Friday Flashback: How Appropriate

October 21, 2005
Here's a little short piece I wrote a few years ago. It was deemed offensive by some. See for yourself:

The End of the Sentence

It began with a slight twinge- that old familiar feeling that most women know. A tiny pin prick deep inside the lower belly that slowly churned into a spasm - a sort of plunging ache, as if something in me were attempting to consume part of itself. I felt as if I were swelling, or at least my face looked fuller in the mirror. My back ached. The pants weren’t as easy to button.

That time of the month.

But not just any month.

The month before the wedding. The very last period before I’d become a wife.

All the times of worrying, of praying, of begging God to make my period start, were over. I had made it, without an illegitimate child clinging to my side.

Memories flooded my mind. Memories of loves gone by; of moonlit and Merlot driven mistakes. Of fumbling, dark excursions filled with passion and regret. Of “Oops!” and “Oh well...”

And then weeks after those moments of passion were long gone, when the date on the calender, circled in red for it’s terrible significance, was now three spaces back. The panic that consumed my every waking moment. The horrid visions of my parents tear stained and shame stricken faces. The imagined whispers from my family members, no matter what century we were in.

How many imaginary children had I already birthed inside my head? At least one for every month since I’d given myself away to the first man I thought I loved. Every month that we were together - fours years of months- of fear. Boxes upon boxes of pregnancy tests. I’ll never forget the way the heart pounds as it waits for it’s fate to be decided by a tiny urine-soaked box on a plastic dish. It was as if I were obsessed; waiting for God to “punish” me for my “wicked” ways. Sermons still ringing in my head, after all those years.

No matter what sort of miracle the Pill was supposed to work, it didn’t matter. My brain forever played back that sad little string of tape it only had to hear once “I was on the pill...took the pill religiously ... and wouldn’t you know it... They say it’s only 99% effective and now I see why...” It wasn’t important where I had heard the statement (most likely on daytime television), but that I had heard it and it was forever imprinted inside my mind’s ear.

Almost every month, I’d recited the sad confessional speech in my mind again and again. “Mom ... Dad ... I don’t know how to tell you this . . . but I’m . . . I’m pregnant.”

Inevitable sobs would follow.

Then would come the arrival of the nameless, faceless bastard child. Our life of poverty. Me having to tell it why there was no daddy, or why daddy and I weren’t together, or why daddy was a bum, or why daddy’s wife was prettier than me... etc...

I know we live in a very different world than we did fifty years ago. I know that just because people are married, it doesn’t make them great parents. I know that even if I do get pregnant two months from now, life will still be a struggle. But at least we’ll know that we’ve already comitted our lives to each other. At least I won’t be alone.

Life is unpredictable and things happen. But, somehow, they didn’t happen to me. I guess I got lucky, or the pill really did work or something like that.

Yet, even this time, as I looked down and saw the old familiar dots of red against the stark white tissue, I still heaved a sigh of relief. Perhaps the last sigh. Or perhaps the day will come when I’ll look down on that old familiar sight and feel sorry. When I’ll stare at the little dish waiting for one line or two and keep my fingers crossed for a different reason. I certainly hope so.

8:27 a.m. ::
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