CHAPTER SEVEN: Two Lines
Nervously, I rung up the single item I had chosen from the shelves at Walmart and hurriedly made my payment at the self-checks. The plastic bag rustled gratingly as I made a quick exit to my car.
The last few days had been torture. If only I knew for sure. If only I was brave enough to know for sure.
I didn’t talk to anyone. No one had to know about this, absolutely no one.
It took an eternity to get to Houston Community College that day. But there was no way I was going to risk doing what I needed to do at work.
It had been entirely too long. Either there was something wrong with me medically—or…
Or I was pregnant.
Either way—I was in trouble.
- - - - - - - --
Before I opened my eyes to seal my impending doom, I tried to breathe. It seemed like the oxygen just wasn’t there, kind of like that time I was high in the mountains with Granny, and the air was so thin.
Only this was the college restroom—definitely not a mountain.
I opened one eye—a slit. Then both, wide open. I stared for at least ten minutes—maybe forty.
According to that thin, white test—I was going to be a mother.
The rest of that fateful day passed in a haze. I think I eventually said I was sick, and went home.
I definitely felt sick enough.
- - - - - -
After the fifth test, I seemed to have partially grasped the reality that my life was about to change. I hadn’t planned it, but there was certainly no way to get around it.
I wasn’t going to be a nurse. Not now anyways.
And Kenny? Who knew how he would feel? I didn’t know how or when I would tell him. He always thought birth control was 100\%. I mean, he knew that the rule was somewhere in the 90\% range…but not us. Not now.
I felt sick to my stomach.
I opened a private browser on our single laptop, and typed in Planned Parenthood. It was where Mom had gone…maybe four or five times.
I scanned through information—birth control, abortion. My face tightened in desperation as a thought hit me. It disgusted me; no, I was disgusted with myself for ever thinking it. But it taunted the corner of my mind.
I could get an abortion. On my day off. When Kenny was at school. Maybe I’d go to Lizzy’s house for a week, and recover or whatever.
Maybe Kenny didn’t even have to know. Maybe I could be a nurse.
But, abortion! The hideousness of the act frightened me. I knew what abortion was. I was studying medicine. It was not a simple removal of tissue.
Or maybe it was.
What about that sign? The one I had seen on Wunderlich? My brain raced, grasping desperately for alternatives. Maybe they could help. Maybe they could tell me what to do.
It was just a piece down the road from me, so I grabbed my phone from the windowsill and took a walk.
Maybe the cool evening air would release the pressure threatening to split my skull in two.
- - - - - - -
Carefully, I typed the name written across the bottom of the sign into my phone. Care Net Pregnancy Center. Who were those people, anyways?
Know your options…hope…adoption…support…parenting…start a conversation…get answers before you decide.
Maybe I should talk to them. Maybe…but they didn’t offer abortions. And as much as I didn’t like the idea, that frightful procedure was looking increasingly like my only option.
But maybe I should tell Kenny. Maybe…just maybe we could make it work. Maybe Kenny could still go to school, I could still work, and somehow…someway…we could work out a plan for a baby.
But we had no money. No insurance. We had barely enough clothes and food for us after books, gas, and the part of the tuition that we had to pay.
And I wasn’t sure…I wasn’t sure Kenny would give up pre-med to work. Even for a year or two. That would put him a couple of years behind on an already tight schedule.
Adoption seemed almost worse than abortion. To carry my own child, for nine months, know it for a day, and then give it to a stranger?
I’d rather get it over with now.
But still, I squared my shoulders and typed the numbers on the sign into my phone. I’d call. Just to see.
“Carenet, this is Noelle. How may I assist you?”
I gulped. “Ah, hi. My name is, ah, Samantha. Well, I have a quick question for you—I’m calling for a friend.” I took another breath. “Well, you see, she’s pregnant, and can’t exactly keep the baby. Could you all maybe help with that? Uh, I don’t know—probably a dumb question.”
“Not a dumb question at all, dear. That can definitely be a tricky situation. So glad I could talk to you today, Samantha.” The tender concern in the voice coming over the line surprised me. “Would your friend maybe want to make an appointment with us? We can see what kind of support we might be able to offer her.”
“Ah, well I’d have to ask her.” I paused. That sweet voice, nearly familiar, made me want to try.
“Is she there with you?”
I remembered how well I could do impersonations. I would…I would impersonate Lizzy. Yeah—with the energetic, smiley voice.
“Well, she actually is. Lemme get her real quick. Hold on.” I put my hand over the receiver and waited a second.
“Hi!” Lizzy’s voice came across the line. Excellent, I told myself.
“Hello, this is Noelle from Carenet. Samantha was saying that you might want to make an appointment with us?”
“Oh, yeah, totally, that would be great. Thanks bunches. When should I come in?”
“We have 3pm, 4pm, and 6pm tomorrow open, if that works for you.”
I did some quick calculating in my head. “Three would be super!”
“Great. What’s your first and last name?”
Ugh. I had to give my real name. I knew that clinics had to verify who you were with a license. “Allie Holmes.”
“Oh, Allie! Okay, well we will see you tomorrow at three.”
I hung up. Why did she sound like she knew me? Strange.
I took a deep, shuddering breath. What on earth had I just done? I didn’t want to tell anyone about this problem unless they were guaranteed to be able to fix it. Could that woman on the phone, as nice as she sounded, fix my terrible, horrific predicament?
Miserably, I crumpled to the curb and cried.
Chapter seven of Redeemed on Tucker Street, a novel that follows the story of a true to life, yet fictional, abortion vulnerable woman.