying to get me arrested or trying to throw me out in the streets? I shook my head and placed my hand on my abdomen for a moment, trying to persuade myself I had bigger reasons than myself to abstain from such harmful substances. “No, sir.”
He scribbled down a number and an address, ripped it out of a notepad, and then handed the scrap to me. He shrugged his shoulders and locked eyes with me. “If you’re interested in a job with benefits, I need another secretary. It’s full-time, and it’ll keep you out of trouble. I just need a drug test from this company, and then you’re hired.”
I glanced at the address and turned back to him. “Why are you doing this?”
“I like helping people.”
My eyes snapped open in time to see Lex staring inside my bed stand drawer. I shuddered awake and immediately sat up. I shoved the drawer to a close, and Lex’s eyes scurried to mine, knowing she had done something that was not in the vicinity of good or helpful. We locked eyes for what seemed like an eternity, and then I noticed her heave in a breath just in time to yell, “Mom!”
“Are you doing the ten-panel?” the receptionist inquired as she waited for a tech to follow me into the bathroom to urinate in a cup.
I shook my head. “The smallest one is supposed to be okay.”
She nodded and typed in the code into the computer. “They’re the cheapest.”
I handed her the ten-dollar bill and then waltzed down the hall with my supervisor to retrieve a sample for my drug test.
“What?!” Jennifer yelled from the laundry room down the hall.
“Devin’s hiding drugs in her bed stand.”
“No, she’s not. Her drug tests all came back negative.”
“Yes, she is!”
I shoved myself out of bed and landed flatly on my feet. I signaled for Lex to shut her mouth, trying to somehow persuade a kid that what I was hiding was not that significant. I couldn’t seem to emphasize that this needed to remain between us.
Jennifer hustled inside the room, her hair askew and messy from leaning over to fold clothes and from shoving clothes from one machine into another. Her fingers ran through her hair, and her eyes locked onto mine. She heaved, “What drugs are you hiding, Devin?”
I glanced at the bed stand and turned back to the mother. Would she understand my decision? Would she understand why I was hiding my physical state? I ignored the positive answers and immediately sought defense. I thought drugs would be better than admitting to the mother of perhaps the father that I was hiding a pregnancy. “Pot.”
Edgar woke me up as I lay in my bed that Wednesday morning silently handing me the phone as he waltzed away to give me some privacy. I murmured sleepily, “Hello?”
A very professional man echoed on the other end, “Is this Devin Sebold?”
I squinted my eyes to glance down at the caller I.D., recognizing it as my psychiatrist’s office. I put the receiver back to my ear and answered with a slight groan.
“Can you come in Friday morning?”
I glanced at my calendar by the computer and answered, “I was there the other day. Why do I need another appointment? Is it urgent?”
“No, ma’am, I’m calling to tell you about your shifts. You will work Friday morning of this week, and then Monday through Friday morning next week at Dr. Haven’s office.”
I suddenly awakened and sat up in bed. “I’m working?”
“Yes, please wear casual professional dress during your shifts and report promptly Friday morning at eight. Thanks, have a fabulous day.” The receiver then clicked. I stared incredulously at the phone, wondering if this was a crank call.
Lex glanced at me and then turned to her mother. “What’s pot?”
Jennifer ignored her daughter and shook her head. “What do you have? Seriously? All of your prescriptions are in the kitchen by the coffee maker. What are you hiding?”
I slid in front of the bed stand, placing my hand over the handle, protecting my secret as much as anyone could. I bared my teeth and snapped, “It’s not a big deal.”
Jennifer pointed to the door, and Lex immediately left. As soon as the petite girl exited, Jennifer slammed the door shut angrily. She twisted her gaze back to me and shoved her finger in the direction of the drawer. “I swear to God, if you have drugs in there, I’m kicking you out. I will not have drug abuse in my household. We’ve discussed your alcohol problem, you’ve admitted to your issues, and I do not believe you are hiding a drug problem from me,” she hissed.
“I’ll be out by tonight,” I murmured.
Jennifer smacked my hand away from the drawer. I stepped to the side obediently, and Jennifer jammed the door open. Her eyes absorbed the container of pills and then turned to me. I collapsed on the bed, and my face reddened with an intense heat as I became overwhelmed with shame and guilt. She snatched the bottle from the drawer and stared at the label. She then turned her unmoving gaze to me and whispered, “Why are you taking these?”
“I know what they are. I can read. Why are you taking them?”
My lips quivered as I tried to figure out the most sensitive way to admit my enormous secret. I couldn’t figure out a way to unveil this with the tact it so righteously deserved. I acted to say something, but the woman interrupted me.
“When were you going to tell us?”
I bit down on my lip and shrugged my shoulders. I confessed, “I don’t know.”
“Have you been going to the doctor’s?”
“Is this why you’ve been sick so often?”
I nodded my head.
“When were you going to tell him?”
My heart shattered upon the mentioning of the pronoun. I turned my gaze to the floor and let silence answer for me.
“Devin, you have to tell him.”
“He has enough on his plate.”
“She probably isn’t even his.”
“He wanted me to terminate the pregnancy! What am I supposed to tell him?! I decided not to get the abortion because I’m selfish?! No, no! He didn’t want her to begin with! What makes you think he’ll want anything to do with her even if she is his?!”
“Think about it! What kid wants to have a kid?! I just couldn’t; I couldn’t let it happen.”
“I thought you were pro-choice.”
“Why?! Why does everyone think they fucking know me?”
“Because you’re atheist.”
“Just because I don’t go to church doesn’t mean I’m a freaking atheist! God, holy shit! I just couldn’t do it to her.”
“When did you find out the sex?”
“Yesterday,” I sighed, calming down from my angry outburst.
I turned my gaze back up to Jennifer, tears falling from her cheeks. She gave me a meek smile and motioned toward the bed stand. This woman melted before me. “We’re going to have to get some supplies for your baby girl, Dev.”
I remained silent, incredulously staring at this mother who would hide such a secret from her own son.
She dipped her chin and nodded to my abdomen, her hands hesitant to touch my swollen abdomen underneath my large t-shirt. “May I?”
I slowly nodded.
Her warm hands fell on my abdomen, and she immediately smiled. She confessed in a slight whisper, ignoring me as if I wasn’t there, “You’re going to love your mother so much.”