Becky’s shaking fingers could barely grasp the ignition key. With her held breath, they finally stilled and the engine sputtered off. Her will was drained dry with that effort and the door handle sat unmoved. How could she get out and go in there? It would be too difficult, complicated, painful. But the alternative was an unclimbable mountain.
They say that you cry a lot, she thought, but I have no tears. Nothing. Does that kind of pain make you cry?
Her eyes were fastened to the painted symbols on the dashboard. A tiny car. What looked like a little bottle. The speedometer reached to 160. Mom would never drive that fast. She never breaks the rules, never screws up. And she’d never be in this mess. Another deep breath and her review continued.
56,893 miles on the odometer. Gas gauge on ¾ full. Daddy always tells me to keep it at least half full. His car, his rules. But what would he say now? How many hundreds of rules have I broken on the road here?
A memory of their first date flashed onto the dash. Brian shaking her father’s hand firmly, laughing at his corny jokes and promising to have Becky home by midnight. Her mom standing at the door as they drove away, a tea towel over her arm, a smile that masked her worry pasted on. But her daughter was home on time that night, gushing about the boy and begging to go out again.
Drive-ins, picnics and summer fairs turned into hayrides, football games and Thanksgiving dinner. Her parents wondered if this boy was the one. She was convinced that her future was diamonds and a white dress.
Tucked underneath the wooing grew a tension, the rising temperature of their young bodies screaming for attention. Becky confessed her adoration and asked Brian if he loved her. He insisted it was true. Things grew hotter. Becky drilled her mother on how to know it was real, forever, lasting. Worry pushed mom’s smile aside.
Becky had fretted and dreamed, dreaded and dashed all the way to the bedroom. Once the first time was past and neither drowned in the expected shame, more occasions followed.
Becky had never given any thought to a baby. That only happened to girls who slept around, not to any of her crowd. Brain seemed convinced that his plastic protection was sufficient, that he was in control. A veil of disbelief had slammed loudly over his eyes at the moment of her confession. Drawing back almost in disgust, Brian had exploded from his seat, paced away, and snarled back that it was impossible, she was wrong, even telling her she was stupid. That shock had hurt more than the positive test.
Cascades of tears hadn’t washed anything away. They only stained her cheeks with the new reality - she was pregnant. Shock wore off and gave way to the weight of decision – there were things to be done. Steps to take.
Her best friend had told her about this place, and had set up the appointment when Becky couldn’t. But Becky had stopped short at allowing her to come. If Brian didn’t want to be here, then she would go alone. Her parents were still in darkness as to the shape she was in.
I suppose they’ll find out sooner or later. Fear lodged in her throat.
The dashboard memorized, she sat staring at the door of the building, covered in mirrored privacy glass. One small, nondescript sign hung precariously on run-down bricks. A few shines short of seedy was this spot, although that was to be expected. Not a place you want to visit twice. Who would be inside? Would it be clinical? Artificially cheerful?
I wonder how many questions they’ll ask, how much of my story they really care to know. Or maybe all of the stories are the same. A decision, a moment, one set of actions – and then life forever altered. It’s not like it happens any other way – I just never thought it would happen to me.
Becky clenched her fists - once, twice, three times. With a sudden movement she thrust open the door and stepped out. Another held breath and the car door slammed shut. Six steps to the mirrored door and then she exhaled.
It was not at all as she imagined inside The Magdalene Crisis Pregnancy Center. And for the first time in months the girl was enveloped in peace.
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