Back to school. I can’t believe this is my final semester! I picked up my school parking permit and was more than happy to place the red and black sticker on my windshield in the corner. It will be a souvenir of my year.
Graduation order forms came in. Caps, Gowns, rings, necklaces, mugs, and invitations. This stuff is expensive! I left it on the counter for Mom to look at. I can’t imagine there is much left over after my car.
I still can’t believe it is mine. I just wish I had somewhere to go. I decided to drive around and apply for jobs. With freedom comes responsibility. The mall usually has openings. I started there. Many stores were not hiring, except managers, but they were willing to give me an application.
I came home and threw them on top of my dresser. They are still there. Why fill them out if the stores aren’t hiring? Maybe getting a job now is not the best thing. I could get a head start on summer, though. Tomorrow I’m getting a paper and checking there.
My college applications came back! Return to sender! They needed more postage! What a rip off! I went to the post office to make sure I did it right. They are finally on their way, but I am sure it is past the deadline for early admission. I feel duped.
At least I can crank up the tunes in my car and forget about it while I drive.
I almost forgot to mention my new teacher. As much as I hated Government, its counterpart, Economy, seemed like twice as much trouble. Until Mr. Knight walked in. Oh My Goddess! He can be my knight in shining armor any day! I take notes just to avoid making eye contact with him and blushing. At least I don’t visibly swoon like the other girls in class whose sighs can be heard across the room. I am going to pass this class. I have a desire to take the extra study sessions after school. Meow. I want to please him. Though not quite what that sounds like.. okay NOW I am blushing..
Wearing hoodies like I am to hide my fat is no way to attract the attention of a teacher though. Scandalously low v-neck, skin-tight sweaters have become a fashion sensation overnight among the senior girls. Mr. Knight’s classroom is a hot spot gathering every morning. The girls seem to just hang out in there and watch him write the day’s homework on the board.
P.S. I think Jeff is jealous of him. What guy wouldn’t be? He is taking all the girls’ affections.
My doctor’s appointment. I hate Doctors. Doc Epplin saw me, listened to my organs and scheduled a blood test. He made me pee in a cup, then said I might need to see a gynecologist. My mother looked worried. When the pee results came back they scheduled a sonogram.
“A sonogram? Is she pregnant?”
He whipped out the jelly right then and there and smeared what looked like a little toy microphone in the gunk. Then I heard it, whoosh, whoosh, rapid and strong.
“She needs to see a obstetrician. But the baby sounds healthy.” Doctor Epplin gave me some tissues and took off his gloves and sauntered from the room. I thought he was disgusted with me.
I haven’t even been able to write about it. I didn’t even want to go to school today. Yesterday was a holiday, so we didn’t have school. I thought maybe one day off would be enough. But it is not. This knowledge is so heavy on my conscious. There was no way I could pay attention in any class. I don’t even remember what Jeff and I talked about at lunch. He said I was quiet and I looked really troubled. I think I snapped at him, which is stupid. He is my only friend, and I should be talking to him about my problems.
Only not this. This is something you talk about with your girl friends. But Kelsie is not really my friend anymore.
And Mom, the only woman in my life feels as betrayed by me as I feel by my body.
I am angry and sad and confused.
Chase wasn’t nice to me at that party, like the girls in the bathroom said. He got me drunk for one reason. To have sex with me.
I spent a lot of days crying, avoiding Jeff, avoiding people as much as I could. But I should have known I could not avoid Kelsie.
“We need to talk.” She was blunt and serious and alone. I can’t resist that combination. I started tearing up. She sat with me at lunch. “Jeff is very worried about you. And so am I. We are your friends, no matter how far you push us away. I can’t sit back on the sidelines any more. I’m intervening.” Then Jeff shows up.
This was going to be hard enough with just her, but I was ready to clam up and lock my secrets away and transfer to another school the moment he sat down. I closed my eyes, tears slipped out and filled my nose. Kelsie gave me a napkin.
“Hannah, you can tell us anything. We are here to support you. What is wrong? You’ve been closed off and quiet and last week you turned into some shell of yourself.” Jeff said this softly, so no other tables could hear. He is so considerate. Thinking about that nearly made me cry again.
“So uh, last week, I went to the doctor.” I gulped steadying myself. Their eyes got wide. Doctors were serious. “Because I hadn’t been losing any weight and I was really trying.” I took a deep breath. “After some tests..” I started to cry again, my face got all pinched and my mouth turned down. I squeaked out, “He said I was pregnant.”
“WHAT?!” They chorused.
“Shh.” I hissed.
“Who? When?” They both had so many questions. They waited for me to blow my nose again.
“The..” I took a shuddering breath, “party. When I was passed out drunk.”
“Chase,” growled Jeff. I nodded. The tears came out now, Kelsie moved to hug me. Jeff sat for a moment, then he decided to hug the other side of me. I’m sure the school gossips were recording this moment in their brains for some juicy threesome rumors.
