Lisa finds out some surprising new...
My heart hammered against my chest, my breath came in short, hurried puffs, and my mind whirled around. I picked up the box lying on the shelf I was gazing at and peered at it. It was a pregnancy testing kit. I was now pretty sure that I knew what was wrong with me. Being pregnant would explain the intense headaches, stomach pains, nauseousness, and the unexplainable weight gain. I had been stupid not to have seen this before. It all made perfect sense now. No wonder Steven hadn't wanted to tell me what he thought was wrong with me. He obviously didn't want to just tell some random girl who he barely knew that he thought she was pregnant. That's why he had hinted about it when he had asked how close I was with Joe.
But before I started jumping to conclusions, I would actually have to buy the kit and try it out before I made my diagnosis. After all, it could just be a strange irony that I had all the symptoms that came with pregnancy. But deep in my soul, I was pretty positive I knew exactly what was wrong with me.
Panic started gripping my heart and I instantly felt much worse than I had a few moments before. What was I going to do if I really was pregnant? I would somehow have to tell my mom about it, that much was certain. She was going to figure out on her own eventually anyways. It would be better to get it over with sooner than later, right? And what about Joe? How the hell was I suppose to tell him that I was pregnant with his kid? I shuddered at the thought of having to break the news to Joe. I obviously couldn't just call him and be like, "Oh, by the way, did I happen to mention that I've having your kid?" No, that clearly wouldn't work. I'd have to make up a plan of exactly what I was going to say to Joe.
Breaking the news to my dad would certainly be the worst part. My dad wasn't very understanding and he clearly would disapprove of this. He didn't even like the fact that I had kissed Joe! And I hadn't even begun to think about school or anything like that yet. In this day and age in 1965, it wasn't at all the norm for teenagers to be pregnant at fourteen. It was looked down on as a sin or something. I remembered a girl who had gotten pregnant at sixteen at my last school. She had been ridiculed and made fun or constantly. At that wasn't even the worst part. The poor girl's boyfriend had left her the instant he had found out she was pregnant. How mean was that? The guy knocked her up and then ditched her. What a bastard.
Then another horrible thought filled my mind; what would Joe do when he learned I was pregnant? Was there a possibility he would want to break up with me and not have anything else to do with me once he learned about my news? All these thoughts were whipping around in my head, creating a confused and cluttered image of my future.
I could feel my legs going weak under my and I started to feel dizzy. I clutched one of the shelves next to me and held onto it for support. Telling myself to calm down, I took a few deep breathes. There was no point in panicking until I really for sure knew that I was pregnant. It would be stupid to get myself all worked up for absolutely nothing, right?
Once I felt like I had calmed down enough to make it to the counter without collapsing, I grabbed one of the pregnancy kits along with my shampoo, conditioner, and soap, and walked up to the counter with a nervous smile on my face. After the guy at the checkout counter had rang up my stuff and I had paid, I started for the door of the shop.
Then I came to a halt. I swung my backpack off of my shoulder, unzipped it, and stuffed the pregnancy kit inside. It would be really obvious what I was up to if I had just left it in the bag with all the other stuff. After making sure the kit was securely fastened inside my bag, I tried to put a confident smile on my face as I stepped outside and crossed the parking lot to where my mom was waiting for me, looking over her receipt.
I flung my school bag into the back of the car, and then asked my mom, "How'd you do with the grocery shopping?" My mom didn't answer for a long time. She was too busy checking out the receipt. I was starting to think that she wasn't going to reply at all when she finally looked over at me and said, "Okay, I guess. Groceries here in New York are a lot more expensive than they were in Vermont though."
"Well, maybe we should just move back to Vermont then, hm?" I suggested a little too excitedly. I really didn't like it here in New York. Going back to Vermont would make my life so much easier and happier. Mom didn't answer my question. Instead, she hit the gas pedal and pulled the car out on the highway so we could head home.
About half way home when we were stopped at a red light, my mom eyed the little plastic bag with the items I had gotten from the drug store in it. I was going to ask her if she wanted to look at what brand of shampoo I had gotten, when she put her hand into the bag and started fishing around for something.
I didn't realize what she was doing until I saw her pull the receipt out of the bag. Oh god, I couldn't let her see it or else she would know that I had bought the pregnancy testing kit thing! Without thinking about what I was doing, I leaned across the seat and ripped the receipt out of her hands. The receipt tore into two with one half in my hand and the other half in my mom's hand. I glanced down nervously to see what was on my side of the receipt. Luckily, I had the half that had the pregnancy tester on it.
That was when I realized my mom was stared at me with a what-the-hell-is-up-with-you expression on her face. After she stared at me for a few moments, she blinked and then the corners of her lips turned down into a frown, "What was that for, Lisa? If you want something, ask for it instead of grabbing it right out of someone's hands!"
I didn't have anything to say to back up my actions, so I just kind of nodded and tried not to look too guilty. When I noticed she was still looking at me, I finally said, "You're suppose to keep your eyes on the road when you're driving. We...uh...learned about driving safety during social studies today. Is there something you wanted to see on the receipt? You can just ask me what you want to know from it and I can tell you."
The light had turned green and my mom was hitting the gas pedal again as we sped off, "I was just wondering how much you spent at the drug store. So you're learning about driver's safety in social studies, hm? Tell me what else you learned about driving." Shit! Now I had gotten myself into a bad situation. I didn't know hardly anything about driving safety.
