Her eyes were swollen. Sleepless nights for a week, and yet, here she was anyway. Hand grasping the handle of her car door, willing herself to open it. Convincing herself not to open it.
It was all so… what? Unexpected? No. She knew it was a possibility from the very moment she kissed him that night. She had smiled into his meltingly dark eyes and knew what would happen next. She knew, she knew, she knew.
The weeks were a blur and she had ignored the storm in the pit of her stomach and waited until that moment when reality became unavoidable. And there it was. The second line on the stick. She forgot how to breathe.
She was a stone. To feel was to despair and so she decided she simply… wouldn’t. But she woke to a damp pillow every morning that week.
The house was quiet. It usually is when one lives alone.
Motions. She went through the motions. There was work and church and music practice and herding a group of small children through the mid-week Bible club. She held a microphone on Sunday morning and sang words she couldn’t remember. Her eyes scanned the smiling crowd and the thoughts she couldn’t even begin to think grew, and grew, and grew.
So did the tiny one nestled deep inside of her.
Another hour, another day, another week. She swallowed hard and made it through another early morning service. She had even pasted a smile across her face.
But then she heard them.
They were talking about another her, another girl they all remembered. Everyone knew what had happened. She had moved away and now had a baby but no ring.
The voices hissed and amused disgust dripped from their lips, landing thud thud thud on the Bibles tucked under their arms.
She turned quickly and her purse knocked a stack of fliers from a low table. She bent to gather them. New Hope Pregnancy Center – Adoption, not Abortion. Choose Life.
She heard their words, sotto voce, following her out the door. “I just never thought it would happen to her, you know? She came from such a good family.”
Her car door slammed, too hard, behind her. Her knuckles turned white around the strap of her purse. Her feet refused to obey the command to walk.
She fixed her eyes on the sign over the office door and let the letters bore deep into her mind.
She knew what they’d have said, those women, if she had asked them. She could picture their shock, but they’d tell her not to come here, that it would all work out, keep the baby, adoption was the way, that she had better options. They’d hold her hand for as long as it took them to pray for her and then they’d walk away. They’d glance back and remind her to consider the options and then they’d go find their seats.
Who, really, would want a baby from the church girl? Who did she know who had actually welcomed a baby from another mother’s arms?
What would it mean to walk into that building on a bright morning and show these people, the ones who thought they knew her, a rounding tummy? Would conversation halt and eyes turn away at her shame?
How would she feed and clothe and care for someone so small and helpless? The unwed mother, the outcast. She’d be that one, spoken of in hushed tones, the one causing the shaking heads and cloudy eyes.
Saint to sinner in the blink of an eye.
She’d be alone.
No, she didn’t have options. She didn’t have choices.
Ten steps and she was pulling open the cold, heavy glass door.
There was no other choice.
She stood inside the door and rested a hand lightly on her stomach.
She closed her eyes and mouthed the words silently.
The church girl wouldn’t be having a baby.