Two years ago, I was sick. I had just interviewed for a job I was pining for so I figured that my system was rattled by the ordeal. I drank orange juice and took extra strength tylenol. I tried to eat some comfort food but everything tasted like styrofoam. I asked my sister-in-law for a home remedy for the flu and she said, “Are you sure you’re not pregnant?”
“Of course I’m not pregnant!” The minute I said that, the voice of God bellowed, “Hello, Mona? Did you know denial is a river in Egypt? Just some geography trivia for you!”
I ordered Mike to get me more tylenol and added an, “Oh by the way, could you pick up a pregnancy test?”
The first one was the cheap, generic version, a digital stick which window flashed “pregnant.” I figured that because it was cheap, it was also defective and a big fat liar. I sent Mike back to Rite Aid to buy the expensive brand and again, we played the pee and wait game. Still, two pink bold lines surfaced.
Mike wrote in his calendar, “The single greatest day of my life,” while I wrote in my calendar, “Make an appointment for a pregnancy test at the women’s clinic.” Actually, it wasn’t nearly that coherent. It was more of a frenzied scrawl which read, “HE DID THIS TO ME.” Three pregnancy tests could be wrong! Three false positives!
The next day, Mike and I drove to the clinic. He dropped me off at the front while he parked the car. When I reached the door, it was locked. I pulled at it again, harder this time. Right by the door, the instructions read to press the buzzer. In the seconds it took to say my name and what I was doing there and to wonder why I would have to be buzzed into a clinic, a old woman walked up to me. She wore brown blunt shoes I’d only seen on nuns and nurses. She extended a pamphlet.
“No thank you.” I said, politely shooing her away.
“Don’t you know what they do in there?” Her eyes narrowed at the door, like I was entering a brothel.
Before I could answer, the door unlocked and I rushed in. The receptionist assured, “Don’t worry, she’s always out there.”
I took a seat and waited. There were sketch books amongst the magazines on the table. I picked one up and began rifling through it.
The first page was a journal entry. A feminine scrawl with hearts above the i’s. She wrote about how she was sorry that she had to go through “it” and that her uncle never gave her the money she was promised. The next page was from a husband who wanted to say that he didn’t know where the guilt was coming from because neither he or his wife believed in religion. He just couldn’t get the memory of the “alien-sucking sound” out of his mind.
And it hit me: This is an abortion clinic. It all came together. The buzzer…the security…the nun-footed woman… the writing…
I hadn’t even considered abortion as an option. If I was pregnant, we were having a baby and that was it. I just wanted to hear the results from a medical professional and not from Mike, a man who thinks Water Worldwas robbed at the Oscars.
And then it was my turn. Mike had already arrived and the two of us walked down a dimly lit hallway. We were ushered into a room where the nurse went through the requsite health questions. She gave me a pregnancy test and whaddya know? A fourth postive.
When she told me the results, I shared that we had just taken three pregnancy tests and all signs pointed to preggers.
“Well,” she said, “they are pretty accurate.”
“Yeah…I just want to know for sure.”
As we walked out, I couldn’t forget those pained and poignant entries. I can’t pretend to know what must have raced through their minds before their name was called. What choices they made.
Two years ago, everything became exciting and complicated. My young college coed life spilling into motherhood, an even younger life blooming inside.