It seems a little presumptuous to name a post “Part 1” before I’ve even finished the first sentence, but I’m pretty sure this is going to be a multi-part story.
Half Dozen Farm left a comment awhile back, asking me what the story was behind my sudden transition from a ” ‘carefree’, penniless college student to a wife/mother.”
For the sake of brevity (ha, ha. Me? Brief? Haha. I’m so funny), I guess I’ll just jump right in.
After being in a committed relationship for well over two years, I found myself suddenly single and a little confused about the direction my life seemed to be taking. I was working in crappy, dirty bar, my car had caught on fire and died, the tiny slum of an apartment I was paying exorbitant fees for was falling down around my ears, and I was sinking slowly into a fairly deep depression as I eked out a living in the middle of people-infested downtown Long Beach.
Enter The Bean.
It wasn’t love at first sight. Well, at least not for us.
The Bean was in
lust love with the little red-headed bartender that worked behind the bar, and I was just the cocktail waitress who brought him his chicken strips and side of ranch. He’d noticed me, but dismissed me as “pretty, but kind of stuck-up and bi***y”. (For the record, I was not stuck-up, but just really uncomfortable in a bar atmosphere and rather busy, so I didn’t chat much.)
I, on the other hand, hadn’t noticed him at all. At ALL. He’d been showing up on Friday evenings and sitting in the exact same spot at the bar the entire time I’d been working there. Coulda fooled me! The first time I heard about him was when the little red-headed bartender started hollering that someone had stolen the tip that The Bean had left her. Apparently, he came in every Friday and flirted with her, drank a beer or two and usually left a sizable tip.
I was intrigued that there was a regular that I hadn’t noticed and made a mental note to keep an eye out for him next week. The next Friday, somewhere around 7 or 8 at night, Miss Yoga-Figure-Skating-Redhead (jealous? me?) nudged me and pointed him out. “That’s him. That’s The Bean.”
I glanced over at the Bean.
Maybe if I had known that in six very short months I’d be standing in front of the majority of my friends and family, nervously sweating and swearing to him a series of lifelong vows of love, honor, fidelity, etc, etc I might have paid more attention.
Instead, I did a quick once-over, taking in his blue Kentucky hoody and friendly-looking brown eyes, then shrugged and dismissed him. “Huh. I don’t recognize him.” I was much too interested in the upcoming date I had with a helicopter flight instructor to pay much attention to the unassuming character at the bar.
Besides, he didn’t seem that interested in me, either. Apparently The Bean was one of those strange guys that just have a thing for waist-length curly red hair, toned thighs, tiny waists, and taut little butts you could bounce a quarter off of.
The next week was Little Miss Yoga Figure-Skater’s last week at the job. When Friday hit, like clockwork, in strolled The Bean. He looked a little taken aback at the new bartender, but didn’t say much. Taking pity on him, I went over and explained the situation and the fact that his romantic interest had moved on. Poor guy, I thought. He never had a chance to really say goodbye to her. I took a break from my busy section and chatted with him a little, feeling kind of sorry for him.
That’s when IT happened.
No, no, there wasn’t any fireworks. “It” didn’t consist of chirping birds, or Cupid’s arrows, or Disney love songs…
“It” consisted of laughter. Good, honest, ouch-ouch-my-sides-hurt-I-can’t-breathe laughter.
The Bean had a great sense of humor, and a comfortable, relaxed way about him that drew me to him. We shared a lot of the same views on life and the conversation never ran out. He seemed to enjoy my company, and I knew that I enjoyed his.
“Ah-ha!,” Thought Stupid Becky, “I’ve found a best friend! This is awesome! Guy best friends are so much cooler than girl best friends! There’s no drama! And there’s no uncomfortable potential romance between to mess it all up, either!“
Most Sunday nights found me over at his house, the two of us relaxing on his sofa and laughing at Family Guy. It was the kind of comfortable, casual friendship that you see depicted on television but never really exists in real life. It was wonderful.
May I just say that there is a bartender in Long Beach that makes the most delicious Lemon Drop Martinis?
And may I just say that Family Guy is much funnier when you drink a lemon drop before watching it? After all, football Sundays was a miserable shift, and The Bean’s house was only a two minute walk from my bar.
