Have you ever taken a pregnancy test?
I hadn’t until a few nights ago. I’ve made it through six years of sexual activity without ever having to pee on a stick, which is quite an accomplishment for someone who is as slutty and paranoid as I am. Being both easy and hypochondriacal makes for a rough coming of age. Every STI screening is panic attack-inducing and the wait for every period can make you anxious enough to literally scare it away.
This time I was really late. Not by a few days, but by a couple weeks. I was recently put on a new, highly effective form of bc (Implanon), but I also had unprotected sex with the man whom I’d been dating for six months just a week after it’s insertion. I remember him checking the internet to see if we were in the clear and I’m not even entirely sure on what site he found the information. Long story not so short, I was freaking out Wednesday night.
I was freaking out because a few hours before I took that test, I realized I had no long term future with that man and only a painful outlook for the short term. I realized this as I was struggling to pull out of his driveway and throwing up in his yard. It didn’t matter that I was in love with him. If love was enough, I’d still be dating him. For reasons I’d rather not get into, (actually, I really want to get into them because I’m sad and bitter, but my dad reads this blog so I’ll keep myself in check) I had no power over the situation. I’d tried to break it off with him a few times, always recanting my decision on the grounds that I knew he loved me and that there could be a real chance for us. I’m positive there isn’t anymore.
When I break up with someone, they stop existing in my life. I don’t care if it’s unhealthy or unfair, it’s what works for me and it doesn’t matter who broke up with whom. When I try to be friends with exes, it goes poorly. I like to make a clean getaway and such a getaway is a little dicey if you’re pregnant. Yeah, I know I’m well within my rights not to tell him no matter the outcome, but I don’t feel I’ve ever been in danger in that regard. And remember the part about me loving him? Yeah, that’s still the case and I couldn’t withhold that kind of information from someone I love.
I sobbed on my way to Wal-Mart, which I thought had self-checkout lanes. I was wrong. Bleary eyed and stuffy nosed, I tried to keep my shit together while clutching my little, pink First Response box. Only one register was open that late on a week night, but I think one of the employees noticed me waiting behind some folks who were taking their sweet time. She flagged me over to her lane and didn’t remark on my purchase. If I could, I would hug the crap out of her.
I sobbed on my way home, downed a soda when I got there, and waited for my roommate to go to bed before I opened the box to read the instructions. In retrospect I wish I hadn’t. I could have used a friend that night.
First of all, I was not prepared for the mess. It’s not like peeing in a cup. So that happened. I set the test on the bathroom sink and I left it there. I washed my hands and opened the fridge for no reason in particular. I was less nervous than I thought I’d be, probably because I knew what I was going to do either way.
And the test said in clear, digital, capital letters, “NO.” No, no I wasn’t.
There was a little cardboard pregnancy tracker in the box with spaces for you to write down what names you would choose for your unborn son or daughter. I tore it to pieces, looked in the mirror, and watched myself cry over something I didn’t even want; that I wasn’t supposed to want. An unexpected pregnancy that I would never have elected to carry to term. Under the given circumstances, I had dodged a bullet.
My ex knew I was late even before I ralphed in his yard. I told him I wasn’t pregnant before I went to bed Wednesday night and I cut my ties with him Thursday morning. The day before his birthday. I know birthdays aren’t really important to him and he’s seen this coming, so I’m sure he’s just fine. There aren’t even any pictures of us together, which makes it easier to pretend like the whole thing never happened.
My relief should have outweighed the stinging sadness that was setting in as I ended the longest relationship I’ve ever had. But staring at the negative test by myself in my bathroom in the middle of the night might be the loneliest moment I’ve ever known.