I used to love plus signs when I was in school, especially if it was following an A or B. As I stood staring at the 5th plus sign of the day, the hate I felt for it was remarkable. The cheery pink stick had spoken, as had the other four reality crashers earlier today. My fate was sealed.
I heard it taunting me, “Hi, Mommy Dearest.”
Oh God, now I am hallucinating. Someone pounds on the bathroom door — that would be my girlfriend Holly.
“Cecily, it’s gonna say the same thing as the last 4…Poosssitivvvve,” she laughs. “It’s not the end of the world. You need to have a baby before your ovaries start shriveling up. You know once you hit 30, the eggs start to expire.”
I swing open the door and hurl my pregnancy test stick towards her forehead. Contact!
“Oww, that’s uncalled for!” She scrambles over to the sink turning on the hot water, grabs a washcloth hanging on the towel bar beside it and feverishly starts rubbing her forehead with antibacterial hand soap.
Holly had a little mental health diagnosis called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I guess that wasn’t the nicest thing for me to do, but I wasn’t in the mood for her sarcasm.
“Sorry Dear,” I mumbled as I reached over to the medicine cabinet for my first aid kit. I got out some gauze, tape and some surgical antiseptic. I wasn’t a surgeon, but having a friend with OCD required maintenance of some heavy duty antibacterial product. I dumped some onto the gauze and secured the ends with tape. Holly glared at me as she dried off her forehead. I held up my makeshift bandage as a peace offering. She snapped it out of my hands and placed it in the middle of her forehead.
“Oh Gawd, don’t let me get a rash. It’s itching already,” she pouted while stomping out the bathroom into the living room to wallow on the couch. She had her eyes closed and was massaging her temples, as if trying to stop a migraine. Of course, knowing Holly she could be trying to stop negative voices screaming in her head that microorganisms were traveling through her skin to eat her brain. Suddenly she shot upright, wide-eyed.
“We gotta call Chris!” She began chanting, waving her body side to side while clapping her hands like a cheerleader on the sidelines of an NBA game.
“Ugh no. Let me think first.” I said rolling my eyes at her enthusiasm. I walked into the kitchen to soothe myself with carbs.
Holly jumped up and followed behind me. “Think about what Chica? Chris needs to know that we are having a baby.”
I opened a package of Hot Pockets from the freezer and popped one in the microwave. “First of all, ‘We’ aren’t having anything. ‘I’ will be enduring 9 months of pregnancy and ultimately having my lady friend ripped to shreds.”
Holly winced, “OK, spare me the graphics.”
“OK, well spare me the cheer. I just found out I’m having a crumb snatcher…”
“Yeah, with Chris!” Holly yells interrupting me while twirling in place.
Good God she is too hyperactive sometimes.
“Yes, I know, I don’t need the news flash.” I drag my Hot Pocket out of the microwave with disappointment. I realized that a Hot Pocket wasn’t going to satisfy my emotional needs surrounding this trauma. I needed Pizza. Not just any pizza, but New York style pizza.
“Alright, we have to go to Elizabeth’s. I need the good stuff right now.” Elizabeth’s had the best New York style pizza in Greensboro, North Carolina. Unfortunately, they didn’t deliver. Like a drug dealer, you had to go to them. As a carb addict, I’d been a loyal customer since I moved to Greensboro three years ago for graduate school.
Holly reached for her phone. “I’ll call Chris and tell him to meet us there.”
Chris was a friend with privileges. We had known each other since grade school. He and Holly were always around. We were all enmeshed. Chris was a few years older than us and a complete genius. He’d just completed medical school and moved to the area a few years ago for his residency.
Holly is an occupational therapist. She begged Chris to relocate to Greensboro and work in the local hospital with her. Yes, Holly works around germs. For someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and a wicked case of Hypochondria, it’s really quite fascinating. To her credit, Holly has super powers in compartmentalizing. You would never know how mentally unstable she was in the professional setting. She saved all of her neurotic ruminations for family and friends. Oh Joy for us.
I never was quite into the Life Sciences, but I loved the Social Sciences so I became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I work in mental health. I probably picked that specialty to help me better deal with Holly.
Chris probably had Holly in the back of his mind too when he picked his specialty Neuroscience. We were waiting for him at Elizabeth’s, curious to see his reaction to the “great news.” He was coming to meet us from Winston Salem – a city about 20 miles outside of Greensboro. He chose to do his residency at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Go Demon Deacons!
Oh my buddy Christian, he’s gonna want to do the honorable thing and marry me. He has wanted kids since forever. I’m really not ready to be married. Well, I wasn’t ready to be pregnant either, so I guess there isn’t a point to that argument.
