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Three Minutes


So what if I am.


She didn't like considering the possibilities of pregnancy.  It was a surreal state of being reserved for women in their middle twenties to early thirties (she was twenty-three, but this didn't matter).  It was for the adult world, which she was separate from and had always been separate from. It seemed like schools and television went out of their way to extend youth, so why couldn't biology as well?


I could get an abortion.


She sat on the side of the bathtub and stared at her fingertips while she waited.  The test was balanced on the edge of the sink.  Just a little piece of plastic with a damp, now yellow-tinged stub jutting out of one end, harmless-looking and generic.  She'd never been afraid of anything else so much in her life, except for maybe talking to her parents.  She was pretty scared of that too.  The clock on the bathroom wall ticked methodically every second, and by the time she counted to twenty and knew she had one hundred sixty more seconds to go, she was certain she couldn't handle it.  What the hell was wrong with modern technology?  You could download a fucking .mp3 in sixty seconds but a goddamn pregnancy test took three minutes?  Who prioritized this sort of bullshit?


I could give it up for adoption.


It wasn't an unreasonable thought.  She scratched at her elbow nervously and thought of Christy, who she'd taken dance classes with as a kid.  Christy was adopted, Christy's parents probably took better care of her than her real mom would have.  Was that a fair statement, calling Christy's biological mom her real mom?  What made her adoptive mom any less of a real mom, just because she wasn't some kind of weird birthing vessel.  But she didn't like the way that looked, either.  Was that what she was?  Just a birthing vessel?  What about feminism, what about women's rights?  Why the fuck didn't she check the expiration date on the condom?


The clock was still ticking.  One hundred forty seconds to go.  She stood up and rolled her shoulders, then went to check her face in the mirror.  Her face was sunburnt in weird places because of her work cap and her glasses, and her roommate called her a raccoon that morning.  Bitch.  Casually, she looked down at the test, only to be met with a rhythmically blinking hourglass shape.  One hundred twenty seconds.


She went over to the window and peeked out the blinds.  Her house sat directly in front of an intersection, and down the street she could see yet another intersection which, if she turned left, would take her straight to university.  She had exams in the morning, but that was twenty four hours away.  That was a lifetime away.  One hundred ten seconds.


What am I going to tell him?


It wasn't like he was an asshole who'd leave her.  They were mature adults, they'd talked about the possibility a few times. This was something they could handle, together, even if they were mostly low-commitment.  It wasn't the end of the world, all her friends said so.  Lots of girls got pregnant and still managed to go to school afterwards.  It wasn't like pregnancy was a disease, it wasn't something that needed to be cured like cancer or AIDS or something devastating like that.  It was natural.  Pregnancy was natural.  Condoms were unnatural, when she thought about it like that, weren't they? Maybe this was a sign or something.  She didn't believe in supernatural stuff, but it was okay to think about it sometimes.  It was nice to believe that maybe someone was in control of her life, if she wasn't.  Ninety seconds.


I could keep it.


Her mom said once that if she did get pregnant, she'd be there.  It wasn't like they lived together anymore, but she knew she wouldn't be going at it alone.  She'd have some support, even if it meant moving back home.  She'd have to take a semester off class just to get her bearings, but come spring she could be right back at it again, her mom said so.  She hadn't told her dad yet.  She hadn't told her mom yet.  Words were just words outside of context.  Promises were just words, it wasn't like they carried any weight.  She could talk with everyone for hours about how confident she was she could handle the situation, but facing it dead on was like taking a blind leap into something that could've been water or acid.  She wouldn't be able to tell until she went underneath, and by then it would be too late.


What would he actually say, when it came time to call him?  Where would their cool confidence go then?  He'd only just gotten that job, he didn't have the salary to look after a family, too.  She didn't even want to marry him.  They both hated marriage, they both hated the idea of children.  She was leaving for graduate school in three years, she was going to get the hell out of that town.  What the hell was she doing, thinking she could keep it?  Who stole her brain and told her that was a good idea?  No, she could get an abortion.  Except then she thought about the research she'd found on the Mozart effect tested on unborn children, on how the fetuses responded to the soothing timbre of Mozart's compositions.  Maybe abortion wasn't just about a woman's right to her body after all.  Where did she draw the line at life?  God, who could draw the line at life?  She was so fucking selfish, so fucking selfish. Fifty seconds.


I can't do this.


