I was seventeen when I got pregnant. The father was my current boyfriend. We'd been together a month short of a year, and we started having sex after we hit the half year mark. And though we had only been together, what is in retrospect, a very short time, I knew, and he knew, that we were soul mates, and we wanted to spend our lives together. I originally had plans to go to University in Montreal once I graduated high-school, but because my boyfriend was a year behind me, I picked a school just off the west coast of BC, a thirty minute ferry ride from the tiny island we both called home. We both wanted kids, someday, but that someday was at least ten years down the road. Or so we thought.
When teens get pregnant, I am always so shocked and surprised at how stupid some people can be. My parents were heavily religious and so my boyfriend and I had to be super careful. We made love at his house, he used condoms, twice a month, I couldn't use birth control for fear they'd find out. Every time after we'd do it, I freaked out and stressed that I was pregnant, and told myself never again, but then it happened, again. And every time, I asked him as he rolled on his rubber "I won't get pregnant, right?" and he would promise me, though we both knew what the latex would do was out of his control. I needed to hear it.
We made love ten times. The last time was during my fertile time of the month, as I had learned in Biology, but I was wanting him, and so once again he promised and we made lovely love and that was it, and the next morning I woke up sick to my stomach, and in my heart knew this wasn't just nerves. I waited, waited the seventeen days until my period was to arrive, and on the day of, in the bathroom I peed on a plastic test. I didn't need to see the plus sign to know. At first, I wanted to throw up. Then, I felt oddly calm, as I racked my head for a plan of action. Tell parents? Never. I'd be digging both my love and I a grave, as well as the baby. Baby. Abortion seemed like my only hope, but because we lived on an island, I couldn't get it done or my parents would know. The weeks blurred. I got up at 5 every morning and ran until I felt I would collapse, hoping that somehow it would shake the creature within me, but it did nothing. After a month, I had scraped together enough money to do something. That night, I lay in bed and weighed my options. No one knew. I thought about telling my boyfriend, but knew he would stay with me and help raise the baby, and that would kill him. He had dreams, dreams to be not a rockstar, but a musician, to teach music, to be famous. I thought about staying on the little island and having the baby, but knew that my secret would reveal itself in a matter of months. It would destroy my family. It would destroy my boyfriend. I didn't care if it destroyed me. So, without really knowing what I was doing, I booked myself into a flight to Montreal, and fled half way across the country to the land I thought would hold all my dreams. I didn't tell anyone. I thought if I left it open, I could come back when it was all over. I could come back to my love. I kissed him the night before I left, and he buried his face in my neck and told me he loved me more than the world, and I felt nothing, did not allow myself to break, not as I slipped off the island and on to a plane and journeyed so far way, not until I arrived and found myself lost in a tiny room in a cheap hotel, did I break.
I quickly got a job working at the cafe across the street, and it paid me enough to rent a cheap apartment. I thought the shame of being pregnant and young would lessen without familiar faces, but judgement is judgement in any form, the sting is all the same. And then, after seven months, I lost the baby. I woke up to a bed of blood. I had an infection. The doctors stitched me up and fixed me so I would never have another baby again. It was too dangerous, they said. That's when I learned that you can run, but then you will trip and fall skidding upon your knees. I was too heartbroken to return home, so I stayed, and when I turned eighteen I changed my name and erased my history. I started attending the University I had dreamed of, and my english professor took an interest in my raw, unapologetic writing, and passed my name to a publisher, and before I knew it, I went from scraping coffee grinds to having five dollar coffee delivered to me every morning. Before I knew it, I was rich and famous, embarrassingly so. Everyone knew my name, or thought they did, and my bloody past was just a spot on my identity.
I always thought, with all this press, my love would find me, come get me, and we could be famous and fabulous together, but he never did. Ten years later, I went home. New hair and new body, no one knew me. I found my boyfriend. Only, he was no longer mine. He was married, and had two little girls. I saw him, and he saw me, and I ran again, but after I realized it didn't matter. I realized that no money or fame could ever replace the mistake I made. Because truthfully, had I stayed, I would be broke and disowned, but loved by the one I love. Nothing will ever bring that back to me, just like nothing will ever again fill this empty belly. You can run, but be ready to fall. People say they know pain, but they don't know the tip of the iceberg.
Fall on your knees.