“I’ll kill him,” Jeff murmured.
“No Jeff, he doesn’t know.” I said quietly.
“Well, you have to tell him. He raped you, Hannah!” Kelsie whispered violently.
“Okay, but Kels, leave it to me. I need to do this, not you.” I pleaded with my eyes as well. It felt better that they knew, but the whole reason I didn’t tell them was because they would get involved.
“So, when are you due?” Jeff asked quietly.
“I have my sonogram tomorrow. They’ll tell me then.” I said softly. I can’t believe I’ll get to see it. The thought is kind of humbling. Just then I think I felt it kick me.
“I want to go!” Kelsie had too much enthusiasm. “Don’t you Jeff?”
“Uh. I don’t think Hannah wants us there.” He looked at me, embarrassed. I blushed, too. It was my belly they were asking to see. No, it was my baby. They would be looking at the little black and white monitor. My belly was the baby’s home, and it was temporary. As I moved my mashed potatoes around with my spoon I realized that I needed to take responsibility for this right now.
“You know what? I would love for you to come.”
“Really?” Kelsie squeaked with joy.
“You sure?” asked Jeff.
“Yes, I need to be responsible now and I need all the help I can get! I’m not sure how my Mom will react anyway. We haven’t really talked since the Doctors appointment.”
The rest of lunch was brief, but we spent it chatting about teen pressures and parents. I felt good again, better than I have for weeks!
I drove Kelsie and Jeff and my Mom to the Obstetrician’s office. Nobody knew what to say. Kelsie finally breaks the awkwardness with, “I have never done this before, seen a sonogram. I am really excited! Thank you so much for inviting me, Hanns!”
“It’s not that big of a deal.” Mom mumbled. “Doesn’t deserve a show.”
“Mom, these are my friends. They are the only people in the school who haven’t..” I broke off. I couldn’t cry, I was driving! Man, pregnancy makes you so sensitive! I have never cried this much in my whole life!
“Oh honey! You’re right! I have been thinking about my own feelings. I can’t imagine how much harder this is for you!” My Mom just gets things sometimes. I love her for that.
“I’m being responsible now that I know about it, Mom. Please respect that if you aren’t going to support me.” I choked out.
“I am! Okay, from now on, I promise to help you in any way I can! And you two heard me!” She gestured to the backseat where my friends were.
The gynecologist saw me first, making me strip down and use the stirrups. I was glad my friends were sent out for that one. I got a lecture about health and birth control, both things I thought were a little late to be telling me. I kept my mouth shut and let her ramble on. Then I dressed and walked to another room for the sonogram.
They warm the gel in there. It was nice. Mom held one hand, sitting nearest the technician and the screen. Kelsie held my other hand beside Jeff on my other side. My belly was out there, but no one was looking.
“Here’s a foot and leg,” the technician announced. “I’m going to measure the femur.” She clicked on the screen with the mouse. “You are 6 and a half months exactly.”
“So the baby is due when?” mom asked.
“About May 4th”
“Before prom. You can be all skinny by then!” Kelsie squeezed my hand.
“Well, at least, skinnier.” The technician replied, moving the wand around. “There is the heart.” We watched it beat as she tried to capture a good picture of the four chambers. A hand moved. “There goes a hand, it’s waving! Do you want to know the sex?”
“Yes.” I said.
She measured its head. “Your baby is already turned upside down, that’s good. It might flip again, though.”
“Look! It’s sucking its thumb!” Kelsie cooed.
“Babies in the womb do that.” The technician was not impressed. She moved the wand around some more. “Here’s the liver. Looks good.” She kept taking pictures of organs. I was getting impatient. “And.. yes, that is a girl. Hope you weren’t disappointed, there, Dad.”
“Oh he’s not the father.” I quickly amended. Jeff blushed.
“Sorry, I just assumed.” The technician blushed and turned back to the computer.
“He’s not?!” My mother looked shocked. The technician winced a little. “Then who is?”
“Remember that party I went to back in July? Well, I sorta got really drunk and didn’t remember anything that happened.”
“So it could have been anyone!?” My mom was horrified.
“No, I was with one guy that night. He gave me the beer and danced with me. His name is Chase. I guess I got so drunk I took off my shirt and even almost puked on him. But I don’t remember.”
“He took her upstairs,” Jeff added. “We thought to clean her up and let her sleep it off.”
“But that snake used her!” Kelsie supplied.
“I never knew.” I finished.
The technician handed me a bunch of brochures about rape and counseling and adoption. “You thinking of keeping her or adopting?” Everyone was silent.
“Adoption.” I could feel my mother’s sigh of relief.
“You need to call this number,” she pointed to the brochure, “and they can help you with the whole process.”
My Mom gave me a hug as soon as I was de-gunked and standing up. I hugged her back.