Chris came strolling into the restaurant wearing bright purple scrubs. We never could get him to give up our alma mater’s East Carolina colors. Go Pirates! At least he wasn’t wearing the gold.
“What up Twins.” Chris said flopping down in the booth beside me.
“Could be.” Holy said with a smirk. Chris didn’t even notice the odd comment, as he was too busy mauling the mozzarella sticks we’d ordered for appetizers. I took the opportunity to kick Holly in the shins.
Finally looking up Chris asks, “Holly what’s up with the head gear?”
“I was assaulted,” she says cutting her eyes at me. Chris wasn’t going to touch that one.
“Hmm, OK — so what are we having – the usual?” Chris motioned for the waitress, who wasted no time sashaying over to the table.
“Hi babe, what can I get you?” She looked like a tall version of Snookie from MTV’s Jersey Shore.
“Yes, can we get a pitcher of beer please? He asks glaring at us. “You guys are slipping.”
Holly’s smirk was back with a vengeance. “Hah, no we aren’t. We have to abstain.”
Chris chuckled, “Go for it Chica’s. I got the day off tomorrow and I’m getting wasted.”
I place my palm up in front of him. “Give’em up partner.”
Chris reached into the front pocket of his scrubs for his keys, “Gladly.”
The Snook-alike came back with the pitcher of beer and took our pizza order. By this time Holly was doing mini hops in the booth with a manic grin.
“Tell him, tell him, and tell him, NOW!” she said hopping a little higher at each command. Chris finally notices her extra aura of energy.
“What’s up with you Holly Hopper,” he asks in between gulps of beer. Holly stopped hopping, cocked her head and stared at me wide eyed with pursed lips.
“Umm, heifer! Tell him.” She reaches over and grabs Chris’s hand, stating
“Chris, Cecily has some GREAT news to tell you.”
Chris looks over at me puzzled. I pay little mind because I’m too busy sending death rays over to Holly. Holly glares back.
“OK, what’s up with you two? You’re tampering with my buzz. I’ve worked hard this week to get to this moment, and I will not put up with any drama tonight. Darn it. You hear me. Women, answer your leader!” Chris mockingly slams his fist down on the table then laughs.
Holly & I switch our glares over to him. He waves a napkin and sheepishly says, “Peace.” We all laugh. We could never stay mad at each other.
“Anyways, Chris, I do have something to tell you.” He turns towards me.
I gulp. Why am I nervous? “Well, I am pregnant.”
Chris jumps up and accidently slams his knee on the table. He goes down to the floor, rubbing it and yelping, “Yes, Yes, Yes!”
I’m shocked. “Yes?”
Chris limps up to a standing position and then breaks out dancing doing the wop, the swim and the watusi. “Yes, I knew it would work, he says.”
“Knew what would work!” I yelled.
Chris stopped dancing to dive in the booth and hug me.
“Prayer & Science worked Cecily.” He continues to hold me.
“Please explain yourself, sir?” Holly asks looking fascinated.
Chris releases me and angles himself in the booth to see Holly and me at the same time.
“I prayed that you would get pregnant and I figured out scientifically when you would be the most fertile.”
I’m dumb-founded and start to feel queasy, “So you wanted me to get pregnant.”
“Yes, and marry you. Will you marry me?” The mozzarella sticks began to churn uncomfortably in my stomach. I go to hold my mouth, but it’s too late. I hurl vomit into the lap of Chris; who sighs looking down at me.
“Cecily, I made it through 16 hours at the hospital today with no bodily fluids coming in contact with my scrubs. Then I come here to chill out and you drench me. What’s up with that?” He asked while stroking my hair.
I pull myself up while trying to wipe vomit discreetly from my mouth, but by the disgusted looks of the other patrons, I didn’t think I was doing a good job.
Snook-alike came over to ask if I was OK and if I wanted some Ginger Ale or something.
Chris kindly asked for the check, and attempted to clean up our mess. He got an extra set of scrubs from his car and changed into them. Then we left.
As we piled into Holly’s little Hybrid, Chris mumbled that I hadn’t answered his question. Sliding into the back seat with him, I smiled.
Patting his lap, I said “You did get an answer Chris from our little one.”
Chris reached over and pulled me to him. He placed his hand on my stomach, “Little one, Daddy says Thank You.”
Holly, stopped at a red light, looks over her shoulder and yells, “Auntie Holly says attababy! I already love you sweet pea!”
I had accepted my fate and was happy about it. As I leaned my head on Chris’s shoulder, I realized I already loved the crumb snatcher too.