Devil and the deep blue sea behind me
Vanish in the air you’ll never find me
I will turn your face to alabaster
When you find your servant is your master
When I went to bed on April 1, 1993, I put the pregnancy test under my pillow. The smooth foil wrapper seemed like it might hold something as insignificant as coffee biscuits, a trifle to be enjoyed mid-afternoon, not something to be peed on first thing in the morning.
I woke when the light was barely nudging its way into the apartment. While Robert slept on, blankets pulled tight over his head, I reached under my pillow for the pregnancy test and tiptoed to the bathroom.
Standing next to the sink, my bare feet cold on the tile floor, I ripped and tore at the foil wrapper, first with my hands, then with my teeth, and finally with fingernail clippers. My hands were shaking so hard I had trouble pulling down my underwear. I feared I would drop the test in the toilet; I couldn’t afford another one so I clutched the plastic stick with both hands while I peed on it.
By the time I finished peeing on the test (and on my jitterbugging hands), there were two bright blue lines in the results window.
I washed my still-trembling hands, then brushed my teeth. I flossed. I washed my face and brushed my teeth again. I stared at myself in the mirror for a long time.
When I slipped back into bed next to Robert he asked, “What was it?”
“Positive. I’m pregnant.”
“I thought so,” he said before he turned over to face the wall and went immediately back to sleep.
My stomach rolled over and I felt a weird hungry nausea (or was it a nauseous hunger?) so I got up and made two pans of Rice Krispies treats.
A week later, I was in my parents’ kitchen, having just thrown away my breakfast, thereby skipping the intermediate steps of consuming and then vomiting said breakfast. I had planned to keep the pregnancy a secret until after the wedding so that people wouldn’t think we were getting married just because I was pregnant.
We were not, in fact, getting married just because I was pregnant. We were getting married because we were foolish and young and we didn’t know that the problems in our relationship were not the sort that would improve over time, and because we didn’t know who we were or what we wanted and marriage seemed as good a way to fill the time as any other.
Plus, of course, the hormones.
My mom was at the counter, wiping something, when I decided that I had to tell her because eventually, someone was going to hear me barf, and that someone would be my mom, and she is not a stupid person who would be unclear about what that barfing meant.
“Mom? I have to tell you something.”
She turned from the counter to look at me sitting at the table and she looked normal for a second, like I was going to tell her that my car insurance bill was late and I needed help paying it. Suddenly, before I said a word, her face changed. “You’re pregnant, aren’t you?”
My mom hollered, “Wendell!”, summoning my dad.
We three sat at the kitchen table in our usual family-conference positions, but what was there, really, to say?