She had been hemorrhaging throughout the first trimester. Her pregnancy, unplanned, could end at any time.
Months earlier, she and her boyfriend decided they did not want to have a child.
They had many reasons. They already had three kids from their previous marriages; three was plenty. They were getting older. She was in her thirties and he was already in his forties. They knew how difficult children could be, how much time they take, how they keep you up at night. They had both freshly escaped from long, sad, difficult marriages, and they were enjoying dating.
They both liked being single, having their own space. He had plenty of time to meditate and race bikes, and didn’t have to apologize to anybody for it. She could read books and garden. The only dishes or laundry she had to worry about were her own. He could cook whatever he wanted, and eat the same thing every day. They could see each other a few nights a week, and then enjoy the privacy of their own beds.
They weren’t in a rush.
And, it can’t be overemphasized…they were really, really enjoying dating.
They were enjoying themselves so much, they decided he should get a vasectomy.
A few days before his procedure, she went into the restroom at work. She appraised herself in the mirror. This was an act of vanity she was just learning to permit herself. She was wearing a new, tailored dress that was professional, yet would look good on date-night. She had purchased it full-price, instead of waiting for it to go on sale. Her hair, freshly layered, featured red and gold highlights. She was wearing contact lenses instead of glasses. She looked good, better than she ever had. She felt good.
The she saw a circular stain on her dress. It was on her chest.
Having breastfed her daughter for 22 months, she knew what this meant. She was leaking.
In a panic, she quickly left the office and went to the pharmacy. She bought a pregnancy test, and brought it back to work.
Congratulations! You’re pregnant!
They met at her condo that evening, and she broke the news. They decided to go through with the vasectomy. They decided to keep the baby. They joked, “Lucky lil’ bastard. He got in under the wire.” Neither of them was sure how they felt about it.
Calculating the dates on the calendar, they realized she had conceived during the weekend he first brought up the subject of moving in together.
“What do you think about moving in together someday?” he had asked over their tofu scrambles at brunch. “I think that would be good,” she had replied. Later, that night, she asked, “What about the ‘m’ word?” She didn’t want to be the one to bring up marriage. All the dating books she’d read while getting divorced exhorted: Be patient! Let the man pursue you! She didn’t want to take the wind out of his sails, but she had to know… what exactly did moving in together mean? He had mumbled, “I like the ‘m’ word.” That was enough for her. She wasn’t in a rush.
As she took in the news of the pregnancy that evening, she silently comforted herself: “Well, at least I can tell people we had already decided to be committed.”
And now, with all this bleeding, she was at risk for losing the baby. She could lose the baby at any time. Every time she bled, she went to bed. She quieted herself, waiting for the inevitable, yielding all sense of control.
It hit her really hard: there is nothing like the threat of losing someone that makes you realize how much you want them. She realized she wanted this baby.
Click on “Little Guy’s Tale” in the menu to read about what happened next.
Note: I wrote this post for the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Shift your Perspective.
I usually write in the first person (“I”), and the challenge was to use a different narrative voice. I chose to re-write the Little Guy’s tale, a crucial series in my blog, in the third person. It helped me stretch a little…try out some character development.
The next two installments of the Little Guy’s tale have been sitting in my drafts folder for months, and I thought I would use this challenge to revise one of the drafts. That didn’t happen, but it did inspire me to take a look at those drafts, and if you follow my blog, those posts will be coming soon to a mailbox near you!