It happens every month, the fear that this time is the
time, the time my bragging bravado
fails me. Even when I was on the pill
for four years straight, I feared every month. In the four years off the pill, I feared just as badly. It isn't the fear of getting pregnant, it's the undelightful decision that will immediately follow, a decision I've made years ago when all this "being a woman" shit started. Now I'm on the pill again, and I should be getting my, you know
, like yesterday.
As if I don't have enough drama in my life, as though I need a pinnacle up and down moment every 4 weeks, even though I'm the safety girl, all there has to be is one time to be mistaken. Don't mistake me. There is only one choice I would make. You likely already know which one it is.
I've been having regular, American sex since I was 17. I was sadly deflowered at 13. Now I'm 25 and for the first time ever, I bought a pregnancy test. I walked up and down the aisles of Walgreen's, trying to find one other purchase to compensate for the test, something that would distract the box from being seen. The Walgreen's where I shop is in a border neighborhood. All around it are shops painted bright pink, selling pig's feet and seafood, or pawn shops selling whatever came from the neighborhood down the street, who knows. No one knows me here, but still I'm hiding my test under a box of Russell Stover Dark Chocolates. Maybe the cashier will think I'm buying it for my friend who's too embarrassed to buy it herself. Maybe my gay lover, but wait....never mind.
I can imagine the stories the cashiers at Walgreen's have seen without audible words being spoken. Or what this lady in front of me, with her yellow painted nails and pocked face, this thin black woman behind a blue smock, is thinking of me. It was likely my imagination, but I swore I heard her whisper "good luck," as if that would help me now.
I was up all night earlier thinking about this moment. Yesterday was Carson's first night in his new apartment, and I was there with him. We spent all day cleaning, waiting for his parents to get there with all his furniture they'd had of his in storage. He'd been living with me for the last 3 months and while I'll miss him, it's nice to have my space again. The furniture fit perfectly into his small efficiency, and I was glad to help him out. His mother had brought all those things you buy for someone who's moving into his first apartment. It reminded me of how that was for me, with my first house and my first boyfriend. His parents showered us with domestic items, perhaps grinning a little too broadly at the potential carbon copies of themselves they saw before them. Now that he's in his own place and not living with me, Carson can tell his parents that I'm not just his friend. That, like this, comes with time.
Holding the test stick by the Thumb Grip with the Absorbant Tip pointing downward and the Result Window facing away from your body, place the Absorbant Tip in your urine stream for 5 seconds only. (Bolds directly from instructions)
I don't have a urine stream for 5 seconds. I've been peeing every chance I get to see if there's blood, the sight of which brings football cheers from the bathroom. I'm not subtle. At work on Friday I held my hands up and then brought them to my mid-section and yelled, "I want to see BLOOD!!" When anyone sympathizes with me for being hunched over with cramps I tell them no, really, I'm thankful for this. And I am. Maybe it's the Catholic in me.
Just last night I was deliberating with Carson on the issues women I know make of tampons (this prompted by a Vagisil commercial that came on at that moment; we're not that open without provocation), how they all say how uncomfortable they are. I said, "As though dripping on a wad of cotton is somehow more appealing. I mean, we women have dicks inside us that are hopefully wider in circumference. What's a wad of cotton with a tail?" I could tell Carson was not all that into my argument, but I had to joke about something. Afterwards, we christened his new apartment. I figured, if I'm pregnant now, why worry.
I know. That's irresponsible. But I knew, even then, that I would end up at the Walgreen's the next day, that even though I'm not late yet and being on the pill will have likely altered my cycle and there's no need for worry, I couldn't take the suspense any longer.
Coming out of Walgreen's, I was only slightly queasy. Of all the times I screwed around, why would this come up when I'm with someone I love? I'm not going to put him through this. A co-worker of mine uses the same OBGYN that I do, and he's a really cool guy. She said he'll prescribe me RU-486 if I am able to take it. Whether I can or not, I cannot keep this pregnancy. I mean, no woman whose boyfriend is getting an apartment on his own for the first time should be pregnant. It means both of them are too young, even though I've had my own place for the last 5 years. All around me, women are getting pregnant, and now it's their second or third. I'm afraid of what the husbands would say if I asked them what they thought of the situation, but all the same, I respect them for hanging around.
I get a mug and head to the bathroom. Minutes later, I'm dipping a wide wick into the mug, following the instructions as closely as you would to diffuse a bomb. I told God last night, and every night before I was proven wrong, that I would not keep a baby. I told God, that's a laugh. I can't tell God anything He doesn't already know, but I keep thinking if I tell him that, He'll cover me, He'll prevent me from making a choice I'm sure neither of us wants me to make. Like I said, I'm well aware of how psychologically scarring aborting a baby is supposed to do to a woman, but I simply refuse to believe that that is how it always has to be, that having an abortion is this horrible scarring experience that makes women time bombs of repressed emotions. In light of that, I make the 3 minutes I wait for the test seem like nothing, because, to a degree, it's not that scary for me. If I am pregnant, I won't be for long; I haven't even missed an actual period yet. I'm already seeing one pink line.
And one pink line is all I will see, and according to this one pink line, I am not pregnant. There are two to a pack, so when the instructions say that if I don't get my period within 7 days to take the test again, I pay attention. But for the moment my pointless paranoia is confirmed. It's a beautiful day out there, and now I get one more hour of it. I think I'll go to the park and roller blade.