1993, my Senior year of high school, I had the coolest English teacher, Mr. Brown. He gave us an assignment, write about what has most affected your life. This is what I turned in.
It was Friday the 13th August, 1993, a white hot day with a slight breeze. I was at Jared's house, a two-story wood and brick affair with a screened in porch on the 2nd story. We were up there, Jared, Jeremiah, who was my boyfriend at the time, and myself. Sitting lazily in the shade on the cold tippy chairs, smoking and talking amongst ourselves. It was a day like any other in that summer. Hanging with the guys, hot, sweating, smoking, faintly bored, exasperated with Jeremiah. I remember this day, not because of what happened, but because of what I was thinking, a sort of revelation in my 17 year old mind, that would make the days events stick out, giving me an everlasting memory to pass on.
Jeremiah and I used to be very much in love. I couldn't stand being away from him, it almost physically hurt. His body was my anchor to this world. His mind my loquacious twin. Feeling his arms around me was like coming home. The need to be with him was all consuming. When I think back to the early days with him, they smell like spring in my mind, bright with sunshine and green with growing things. But by this time, my love had started dwindling. He'd been abandoned by his mother as a child, and was looking for a replacement, me. He was emotionally empty and looking for filler. I was tired of being a mother to him, tired of taking care of him, sick of his 3 year old tantrums when he didn't get his way. He used to literally throw himself on the ground, scream and grind his teeth when he didn't get his way. Every time I tried to break up with him, he did this, and the embarassment from his behavior kept me from actually going through with it. So here I am, staring at Jared, and I realize I'd never actually seen him before. I always looked at him like some clownish reggae rapper boy transplanted from Richmond, California. My eyes opened on this day, his philosophy was smart and witty, his skin seemed golden in the summer light. The realization hit me, that if I could check out other guys with interest, I was worse off with Jeremiah than I thought.
When we were done smoking, we went back inside to the cool darkness of Jared’s upstairs room. We all laid on the bed, just spread eagle, with our legs hanging off the edges, watching the ceiling fan spin around. After a bit, Jeremiah asked Jared to leave, saying he wanted to give me a 'tongue lashing'. I protested, being embarrassed at the thought of doing anything with Jared knowing what we were doing. But Jared left. And I thought to myself 'this is the first time that Jeremiah's ever instigated anything!' Then Jared knocked, and came back in, placing a condom on the bedside table. Jeremiah told him we wouldn't need it since this was only to be a tongue lashing. The act itself was very unimportant. I remember to this day though, looking up from the bed, and seeing the sunlight filter through the sheer white curtains, and thinking 'how beautiful', listening to the rhythm of Three Days. It turned out though, that Jeremiah's appetite got the better of him, and as he moved up over me, I remember murmuring something about the condom. Clearly now, I can hear him saying 'we won't need it, I'll pull out. (oh naive youth) I remember also, not wanting any of it. But knowing that it was his way of putting claim on me in front of Jared. I let him though, it cost less energy for me than protesting.
When it was over, I was very shy, knowing what Jared knew. So I called my parents, and my mom came and picked me up. A week later I got my period, and I was relieved. That was the last time that Jeremiah and I had sex. At least it was good, the feeling of lethargy and remembering the sun and the curtains. Knowing I was loved, even if it wasn't reciprocated. School started, and I eventually got up the balls to stand up to Jeremiah's infantile behavior, and broke up with him.
September came, and in the middle of the month I started having excruciating pains in my abdomen. The doctor asked me if I'd been having intercourse. My mother was sitting next to me, and I was lying on my side, crying, and clutching my stomach, fighting off the nausea. I said yes, and he mildly chastised me, saying that a girl my age could get pregnant, insinuating that was what was wrong with me. I knew it couldn't be that. I hurt so badly. They had taken a pregnancy test when I came in, and the doctor comes back seconds after berating me, saying 'you're pregnant' It was a shock of white burning intensity. I started sobbing. My mom inhaled sharply and turned her head to the wall. The doctors examining room seemed to get hotter, then I threw up in the garbage can. The doctor continued, saying that my pain either came from a ectopic pregnancy, or my appendix, and either way we were going to have to do surgery.
The hour I found out I was pregnant. I started to love my child. I was very scared. Very lonely. Lying on that table, knowing I may need to have an abortion.
The Dr. gave me an appointment for a sonogram, and my mother and I sat outside his office on the grass. I kept calling my baby a her, a she, and trying not to cry. We eventually got the sonogram done, and it proved that the baby was fine, but I needed an appendectomy, my appendix was about to rupture. They rushed me into admitting, and then surgery. Here my mother saved my child’s life, asking the anesthesiologist if he knew that I was pregnant. He almost shot me full of anesthetic that would have killed it. The rest of my hospital stay is a blur. But I remember Jared coming to visit, making me laugh, even though it hurt. I remember being accepting and happy of my pregnancy. I began to make plans then, for this event that had changed my life drastically.
I told Jeremiah about it when I saw him two weeks later. He was pretty supportive and understanding. He wanted me to have an abortion, but I told him I was fine, and that we didn't expect anything from him. His attitude one day changed drastically though, till he is the person I know now. He hasn't told his parents, I'm seven months along. He baits me with references to his unfaithfulness to me when we were together. I still don't know if they are true. He makes fat, pregnant lady jokes. Of all the things I've had to deal with, the real loss of my innocence and childhood. The body changes, the scholarship I had to turn down. The traveling. My dreams. All gone. But HE is the hardest to deal with. It scars deeply when a person that said they loved you with all their heart, said that they would never purposely hurt you, does. He's completely cut himself off from the changes he has helped to make. It's a betrayal. It makes every endearment he's ever uttered to me a lie. He is the father of my baby, but there will be no I'm going to be a dad comments from him, he even has insinuated that it's Jared’s. This affects how I'm going to live my life with my baby. My baby will not have a father to play with or care for it. I will not have anyone to help me raise the baby on a day-to-day basis. I made this decision for myself, but his betrayal hurts worse then knowing I may have to go on welfare.
I am a mother now, and that notion colors my thinking, my actions, what I eat, and who I associate with. Now and for the rest of my life. I accept this.