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Three Weeks ~ part 9
When I walked into the house at 4:30 I was greeted by the scent of my mother’s famous roast. It smelled so perfectly delightful, that it made me feel ashamed that I had to ruin such a great meal with such bad news. As I was schlepping up the stairs, I heard my mom call out a greeting as she was fussing around the kitchen. After I closed the door to my room, I looked at myself in my dresser mirror. My face looked tired, and my complexion was dull and spotty. I groaned and pulled on my comfiest sweats, the same ones that I had worn only weeks ago, while I shared pizza and memories with Mike.
When I entered the kitchen, all of the food was already set at the table, and both of my parents were seated. We said grace, and my mom and dad started to eat, but I couldn’t even look at the food. If I didn’t do it now I wouldn’t do it at all.
“Is something wrong?” my mother asked concern sprawled across her face.
“I have to tell you something,” I replied looking down at my food. It all looked so perfect, like it came straight out of a Martha Stewart magazine, “I…I’m pregnant.” Once the words were out of my mouth I looked up at my parents. Their eyes were wide in disbelief, and their hands which had just been poised to lift a fork of food now rested on the table. Part of me felt better now that I had said it, but another part was concerned of what would happen when my mother finally found the words to speak. It didn’t take her long.
“Mike?” Her question was vague, but I knew exactly what she meant. I nodded my head slowly waiting for her reaction. “While we were in Europe?” Again, I knew that she was asking when we had sex. This time I answered in one slow quiet word.
“Yes.” My mother sighed heavily and lifted her hands to her face. My father sat silently, eating his food as if nothing had happened. I was desperate to know what he was thinking.
“What are you going to do about it?” he said, finally looking up at me.
“I said what are you going to do about this? You dug this hole yourself, kiddo, and you’re going to have to figure out how to get out of it.” he returned to eating. I knew what he meant, and though it may have sounded harsh, I appreciated what he had said.
“That’s why you went to Castle Rock today, isn’t it?” She already knew the answer to her question.
“Yes, I had to tell him first, Mom.”
“I just… I don’t know how you could have been so irresponsible. We trusted you to behave appropriately while we were away, and you took advantage of that, you took advantage of us, and you took advantage of Deb and Jim.” She paused for a moment, but I knew that she was nowhere near done. “I understand that you and Mike are in a relationship now, but you’re only 15. You made a choice, a really big choice, thinking in the moment. And now you are going to regret it for the rest of your life. I know that you two say you love each other now, but what about in a year? Or two years? Or even 5?” I bit my lip, and tasted coppery blood in my mouth. “A baby is a big deal Lia. Whether you keep it or not, it is going to change everything about your life.”
“You think I don’t know that?” I asked, looking her in the eye.
“I didn’t say that. Lia, I will always love you no matter what, and I hope you know that, but I can’t even tell you how disappointed I am in you right now. I thought you were smarter than this.” She stood from the table and began clearing dishes from the table, including my untouched plate. My dad stood and headed for the living room to catch the game, as he passed he put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed. After a few minutes of sitting in solitude at the table I stood, and headed for my room to call Mike. He answered before the first ring was even over.
“How did it go?” He said quickly.
“Like telling your parents you’re pregnant should go.” I said as I flopped back onto my bed closing. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine that Mike was lying next to me.
“What did they say?” His voice was concerned, and I could imagine exactly what his facial expression was.
“My dad didn’t really say much. But my mom, she was kind of freaking out. She said that I took advantage of her and your parents. She told me that she couldn’t even put into words how disappointed she was in me, and how she thought I was smarter than this. Maybe I should have been smarter than this.”
“Don’t say that. It was a mistake, yes, but it doesn’t make you stupid.” My heart ached with his selfless loyalty and faith in me.
“Are you going to tell your mom tonight?”
“Yes, and my dad. I think that I should tell my dad first. Man to man, you know?”
“I’m scared for you.” I told him, wishing that I could just make this whole mess disappear.
“Why on earth would you be scared for me?” he asked me quickly.
“Because I don’t want your parents to blame you. I don’t want them to be mad at you,” I said imagining what his parents might say when he told them.
“Don’t worry about me. Right now you need to worry about yourself.”
“I can’t help it, Mike. You are my everything right now.”
“I’ll be fine. I promise. How about I call you tomorrow and let you know how it went?”
“Can’t you call tonight? I don’t want to go to bed wondering what happened.”
“No, you should get your rest.” I heard a million things in those words, and I was grateful that I would have someone like him by my side. After we hung up, I changed into my pajamas and the hoody Mike had given me. I curled up in bed, and felt the effects of a long day take over as I drifted into a still and deep sleep.
In the morning, I awoke to a sour feeling in my stomach and ran to the bathroom, barely making it to the toilet before I vomited. After I was done heaving I sat on the floor with my face pressed against the cold porcelain for a few minutes trying to regain my strength. When I thought it would be safe to stand, I did so and splashed my face with cold water from the tap. So this was the morning sickness that awaited me for weeks. I stumbled back into my room on time to hear my phone ringing, it was Mike. I flipped the phone open and feebly said “Hello?”
“Are you alright? You sound awful,” he asked, without even a proper greeting.
“Morning sickness,” I mumbled, closing my eyes, and trying to stop the nausea from spreading over me.
“Is it bad?” he prodded, care and concern in his low voice.
“I feel like crap, but it’s not like I have anything to compare it to.”
“I’m sorry, I wish it was me instead of you. Is your mom taking care of you?”
“She doesn’t even know I’m up,” I replied quickly, my voice slightly bitter, “Anyways, she’s probably at work today.”
“I hate to think of you all by yourself at home, and sick.”
“I’ll be fine; I want to know what happened with you last night.” Mike didn’t hesitate before re-telling the events of the previous night. It sounded like his parents had handled it fairly well, similarly to mine. When he was in the middle of telling me about his mother, my stomach did a flip inside of me, and I had to run to the bathroom once again, dropping my phone on the floor. As I stumbled back into my room, I picked up my phone from the shaggy carpet, and as I had suspected Mike was still on the other line. “Sorry,” I managed.
“Are you ok? Did you get sick again?”
“Yeah,” I replied quietly crumbling to the floor, to tired to make it all the way to my bed.
“how long does morning sickness last?” he asked sounded faintly irritated.
“It can last all day, I think,” I say trying to recall information from an old book that my mom showed me once.
“I don’t like that you’re at your house all alone. What if something happens to you?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. It’s just like a stomach virus,” I said, aware of the fact that my voice was not very reassuring.
“Except not. You’re not going to go through this all alone. I’m going to get my mom to bring me up. I’ll be there in a few hours.”
West Jefferson, Ohio
Grand Rapids, Michigan
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All gave some, some gave all. -War Veterans headstone.