Where would she live?  She'd have to give up graduate school.  If she did that, what was the point of pursuing her bachelor's?  No one got a job with a BA in English, and it was too late to change her major without having to stay at school an additional God knows how many years.  It might be better just to drop out.  She could put more time into her job at the office until she was too big to work anymore, then take some time off to have it and get the sorry process over with.  There had to be forms somewhere that she could sign, so she could make sure DHR or whoever it was just took the kid so she didn't have to see it.  Her.  Him.  No, it. It was better.  It would be better off that way, with someone else.  Maybe if she played her cards right, he'd never have to find out she was pregnant at all.  She'd been thinking about ending it anyway, what was the point of being in a relationship so casual that you already foresaw an ending when it came time to go to grad school?  This would just be taking care of things a little early.  He'd never have to know, he'd never have to be angry with her, and maybe if she was careful, no one else would have to find out either.  She was reclusive enough.  She hid inside her room enough.  This was her problem.  No one else's. Ten seconds.


She felt like vomitting, but wasn't sure if that was due to her anxiety or her hypoglycemia. Sitting down on the toilet, she ducked her head between her knees and tried to catch her breath.  Why was she winded?  It wasn't like three stupid minutes should be so strenuous.  Five seconds.


I'd name it after Fenn.


Three minutes were up. Staggering upright, she squeezed her eyes shut and picked up the test. Her hand was shaking, she couldn't calm her breathing down enough to just look at the goddamn thing, it wasn't like she was cutting off her own hand or anything.  Just look.  It's not the end of the world.  It's the start of something new.


She looked.


Not Pregnant.

A narrative description of three minutes.

----------
Oh my gosh, thank you so much to everyone who has commented and added "Three Minutes" to his/her favorites! :D I can't even begin to explain how happy this has made me, and I'm still a little too shocked to start replying to your comments.

Just.. gah! Thank you! :D

----------
[edit] 4/21/08. I submitted a revision of this story to my EH410 class, an advanced creative writing course taught by my university's guest scholar, Dr. Naslund. If you haven't heard of her before, I highly recommend picking up a copy of her book Abundance, which is a historical fiction novel about the life of Marie Antoinette.

I hope it goes over well. :)
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Daily Deviation

Given 2007-07-10
As caveatLECTOR said "You think sitting at a stoplight takes forever? Just ask any woman who's ever taken a pregnancy test about the longest Three Minutes of your life" A prose piece by ~sartre-erise ( Suggested by zephyrchaser and Featured by StJoan )
:iconsharkoid:
Sharkoid Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013
Wow! This was really great! You got the reader so into her anxiety, like she KNEW she was pregnant and would have to endure the ordeals- and then boom, not pregnant. Excellent piece! 
Reply
:icononeofthose-rachels:
oneofthose-rachels Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2009
i read the first paragraph and thought "daily deviation"...and i was right.

this is just...incredible. awesome work.
Reply
:iconsartre-erise:
sartre-erise Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much for the comment. <3
Reply
:iconnonbeliever04:
nonbeliever04 Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2009
All the possibilities. Nicely written!
Reply
:iconphotographybychilb:
PhotographyByChilb Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2009
Brilliant job. I love the entire context, the way you wrote it, the counting and of course the ending. The way she considered so many possbilities in just three minutes
Reply
:icondemon-polecat:
demon-polecat Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2009
This is something that's crossed my mind in this kind of detail many times before! You described what I imagine it to be like perfectly XD
Reply
:iconrlkirkland:
rlkirkland Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, :heart:
Great emotional impact.:trophy:
Reply
:iconanswersonpostcards:
answersonpostcards Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2009   Writer
This is brilliant :)
Reply
:iconsartre-erise:
sartre-erise Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you <3
Reply
:iconanswersonpostcards:
answersonpostcards Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2009   Writer
Your welcome :)
Reply
:iconmegafoxy:
Megafoxy Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2009
Great work! :D
Reply
:iconsartre-erise:
sartre-erise Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Danke! :)
Reply
:iconsugarcane88:
SugarCane88 Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2008
Once, after my boyfriend and I had been together for less than 4 months, we had a baby scare.
I don't think I'll ever forget it.
I can't really relate to the thought patterns the character had b/c my bf knew I might be and we discussed it rigorously. But, the emotions she was going through I definitely had.

Writing was very realistic. It almost felt as though I was reading about a close friend's turmoil, or my own, wondering if there's a new person being created, or not.

