I drove over to Rachel’s apartment in a cold sweat, hoping to catch every red light possible. I didn’t want to be out here late at night to have a conversation that I never wanted to have, a conversation that shouldn’t have had to happen in the first place. Why me? What did I do wrong? I had taken all of the necessary precautions. Whenever her and I slept together, I made sure to wear a condom. All of this is why it came as such a shock to me when, this afternoon, I received a text message from her that simply read, “we need to talk”. Attached to it was an image that had haunted my dreams, a pregnancy test with a prominent “+” for all to see. My chest immediately felt like it was clamping my heart up. My body started shaking and I immediately felt like vomiting. Now, here I was, about to meet with my girlfriend to discuss a future that neither of us wanted. At first, I texted her that we had nothing to talk about, that what happened was an accident and that we should head to an abortion clinic to sort this out as soon as possible. To my shock, however, she disagreed with me. She said that this wasn’t something that we could just treat as a minor bump in the road. I couldn’t believe that she was seriously considering raising this child. We were barely getting by as it was! I knew that she was still mulling everything over, but was she honestly entertaining the thought of throwing everything away to raise a kid? I approached her neighborhood and began slowing down as I scanned for her address. It was almost as though time itself were dragging this situation on for as long as possible; the car seemed to be slowing down, I could hear my heart pounding in my ears, and the jazz music that I had had playing on the radio in a vain attempt to calm myself down seemed almost nonexistent at this point. I had never been more locked inside my own mind than I was at that moment. Maybe it was a false positive. Maybe this all just a big misunderstanding that we’d be laughing about in a few months. I hoped and prayed that that would be the case. God damn it! I wasn’t ready for this. I had always wanted to be a parent, but not now. That was the worst part of the whole situation; I had a plan for my life. After Rachel and I quit our dead-end jobs working at a fast food place on the other side of town, we’d go freelance for a while until we made enough money to move into a house together, Then I’d propose, and then we’d get married, and then we’d have a kid. This was always meant to happen, but it wasn’t meant to happen so damn soon! I was gripping the steering wheel so tightly that I was sure that I was going to break it. I hadn’t even noticed that I had passed Rachel’s place until I heard someone honking at me for rolling into the next intersection. Where had the time gone? I circled around as slowly as possible, desperately trying to make sure that I was as mentally present as I could be. I unlocked the car door and, with as much confidence as I could muster, exited the vehicle, locked it behind me, and walked up to Rachel’s front door. Right before I knocked on the front door, a flood of thoughts burst through my head like water rushing through a broken dam; I didn’t have to do this. I could just get right back in the car and drive away, somewhere far away, where no one would ever find me. Why should I have to pay for something that I didn’t even mean to happen? I pushed those thoughts aside with a large amount of shame. What was I thinking? I wasn’t a deadbeat, and I wasn’t going to start then. As I gently laid my hand against the front door, I forced myself to think positively. This might’ve not have gone according to plan, but what if that was a good thing? What if, if we do decide to keep the baby, it’s the start of something amazing instead of terrifying? The thought comforted me, if only slightly. Whatever was about to happen, one thing was for sure: this would not be the end of the road for me. I had dreams that I wanted to follow, passions that I wanted to pursue, and I would, whether I had a child by my side or not. Hell, maybe sharing the experience with a kid of my own wouldn’t be so bad. I finally stopped shaking. A sense of calm flooded through me. I was ready. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and, accepting the numerous possibilities that lay in store for me, knocked on the door.
A Life Altered Forever
Updated: Jan 23, 2020