It was one of the first warm days of the New Year and Angela had spent most of it outdoors. She’d gone for a walk, run errands, and went out to a party that evening. She couldn’t believe it was almost three in the morning as she drove down the highway towards home. She quietly sang along to the latest Jennifer Hudson song on the radio and enjoyed the emptiness of the road. She was remembering why she used to leave for road trips around this time……having the road to herself. As she exited the highway Angela took a quick glance at herself in the rearview mirror.
“Not bad,” she thought. “Make-up still on, lipstick lasted, and I always look good in my favorite black hat.”
Angela turned onto the dark streets of her neighborhood turning her radio down so she would not disturb her neighbors. Admiring the historic look of all the houses, Angela wondered what each one looked like on the inside and how much it was worth.
She pulled into her spot in the driveway doing a last scan of the car to make sure she’d gotten everything. As she looked into the woods across from her house, she swore she saw something similar to the large sandy colored werewolf in the Twilight Series watching her.
“Too many Stephenie Meyer’s books at one time. I think everywhere I look there’s a vampire or werewolf”, she said out loud with a laugh.
Preparing for bed Angela began to feel queasy. “Not again” she moaned.
Rushing to the bathroom she threw open the door, clicked on the light, knelt in reverence to the porcelain god, and began to vomit. Her stomach muscles contracted, forcing out liquids and bits of food from the night. What felt like thirty minutes had gone by, was really only about five. She flushed the toilet and wiped around the commode to clean up what didn’t quite make it. She washed her face with a cool towel, brushed her teeth and slowly got into bed. Sleep came fast, after vomiting took what energy she had remaining.
“God, please let me make it through the night without getting sick again”, was her prayer.
As the sun began to rise and lighten her room, Angela said a prayer of thanks for waking up another day, and making it through the night without vomiting. Her mouth was dry from the night before and she quickly drank the remains of the bottled water she kept on her nightstand. No sooner had she taken her last sip, the sick feeling began to creep back in. She stood up slowly trying to get her balance, as if she were on a ship in the middle of a violent storm. Eyes closed, inhaling, and exhaling slowly, Angela managed to minimize the feeling of nausea.
“Whew! That was close”, she mumbled to herself.
Walking to the bathroom for her daily morning ritual Angela turned on the shower to let the water run until the temperature was to her liking. She looked in the mirror and noticed the remains of mascara around her eyes mixed in with signs of sleep.
She grabbed the baby oil and squeezed a small amount onto a cotton ball and began to wipe away the traces of last night’s eye makeup. She took a deep breath through her nose inhaling the smell of Johnson’s Baby Oil. She’d always liked that smell, but today it seemed different. The scent triggered that nauseous feeling and in one quick, clean movement, Angela had the seat up and was again on her knees.
After another violent round, she flushed the toilet and sat down with her back against the tub. The steam from the water was filling the room and relaxing her tense muscles.
“What am I going to do?” she thought to herself.
Slowly, Angela stood using the tub for a brace. She took off her pajamas and got into the shower. The hot water felt good as it hit her shoulders and ran down her caramel colored back. She shampooed and combed conditioner through her curly hair. She lathered, using regular soap in fear that a scented soap might not agree with her. When she got to her stomach, she took extra care, noticing that her lower abdomen area was beginning to harden. A small smile came upon her face in spite of herself.
“Hello in there”, she whispered. “It’s your mommy. Can we make a deal please? No more getting mommy sick. Ok?”
After both her fingers and toes looked like raisins from the moisture, she turned off the water and grabbed her towel from the shower rod. She dried herself off and let her hair drip dry. She took extra care in brushing her teeth and tongue to ensure the taste of vomit was gone 100%.
As she walked into her bedroom, her cell phone was ringing; it was him.
“Hey! What are you doing?” his voice smooth and mellow. Just the sound of it made her smile.
“Nothing. Just getting out the shower. ‘Bout you?”
“Cleaning. You have fun last night with the girls?”
“Yes”, she replied a little apprehensively.
“What’s wrong?” his voice carried concern.