May I also say that while one Lemon drop martini makes for a delicious alcoholic drink, when it’s served in a pint glass (no ice) it makes for poor decisions?
Now that I had successfully “ruined” my best-friend-ship with romance, I decided then and there I wasn’t going to “ruin” my life as well. For the record, I believe in waiting for marriage. I believed it even when my actions screamed the opposite, which only added to my frustration about the hole I had dug myself into. Making sexy-time with people you aren’t married to—let alone people you have no intention of seriously dating— forget about right and wrong, it just complicates life. And life isn’t complicated enough, wouldn’t you agree?
On the other hand, even if I didn’t think what I was doing was right, I wasn’t going to be stupid about it. I knew what the consequences of sex were.
Besides, I’m half Mexican, and my family is known for our magical fertility. I was not even remotely ready to have a child, so armed with a firm resolve, I got into my car and descended into Hell.
Oh, wait. No, never mind. I think the place was called:
Seriously though, could they make a place any more… embarrassing? Or depressing? Did you know that when you leave they hand you a little brown paper baggie FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH CONDOMS? Seriously. A little wrinkled brown paper lunch bag… cram-packed with prophylactics. It looked so innocent. I half-expected to open it up and find a peanut butter sandwich and a Capri Sun.
Instead, after slinking through the parking lot to my car and throwing it on the seat beside me as I tried to get the heck outta there, my innocent-looking brown paper bag fell over and out spilled FORTY-THREE CONDOMS, a 3 month supply of birth control pills and two plan B boxes. It was like the grab bag from hell. I mean, really… forty-three condoms?!
Growing up sucks. Back in the innocent days of my childhood when I went to the doctors and had a bad experience they handed me a lollipop and a hand puppet. Now when I went I got handed the Slut-Grab-Bag-From-Hell.
Depressed about ruining my perfectly good friendship with unnecessary romance, as well as my obvious descent into 43-condoms-worth-of-slutdom, I started the pill.
Telling you about the joys of the pill is a whoooooooole ‘nother post. The pill sucks. It has the magical ability to turn rational, clear-thinking Beckys into a weepy, maudlin, uncontrollable complete mess of wildly-fluctuating emotions.
Again, that’s a story for another post.
Now, according to the packet, when taken appropriately, the pill becomes effective almost immediately.
I did not trust this.
Here I was entrusting my entire future to a tiny little white dot less than a 1/4 the size of my pinky nail? Nuh-uh. Noooo way.
I waited over a month before deciding to trust it. And as the pill has a side-effect of making your periods lighter, 4 weeks after I started it I found myself back in
Hell my local Planned Parenthood, POSITIVE that I was pregnant.
After all, I was making whoopee, and making whoopee had a tendency to make mucho babies in my family. Even if I was following the directions on the pill package like my life depended on it (and if my life didn’t, then my lifestyle certainly did), I found it hard to believe that such a tiny little object could combat such a primitive force of nature.
The workers behind the counter rolled their eyes at me, gave me a pregnancy test which was obviously negative, patted me on the head, and sent me home with another Slut Grab Bag, this time with only 37 condoms, a 2 month supply of birth control, and only 1 plan B package.
Apparently, my sluttiness quota was dropping.
Another month went by, and when my Aunt Flo was late in visiting, this time I didn’t drop everything and dart back to Hell. Instead, I went to a local grocery store and bought myself a neat little pee-on-a-stick.
And I peed on that stick.
And that stick did something strange.
You know how there’s supposed to be 2 lines? One for pregnant, and one for the control line?
Well, the one for pregnant lit up….. and then the control line started to… and then it disappeared.
So I had a nice little stick with only 1 line on it… which was supposed to mean I was not-pregnant… but the line was in the wrong place.
Glancing at the clock, I saw that it was 40 minutes before Planned Parenthood closed for the day, so I dashed down to my car and found myself back in that familiar waiting room.
Back I went to that familiar little bathroom, and peed in that familiar little cup.
Back I walked to the waiting room, which was now nearly empty, and waited for my name to be called.
