“I’m going to jump in the shower,” I yelled to Patrick so I could get some more time alone to think about my conversation with Sherry. I turned on the water, waited for it to get piping hot, and let the heavy beating of water drown the incessant thoughts—baby, work, Patrick, wedding, family, baby—racing through my mind. I couldn’t believe Sherry risked telling me about her secret in hopes of guiding me towards a better plan of action as I was beyond itching with temptation to spill the beans to my parents. And there was still so much I wanted to ask Sherry: What was going through her head while she was getting the abortion? Did it hurt? What did her boyfriend at the time think? Does she ever think about her unborn children now?
I lathered up my stomach and obsessively rubbed soap into my skin. Don’t worry, I will never get rid of you, I almost said out loud to my baby. Just like how Patrick wanted the baby deep down, I wanted our baby, too. I heard everything Sherry was trying to get through to me but despite some of the external day-to-day problems Patrick and I had, I truly wanted to believe we were meant to be together in the end and the baby was all part of a greater plan for us. And at this very moment, everything seemed to be okay.
“Hey, you okay in there?” Patrick asked as he lightly knocked on the bathroom door. “You’ve been in there for quite some time.”
“Yep, just finishing up,” I let him know even though I had been finished for a while. I was just standing in the downpour of water, hypnotized by the methodic sprinkle running down my body, and I went from thinking about Sherry to my baby to…my wedding day.
Patrick agreed to marry me before the birth of our child so we were moving fast to get our plans underway. After some back and forth with dates, we finally settled on Saturday, January 9, 2010 for our wedding ceremony—just enough time to put together a whole wedding but not so far along in my pregnancy that I would be comically waddling down the aisle instead of a pacing an elegant march.
I was so exhausted after a long day at work I didn’t have even an ounce of energy to cook myself dinner each night let alone begin thinking about location, theme, menu, cake, and all the fun details brides usually relish in handpicking out. Carly did her best to support me and tried to get me excited about the wedding-planning process. Even after thumbing through countless bridal magazines, visiting all the craft stores in my area, and scouring the Internet together for whimsical reception ideas, by the end of my first trimester, there was only one thing about my wedding I knew for sure: My maid of honor will be Carly.
The water was beginning to run cold when I stepped out of the shower. I grabbed for a towel and dried myself off as quickly as I could before goose bumps started to appear on my damp skin. Still wrapped in my towel, I opened the bathroom door and found Patrick behind it, as if he were standing there the whole time waiting for me.
“There is a chance that the rest of the world thinks something different than us,” I told him in a huff. “But we are keeping this baby.”
“Of course we are,” he said as he wrapped his arms around me. Tightly. “I was beginning to think you fell in the toilet.” I laughed softly at his comment and breathed in the faint smell of his cologne leftover from earlier that day.
“So while you were showering, I looked at some rings online,” Patrick continued as he pulled up a page on his laptop. “What do you think about some of these options?”
“You mean, like, an engagement ring? For me?” We had talked briefly before about buying me a proper diamond ring but because we already were scrambling to plan our wedding, I didn’t think having an engagement ring was a priority. Looking at the shimmering rings online, however, brought out a schoolgirl flush in my cheeks and I smiled when I imagined a sparkly band studded with little diamonds wrapped around my ring finger.
“Yes, I know you were saying rings weren’t important right now but what kind of a ring would you want if you were getting engaged for real?” Patrick asked as he studied different kinds of settings for engagement rings. “Like look, you can choose the number of prongs you want, the shape of the diamond…you can practically build your perfect ring!” Patrick showed me in delight.
On that particular website, “Find the perfect ring for the perfect girl” flashed on the screen in big and bold letters. Perfect ring, perfect girl, perfect ring, perfect girl danced in circles around all the dazzling white gold and platinum bands, each ring preciously showcased and sacred like the human heart. Perfect girl I repeated once more in silence.
Me, the perfect girl.
To be continued...