The once pale blue is darkening and turning purple. Pink streaks across and blends with the white of the clouds. It is impressive how the light in the sky can create such works of art. To create—now that is a thought—
“Nedi!” My sister calls from the opened door.
I turn and look towards my sister. The light from the apartment is shining from behind her and she appears as only a silhouette.
“You’re going to freeze out there…come on in.”
As I walk closer, the shadows lose their strength and Millie’s features become clear. She stares at me with concern. “I’m fine.” I reply before she can say anything more.
I start removing items from the grocery bags. Ground beef. Yogurt. Milk. Bread.
“What?” I stop with a loaf of bread dangling from my fist.
“That. Go do it…I’ll take care of this.” Millie outstretches her arm and at the end is the box. It is mostly white, except for the big, bold blue letters that spell out e.p.t. “ Over 99% Accurate—The Error Proof Test”.
“I can do it later.” Even as I speak the words, the knot in my stomach twists tighter and I feel nauseous. Millie stares back, set and determined. “Okay…okay—I’ll go.”
Snatching the box, I walk directly to the restroom. Although the package is small, it weighs a ton. The future is hiding in this little cardboard box. My future.
Entering the small bathroom I lock myself in, walk past the mirror and sit on the covered toilet. I am afraid to look at myself. I know what I am going to see—a small, frightened little girl. Granted, I am not that much of a girl at twenty, but I suddenly feel like I am way too young.
A baby. I can not even begin to grasp what that reality would mean and how it will change my life.
A reel of film begins to play in my mind, projecting all of my hopes and aspirations. I am walking across the stage to receive my Doctorate degree. I am a highly successful writer, who travels all around the world. I have achieved fame and fortune. As the images flicker, I notice that a child is never in any of the frames. No baby. No man.
Yes. I would need a man for my predicament. James is his name and he entered my life a mere six months ago. He is decent and sweet, yet immature and the complete opposite of me. Our relationship is already showing signs of trouble and now I want to add the extra hitch of becoming unexpected parents.
Do I want James in my life forever? Whether we stay together or not, he will be the father of this child and will be around one way or the other. Honestly, I can not answer that question and it scares me.
That is it. I can not do it. I am way too young. I do not even have any money for Christ’s sake—I make minimum wage. I am terrified. What kind of mother will I be? With my mother as an example it can only be a disaster.
An abortion is the only option. It is my body. My choice. I can live with my decision. Right? I can knowingly end a life? My baby’s life?
A sob escapes my lips and tears fall freely from my eyes. I am so stupid. The one time we did not use protection. It feels so good…don’t stop. Please, don’t stop. Idiot!
Hold on. I am getting ahead of myself. What if I am not pregnant? I have always been irregular. This is me being super, super irregular. I am getting all worked up for nothing. Just take the test. You’ll see…it will all be all right.
Breathing deeply, I wipe my face and decide to hurry and find out. No point in any more speculations. This is it.
A gentle tap on the door makes me jump. “Hey…how’s it going?”
Opening the door I smile and Millie seems surprised. “You’re not?”
“I don’t know yet. We have to wait five minutes and then check for the blue line. One line not pregnant…two lines pregnant…one and a half line—go to the doctor.”
“That’s not very accurate, is it?” Millie marches in and starts reading the instruction booklet.
“I’m just telling you what I read. Nothing is foolproof.” Then it hits me. Life is not foolproof either. You never know where it will lead, no matter how many dreams you have.
“So, what time will it be ready?” Millie asks while holding the cream, plastic stick.
“Is it blue? Are there two lines?” I swear I feel my heart stop beating.
Her eyes glistening with tears, Millie simply says, “Congratulations.”
I am crying. It is blue. My life is no longer my own. There is no decision. I know.
Knowing and doubting are two different things. For nine months I doubt. James is supportive and loving, and yet I doubt. As my belly grows larger so does my fears. Can I be the mother I want to be? Can I be responsible for another human being? Am I going to ruin its life?
Before long I am lying in a hospital bed and a contraction stretches my swollen belly tight. The pain is unbearable.
An eternity passes. What am I doing? I change my mind.
Pain rips through me and I cry out. This baby is going to be the death of me and then when I can not tolerate the pain any more… instant relief.
“It’s a girl! A beautiful baby girl!”
Tears are flowing as I am given a tightly wrapped bundle. Gently I pull the blanket away from her face and discover perfection. All the questions and all the worries disappear as my heart fills with an overwhelming love.
I have found my life. I have found my reason for being.
Nothing could have prepared me. I had no idea that when I was waiting for the thin, blue line to appear, I was actually waiting for my life to start.