"Um..." I stammered, knowing that I had to say something or the other. "We learned about how we should never drink and drive and how we should only be paying attention to driving when we're driving and not worry about other stuff." It was a totally lame excuse, but what else was I suppose to say? It wasn't my fault that I didn't know a thing about driving.
"I see," my mom said, her expression unreadable. It was impossible to tell if she believed me or not. Probably not though, she always had a way of seeing through my little white lies. I was worried that she would continue to ask me about social studies on the way home, but she just kept silent.
Once we were parked in the driveway, I crumpled my half of the receipt into a little ball and threw it into my pocket when my mom wasn't looking. After that, I slung my bag over my shoulder and grabbed one of the grocery bags. I walked up to our door, pushed it open with my shoulder, and tumbled in. After putting my school bag on the table, I proceeded to put the gallon of milk in the refrigerator, the ice cream into the freezer, and the cereal into the cupboard.
I was so intent on what I was doing that it took me a few minutes before I heard the crinkle of loose papers behind me. Wondering what the noise was from, I turned around to see my mom rummaging through my school bag! Wasting no time, I flew across the room, grabbed my school bag, and pressed it protectively against my chest. Thank god I had hidden the pregnancy tester way in the bottom of the bag. Hopefully, she hadn't seen it yet.
Again, I had no backup plan for explaining my random actions. My mom was giving me a very suspicious stare. Putting her hands on her hips, she said, "Lisa, what's going on? You're all jumpy and stuff today. You might as well tell me what's going on. I'm going to figure out sooner or later, so just spill the beans."
I honestly considered telling her for a moment, but then bit my tongue. There wasn't any proof that I was pregnant yet. Until that point, I would keep my mouth shut. So I just shook my head and feigned surprise, saying, "I'm acting weird? I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm just tired or something. Besides, I still have to get used to things around here." I nodded, as if that resolved the whole problem. My mom just glanced at me with a look that said she was totally not buying it, but was going to let it go.
"Well, it's up to you," she said with a shrug, "but if there's something that needs to be said, there's no point in delaying it." She looked me right in the eyes, making me squirm under her gaze. I hated the way that my mom could always tell what was going on with me. It wasn't like we were really close or anything, but she always knew when I was in trouble.
Glancing away from her penetrating stare, I edged towards the staircase and quietly headed upstairs. As soon as I was positive that my mom wasn't going to follow me upstairs, I dumped the pregnancy tester out of my bag and onto my bed. After reading the small print of the directions, I gulped and headed to the bathroom. There was no point in putting this off.
~ ~ ~ ~
A few hours later, I lay on my back on my bed, staring at the ceiling with unseeing eyes. I was really on edge, nervous, and irritable right now. I had just finished performing the pregnancy test a little while ago, and now I had to wait a full twenty-four hours before I could get the results from it. Those twenty-four hours certainly seemed like the longest twenty-four hours in my life! I knew I should be working on homework or actually be doing something, but I just couldn't get my mind to focus on anything. It kept flipping from thoughts of my mom, to my dad, to Joe's parents, and then to Joe.
Finally, I couldn't take it any longer. I had to talk to someone about this. It was too big of a burden for me to keep to myself any longer. I picked up my phone, but hesitated as I thought of who I should call. My first instinct had been to call Joe, but I had already decided earlier that I wasn't going to tell Joe that I was pregnant until it was a fact. Mandy seemed like the right person to talk to in this situation. She was always kind and she always understood what I was going though. She would support me no matter what, even if she didn't approve of what I had done with Joe.
Just as I was about to punch Mandy's phone number into the phone, it starting ringing in my hand. I glanced down at the phone to see Joe's number. That was ironic timing. Shrugging my shoulders and trying to make my voice sound sure and steady like it usually did, I put the phone to my lips and said, "Hello?"
"Hi Lisa!" Joe called out happily. "How was your day?" How was my day? Well, it had been terrible. First, I had spent all morning thinking about how fat I was. Second, Ashley had actually called me fat. Thirdly, I had ended up throwing up during school. And finally, I thought I was pregnant with Joe's kid. But of course, Joe couldn't know any of this.
So I lied, "It was...fine. How about you? How was your day?"
"It was great!" Joe exclaimed, obviously in a good mood. "You know how I've been playing guitar for a while, right?"
"Um hm," I assured him. Joe had been playing guitar for as long as I could remember. A day never passed when Joe hadn't practiced his guitar. That was one thing about Joe; he was always committed.
"Well, I just joined a band around here!" Joe told me, voice bursting with excitement. "It's nothing much, but it's a lot of fun! Maybe we'll actually become popular someday! You never know! Isn't the world just full or excitement and possibilities?" I was tempted to tell Joe that the world was full of unexpected events and horrible things, but knew better than to dampen his mood.
Instead, I tried to make myself sound excited too when I said, "That's really awesome, Joe! I'm glad you're having fun at band. I just wish I was back in Vermont so I could here you play. You're so talented. Speaking of band, you know that guy I told you about from school before? Well, he's in a band too. Cool, huh?"
"Yeah, cool," Joe agreed distractedly. "I've gotta go, mom's calling me. Talk to you tomorrow?"
"Okay," I agreed, kinda glad that Joe had to go since I had to talk to Mandy. But before Joe had a chance to hang up, I knew I had to ask him something. It was important and I needed to know the answer to it before the end of tonight. So I added, "Um, Joe? Can I ask you something just real quick?" Joe waited for me to speak.
Getting my nerve up, I finally blurted out, "What would you think of me if I changed or...did something really bad? Wait, what if I made you look bad? Do you think you could still love me even then?"