The two lines stuck out at me like headlights on the darkest night. I could close my eyes and still see it, the palest powder blue, radiant as daylight. I read the package to make sure the newly discovered news was indeed a reality, hoping that the more I scanned the words, a different result would appear.
I said it slow, one line – not pregnant, two lines – pregnant.
Skim. Check stick. Close eyes. Skim. Check stick. Close eyes.
I covered a line with my thumb. The truth of the matter couldn’t be erased or wiped out. I started shooting up prayers and promises to the Universe that I won’t go back to you for another fix if it would somehow turn this moment into just a dream.
I hugged the toilet seat, regurgitating the Chinese food from the night before and praying to whichever deity would answer first, to aid me in throwing you up out of my system while I was at it. You were sitting at the bottom of my stomach, annoyingly chilling in the pit of my pelvis, sickening my spirit.
I tossed it. Out of frustration and anger, confusion and denial. I don’t know where the test landed and at the time I didn’t care, I just needed to not see it. I just needed this to not happen right now because the timing wasn’t right and I just needed to get me right because we weren’t. A child? Another life to focus on, worry about, and be consumed by when I couldn’t even focus on me… because I was worried about you… which consumed alllll of my time throughout the day? I couldn’t. I wouldn’t even dare.
And so, nights later, I sat on that floor with the stick in hand, found beside the sink, and I cried. I didn’t even wait to hear the front door close behind him. I didn’t even care if the creaking of the floors failed to cover up the wails that came out of my body, him hearing me on his way out and shaking his head once again knowing it was over you.
I cried for you. I can’t save you. You told me she contaminated you. Girl, he spent his evenings lamenting over you. Mourning over the time that was invested that were now part of the yesteryears. I had to be the one to cleanse you whole. I came and acted as your band-aid, mimicked the ways of a shaman, imagined I was the answer – to all of your doubts and questions and fears. I (stupidly) swore to give you the love you craved from your mother that the last woman couldn’t fulfill either. I was up for the challenge but her presence floated in your being when we were in bed and your presence provided me life and served me a death sentence at the same time.
I have tried and I have tried and I didn’t succeed. My knees are bruised and my hands are scraped up from crawling towards you, hoping you’d see me, help me, help us. And my arms are strained from reaching up to praise a man I was certain was a God. I worshiped your existence. I cried out to no one else but you for help and revered your entire essence. But I am starting to fall into a slumber in which, if I delve any deeper, it’ll be impossible to get out. See me and save me. See. ME. and save me.
But you hang on your own cross with your demons and you can’t even save you. You are no savior.
I felt bad for myself. A baby formed in my womb and I was here in a bathroom giving birth to trust issues and bringing to life a tainted view of love. A child conceived from late night fucks I misconstrued for love-making. We created this when you were thinking of her – our baby would be born with a unification of our features but her spirit would lie within the anatomy. I vomited more. Must. Get. Rid. Of. You. You never got rid of her.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Dammit, we were really going to be that family we drew up in our heads and on scrap paper as children. A mommy and daddy in the house. A place where we’d feel safe and love would dwell in the air and in the Sunday dinners and in how we spoke to one another. A figment of my imagination that wouldn’t see the light of day.
And we wouldn’t see his or her face.
Planned Parenthood, Aisha speaking, how can I help you?
Uhh, hi. I need to make an appointment. I’m pregnant and I need to terminate my pregnancy.
Silently, you stood behind that bathroom door, struggling to keep tears back and the taste of agony down your throat. I felt you there. I just had to leave you there.