Thankfully, I did not have to go through being alone having to keep secret my possibility of being pregnant b/c I knew I could talk openly to my bf. We knew early on (he knew first) that, if our relationship continued to prove to be the best thing either of us had experienced, we wanted to get married someday. Thus, knowing how he felt about me, I knew if I was pregnant, I could rely on him.
Mostly my worries were on how we'd finish school, he'd get his career started without a family holding him back and how I'd tell my parents.
Same as your character, when I finally took the test, those few minutes feel like hours..
By the time we could see on the stupid stick if I was pregnant or not, I'd resigned to the fact that I was going to be a young mom.
Negative, motherhood is still years away.
Talk about bittersweet!

Sorry for all my ramblings. My gosh, I just practically poured my heart out to a stranger. :p
Meh, anywho.. Great job on the writing! Keep up the good work!
Reply
:iconsartre-erise:
sartre-erise Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, how did I miss this comment? Thank you so much for sharing your story with me, don't feel awkward about it! :) It's nice to know that you're not alone in these situations.
Reply
:iconindimew:
indimew Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2008
Wow chick. I never knew you received a Daily Deviation! AMAZING!

Love this piece. So true. <3
Reply
:iconmarket:
Market Featured By Owner May 14, 2008
Thank you for my daily laugh. Keep up the food work. : fav:
Reply
:iconsartre-erise:
sartre-erise Featured By Owner May 25, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
Er, I'm a bit confused, but all right.
Reply
:iconmarket:
Market Featured By Owner May 25, 2008
Keep up the good work*

whoops.
Reply
:iconshayerahol22:
shayerahol22 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008
this is so incredibly well written! Oh gosh, I love it! I got about halfway through and I was thinking... dude, it'd be hilarious if she wasn't pregnant. And then she wasn't, so... yeah. Great read! You did great with first person POV, and the emotion and fear is shown perfectly!
Reply
:iconumbreongal:
UmbreonGal Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008  Student Digital Artist
Wow.
Reply
:iconwrekal:
Wrekal Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2008   Writer
I added this on my favorites, but for some reason I don't think I ever left a comment!

Anyways, I really love the ending. Someone said that it would have been better that she was pregnant but I totally disagree- The fact that she went through all of these emotions and different thoughts over just the possibility, the "what if", only to find out that it was nothing, makes a greater impact than if she was actually pregnant.
Reply
:iconsartre-erise:
sartre-erise Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
Ohhh, thank you for the comment. <33 I'm so glad you enjoyed this story. I put a lot of myself (and personal experience) into it; when I see how it touched so many people, and how many personal comments/notes I received in response, it always makes me want to cry.

Glad you liked the ending, too!
Reply
:iconcaleighblankenship:
caleighblankenship Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2008  Student General Artist
This piece was very powerful to me when I first read it and favorited it on a previous account. Now that I've dealt with this on a personal basis?

It's even more profound.

Beautiful piece of work. It's one that's never left me. :)
Reply
:iconsartre-erise:
sartre-erise Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
I'm glad that this piece left such a lasting impression on you. <3
Reply
:iconvickstahs:
vickstahs Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2007
Pregnancy tests can be faulty at times, lol. But this was a lovely piece to read- I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Reply
:iconsartre-erise:
sartre-erise Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Ta for the fav. :3
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:iconselucilia:
Selucilia Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2007
Just.. Wow.
Reply
:iconkildgeek:
KildGeek Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2007
Beautifully written. It catches the reader and takes them go through the ethics of abortion and the despair of having an unwanted baby in a way we can relate to the character and understand her. :) The ending is predictable, but there's no other way you could have done, if you wanted to give us the mixed feelings of relief and sadness.
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:iconwufeisgirl:
wufeisgirl Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2007  Hobbyist Photographer
I've been through this... What went through her mind was almost *exactly* what went through mine.

It's scary.
Reply
:iconuraniumjak:
UraniumJak Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007
OMG! You're words drew me in instantly. I couldn't stop reading and I had to try with all my might not to skip ahead because of all the excitement wanting to know how it ends. GREAT JOB!!!
Reply
:iconrodarte:
Rodarte Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007   Photographer
WOW. That was so good, so damn captivating!
Reply
:iconintricatevision:
IntricateVision Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007   Digital Artist
My gawd that was great. I could completely relate too, it was almost like what I thought about during my little 'scare'
and it was so well executed. :clap: wonderful work.
Reply
:icondumahdie:
dumahdie Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I thought the ending result was kind of sad, because she seemed ready to accept the child, and even went so far as to think up a name...and then it turned out that she wasn't going to have it in the first place... Brilliantly written all around! :+favlove:
Reply
:iconsyco2194:
Syco2194 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007
Wow, this is amazing!
I always love things written in real time, so you feel as if you are really there, or that you could be that person.