I stood up, and walked to the pathetic little “private” room that the workers liked to use to descend their bad news upon you. The walls were paper, paper thin. It was usually kind of interesting sitting in that room, because you could hear employees dole out their evil pronouncements of pregnancy and chlamydia and be entertained by people’s responses. It was kind of like Live TV, only without a screen.
In walked a vaguely familiar employee, face closed off, looking vaguely stressed as he glanced up from my chart to see me sitting uncomfortably on the edge of my chair.
“Weren’t you here last month?” he asked me grumpily.
“Didn’t we just test you for pregnancy last month?” He demanded again, setting my chart down.
“Well, yeah, but…”
“Did you take your pill like you were supposed to?”
“Well, no, I didn’t, but…”
“Did you take it at the same time every day, like you’re supposed to?”
“Well, yes, but….”
He gave an exasperated sigh. “Look, you’re not pregnant. If you took your pill like you’re supposed to, then it would have prevented you from ovulating. Even if it did take, it would have prevented it from implanting. That’s how it works.” He picked up my chart to place it in the “Out” bin, but stopped when I waved my hands at him nervously.
“Well, yeah, but… you see… it’s just that I’m worried because I’m from this weird family. We’re, like, really fertile. So I just don’t… Well, I peed on a stick and it did something weird… I mean it only had one line, but it was weird….and I’m just nervous because I’m from a fertile family,” I finished lamely.
He stood up to leave, shaking his head. “Look, just trust the pill. You’re not pregnant. Just keep–“
I interrupted. “Can you please just check? Please? It’s the last time, I promise. I just… I just need to hear you tell me I’m not. I already peed in the cup, so all you have to do is just check. PLEASE?”
“Fine.” He left the room with no small amount of frustration, leaving me to nervously fiddle with the brochures of cervical cancer, herpes, HPV, and the other various assorted joys of sex. After a few minutes he came back in, still holding my chart loosely, and as he closed the door he turned to stare at me.
It took a moment for it to sink into my brain.
“Umm….Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’m sure,” his look softened slightly, and he sat down in the chair in front of me. “Where do you want to go from here?”
“Wait. Pregnant?” I sat there in the chair, and reached deeeeeep down inside of me, for that tiny little spark that all women claim to have— the one that they feel deep in their bones, the one that lets them know they are carrying another life.
I did not feel this spark.
I didn’t feel it at all.
In fact, I felt distinctly un-pregnant. I was, like, the least pregnant I’d ever felt in my life.
“Are you sure you tested the right cup?” I looked at him, eyebrows raised, hopeful. I mean, this was one an obscenely busy office. They must have had dozens of little pee cups in the back, right?
“I’m sure. You’re pregnant. Where do you want to go from here?’ He sat there, foot tapping the floor in an impatient rhythm as he waited for my answer.
Pregnant? Me? What? Wait… What? Pregnant?
“Well, I mean, I don’t believe in abo–” I couldn’t even make myself say the word, so I tried another route. “Well, obviously I’m keeping it.”
The worker nodded and stood up. “Well, okay. Then stop taking the pill, and uh… your last menstrual cycle was in January, so… October 10th. It should be about October 10th. Go ahead and use this piece of paper if you need it to go see someone in ObGyn, and good luck.” He thrust a handful of paperwork at me, and stood up to go out the door.
I sat there in the chair, hands limp in my lap, staring at him stupidly. Pregnant? What? Me? Huh? “Um… so… this is it? I don’t come back here?”
He shook his head. “Nope. Not if you want to go the route of keeping it. We’re not certified to help you if you want to keep it. Good luck.” He kept edging towards the door.
“But….” Me? Pregnant? “What…. What do I do?” I looked at him, completely lost, and as I did his face lost its hardened look for the first time. He leaned against the counter, really looking at me for the first time.
“Go get some prenatal vitamins. My wife buys the ones from Trader Joes. You’ll be fine.” He paused, and then nodded. “You’ll be okay.”
I thanked him in a thin voice, grabbed my paperwork, crumpling both it and the little pronouncement of 4wks, 5 days pregnant to the very bottom of my purse, and headed out Hell’s door for the last time in a complete haze.
Now where was there a Trader Joe’s in this neighborhood?