My boss, this boisterous, happy-go-lucky woman no more than 50 years of age named Trish, turned on the lights that had been dimmed for a projector presentation and yelled across the room, “Where have you been, Missy?!
Oh my goodness, you look so pale! Is everything okay??”
No, I’m not okay. I just found out I am pregnant. With Patrick’s baby! Yes, of all people, WITH PATRICK’S BABY!! I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs to everyone in the meeting, everyone in the world. “Yeah, yeah I’m fine. Sorry…” I pretended and couldn’t even finish apologizing for being late when the lights where dimmed again and the presentation cued to carry on. Anna, a coworker friend who has a 3-year-old daughter of her own, pushed some of her take-out Chinese food towards me and I looked at it, repulsed, and waved my hand as if to say, No, it’s fine. I already ate. Thanks.
Patrick, confused and agitated that I kept ignoring his calls, paced outside of the meeting room door like a madman and I could see his silhouette peeping in from the blinds that were pulled down in the room. His silhouette depicted someone who had slipped into complete manic mode and the last thing I needed was to create a huge scene with him at the office where we both work over my possible baby situation. Over our possible baby situation.
And what was I going to do about Patrick? Should I even tell him about this? In all of my head and most of my heart, I was already done with our tumultuous yearlong office romance. I mean, I just had to be since our respective fiery temperaments have proved time and time again to be dicey to our sanity and spiritual well-being. Neither of us were ever intentionally at fault but like adding fuel to a fire, two unstable 20-somethings still trying to “figure life out” while working at the same company does not equal a recipe likely for success. How we have lasted as long as we have? I don’t know, but what I was certain about was that adding a baby to the mix will surely be the final straw on the camel’s back that will permanently break us not just as a couple but as individuals. Break us as people.
“I already know,” Patrick told me in the hallway as soon as I got out of my meeting. “Carly called me to tell me to talk to you.”
“Patrick, can we please not talk about this now??” I asked in a fast whisper. “Let’s for once try to NOT embarrass ourselves and air all of our dirty laundry in front of everyone like fools.”
“Missy, I couldn’t care less who is listening to us right now! You might be having my baby and if you are, I need to know immediately!” Patrick fiercely demanded, but thankfully in a hushed voice, as he pulled me aside to a corner. I felt so lost, so confused, and so defeated and the worst part of it all was I saw the very same fears in Patrick’s eyes no matter how strong he was trying to be. He was very afraid, too.
“Okay, I have one more test I want to take. Meet me at my apartment right after work and we can take it together.”
* * *
My last pregnancy test was a pink cross. Huge, bright, and burning pink, etching its definitive results into my mind, my heart, my soul. I pulled out my two previous tests that I had tossed into the trash bin and held them all in front of Patrick.
“Look,” I showed him, “Positive, positive, positive. I am pregnant, Patrick. There is no denying it.” His already pale face lost any color that it had and this usually tough-talking salesman that can convince even an Eskimo to buy ice was, for the first time, at lost for words.
“Missy,” he finally broke the silence, “Can we please make an appointment with the doctor as soon as we can? We need this confirmed first before can begin thinking about anything else.”
“What do you mean think about anything else? I am pregnant, Patrick. With your baby! And we are broken up so what else is there to think or talk about?” I said harshly, my anger probably stemming from residual hurt still very present in our relationship.
“Missy, I know we had a rough couple of past weeks and I know I can’t ask you to get an abortion. You just have to think about what you want and what is right for you. And then we have to talk about what’s going to happen,” Patrick said with surprising rationality. My head hurt, my body ached, and my mind completely dizzy with a mess of thoughts and I wanted nothing more than to hide from the world, to hide from my life, and to dwell in my baby news in isolation. But I had promised Carly the week before that we would go to this wedding photography mixer in Long Beach that night so Patrick left to let me get ready for the event.
I somehow managed, in my state of disarray, to put on some eye shadow, powder my face, and slip on a black dress for the evening. I turned my torso in the lit vanity mirror and looked at my slim stomach. Am I really, truly pregnant? And all Carly wanted to talk about when she got back to our place after work was the baby and what my plans with Patrick were going to be, and all I could think about was how on earth I let this happen to me? In the one-hour car ride from our place to the aquarium where the mixer was going to be held, Carly and I talked about photography, about weddings, about “What if you married Patrick?”
“What? No, we are the furthest thing away from marriage right now,” I detested, my mind still a pounding blob of disorder.
“But if you guys are going to have a baby together, then why don’t you just get married?” Carly, always the one up for a spontaneous good time, suggested. “It can be like a fall wedding. Something intimate and beautiful. I can picture it already!”
“You are so out of your mind,” I informed my giddy and ridiculous sister matter-of-factly.
But then I started to think, What if this was fate calling and Patrick is supposed to be the guy I spend the rest of my life with? What if the baby came at this time right now to save us, to save our relationship? What if I really did marry Patrick in a few months?
Could I possibly be, at 22 years old and pregnant, a bride?
To be continued.