“Umm…nothing really. I just don’t feel so good this morning”, she managed to say in hopes that he’d believe her.
“Ha! You drank too much last night, didn’t you?”
“Er…yeah. Maybe just a little. I threw up when I got home and this morning”; that was a believable story. “The shower helped to relax me though.”
She could hear the sounds of sports in the background on his television. She knew now wouldn’t be a time to try and talk, because she is invisible when it comes to sports.
“Jackson, honey”, she said in her sweet voice.
“Hmm?” he answered as if half listening.
“Do you ever think about having kids? I mean starting a family? You’re kind of getting up there in age, you know”. She tried her best to sound as if she were joking, but deep down inside she wasn’t.
“Yea, I guess,” he said with a sigh. “I just don’t know when. I know I’m almost forty, but it’s just not that important to me right now; and you know the reasons why.”
“Yes……I know”, she responded so quietly it’s a wonder he even heard her.
Jackson was the youngest of three children and the most successful. He had his own law firm that dealt with corporate contracts and those of athletes. He was a black man and a success story.
In the brief silence, she thought about the night she met him.
She stopped off at a bar to have a drink on her way home. Though this was his usual place, it was new for her. They began talking about everyday life. and five months later she found herself in a relationship.
It seems when they first started dating, they used to have fun, but then in the second year his mom passed away from a battle with cancer. Since then everything about the relationship had seemed systematic, even the romance…. when it existed. Angela stood by her man in his time of need, but he now felt it was his responsibility to care for his siblings and father. A business, a family, and no time for Angela often left her feeling lonely. Whenever she would bring up the topic of taking the relationship further, Jackson would often tell her he just didn’t have time to think about that right now. Angela couldn’t understand why she couldn’t have five minutes of his time daily, but she knew people grieved in different ways.
It was his busyness, or lack of attention to her, that made Angela realize that since he didn’t have time to really think about their possible future together, then he would not have time for a baby.
His voice breaking her thoughts, “Well, you wanna come over later? Maybe we can go to dinner.”
“I really don’t feel like going out today. I have some things I need to think about. Do you love me, Jackson?”
“What?” he responded shockingly.
“Do you love me?”
“I care deeply about you. I haven’t thought about if I love you or not. Why?” His tone seemed almost annoyed by her questioning.
“No reason”, she sighed hurt by his annoyance. “I get the point. I know what I need to do.”
“What are you talking about, Angela? Do what? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. I’ll talk to you later.” She hit the end button on her cell phone and continued to get dressed.
While dressing, Angela played out many different scenarios in her mind. How would Jackson respond to her if he knew she was pregnant? He’d probably accuse her of getting pregnant on purpose, even though she simply forgot that her medicine taken while sick would counteract with her birth control pill. He might also blow up if he found out she was pregnant, and so she intentionally opted him out of any decision making. She knew she could handle a baby alone, but she so desperately desired to have a two-parent household for her child. Unlike what she had growing up.
“I could have an abortion”, she said out loud. “I may be in my thirties, but I’m young enough to conceive again with someone who at least acts like he wants a future with me. If I do keep it, his sister will accuse me of being a gold digger. Hell, he might too.”
Angela knew she had to make a decision, and soon, before more time had passed. She finished getting dressed and went outside to start her car so that it could warm up. The weather was still nice, but she’d need some type of jacket. She pulled on her favorite hoodie, grabbed her purse, and locked the door behind her.
She backed out of her driveway and put her car in drive. As she drove out of her neighborhood, she once again took in the scenery of the houses around her. She noticed that the leaves on trees were starting to grow back. A sign that spring was on the way. New life. However, she also knew that if it got cold enough that those leaves would die and the new life that was beginning would die instantly. Not because they weren’t strong enough to handle the cold, but because it just wasn’t time yet for their life to begin.
Angela reached the highway entrance. To the right was the direction that would take her over the water and into another state that had a private clinic with counseling. To the left was the direction to Jackson’s house. She took a deep breath, turned on the radio and signaled to get on the highway.