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.