I felt so high in anticipation while reading this, it never got boring, and in the end where it said "Not Pregnant", I swear I let out a huge sigh of relief..

Very very well written!
Reply
:icononfiretoday:
OnFireToday Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007
That was quite well done.
Not worth a DD,

But great job.
Reply
:iconsartre-erise:
sartre-erise Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
Kind of a left-handed compliment, but thank you anyway.
Reply
:icononfiretoday:
OnFireToday Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2007
Oh no,
Coming from me its extreme flattery,
When it comes to writing I am extremely picky as to what I feel is artistically adequate.

The fact that I actually felt compelled to comment on this piece PERIOD really means something.

Its great, and far above the level of many on this site.

I am just an unreasonable cunt when it comes to DD (mostly because I somewhat hate it to begin with).

I don't usually comment on DD.

So yes, clarifying.

:)
Reply
:iconsuper-cat202:
Super-Cat202 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thats amazing it seems like thats how it would go... Its like if you were in a slow motion car wreck or something.... you know how everything just seems to slow down... It really happens with a lot of this but thats great how it made me feel like it was really happening and like I was waiting for the three minutes to end.... Amazing....
Reply
:iconmavrick2552:
mavrick2552 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007   Digital Artist
so basicly im NOT a writer as my gallery will explain! but i have been through this is she or is she not phase. however its 1 am and this is the best thing ive ever read! so ill be back.
fantastic job!
Reply
:iconsangichan:
sangichan Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007  Student Artisan Crafter
three minutes is really good i love the ending.......great job!
Reply
:iconkeep-me-secret:
keep-me-secret Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007
yet another comment ;)

congrats on the DD, its well deserved. a gripping read with a very good ending, kept me captivated the entire way through

:clap:
Reply
:iconaycia:
aycia Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007   Photographer
wow i felt like that was my life!
amazing work! =D
Reply
:iconboum:
boum Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007  Professional Filmographer
That was so real it seemed you've gone through it... ;)

Truly great piece. Fav!
Reply
:iconcatchxxii:
Catchxxii Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007
Beautifully written. I liked how you stopped at the non pregnant bit. You could of rambled on about the relief she felt. But I think the drama you managed to stir up left us all feeling as relieved as she did at the end of the story. :) Congrats on the DD!
Reply
:iconjemmeh:
Jemmeh Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007  Professional General Artist
Ahhh! My god. I love you.
That made even ME nervous. O:
~o~ Yay you have l33t skill.
Reply
:iconlavit:
Lavit Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007  Professional General Artist
Italics work like titles, but they also make a theme for the words that follow after, I like a lot the effect. :)
great piece, one can imagine the cold in the bathroom... hehe
Reply
:iconaethereality:
Aethereality Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007
Holy cow.

THIS isn't well written or anything like that... actually, it's one of the more brilliant things I have come across for awhile. It actually made me shake a bit by the end because I JUST JUST JUST had my first pregnancy scare last week. I knew EXACTLY where she was coming from, and the fact that--even though this may be a fictional character--SOMEONE had the same crazy thoughts that I did about it (minus the bachelor's in English, replace with Music), someone felt the same huge sense of relief that I did...

Just cool stuff. ^_^ Easy to relate to, and a wonderful read.
Reply
:iconovercookeddelinquint:
That was like... godamnwow
Reply
:iconitti:
Itti Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Also, a few people have said the ending was "predictable". By which I assume they mean that they too had guessed the ending early.

The point I was trying to make was that her being pregnant would have been more predictable, so unless you'd had a kind of Magic 8 Ball "Ask again later" type response, you had to be predictable.

Your unpredictability was the only thing that made it predictable so don't start thinking you should have made it less predictable by going for the other choice.
Reply
:iconcrystalizedleaves:
CrystalizedLeaves Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2007
The time it takes three minutes for a womans pregnancy test for her, is like a drug addict on many drugs at a time. Time is moving normal for a normal everyday person, but time seems to slow to the extreme for the victim.


I love this read. Teehee, I was getting anxious at the end. Ha.
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