Memoir: The Pill

“You need to get on the pill,” he said as if this was just how it was.
It annoyed me a little.

I looked at him feeling a little defiant, and not even remotely interested in getting on the pill. Mostly because I had no idea how one would go about getting on the pill without their parents in tow. Sure, I could be pretty resourceful when I wanted to be, but honestly, I just didn’t give a shit.

But he was a grown up, and wanted to have sex with me, sans any unnecessary complications, so he had Tony drive me to the clinic the very next day. The fact that we’d already had unprotected sex seemed to escape him entirely. Still, I accommodated.

I sat in the dingy waiting room surrounded by putty gray walls and gray linoleum tiles. Posters were stuck on the walls with pieces of scotch tape that didn’t quite hold them in place anymore. A young girl sat across from me reading Cosmo. I stared at the catchy little headline on the cover: “10 Tips to Satisfy Your Man” and wondered at the wisdom of these types of periodicals at such a clinic.

My name was called out by some girl in a disinterested voice.

I shuffled up to the counter and found myself facing a girl with a name tag that said “Beth”. She was barely 18, chewing gum (loudly) and stared at me through heavy black rimmed glasses. She was pale, had mild acne, and not a lick of makeup on.

“That’s me.” I said, trying to appear older.

She was clearly unimpressed. Her eyes were bored and her expression said, “I don’t give a shit if you’re 15 or 50. I deal with your type all day every day. Big fucking deal.” But her mouth opened and she actually said, “We have your test results. You’re pregnant.”

I stared at her uncomprehending.


“Your test. It’s positive. You’re pregnant.” She repeated slowly.

I looked at the waiting area, scanning the handful of girls sitting there reading their stupid magazines.

“I think you have me mixed up with one of them. I came here to get on the pill.” My expression was condescending because I was pretty sure she had her wires crossed.

She looked at me with uncaring eyes. “No. It’s your test results.”

I blanched. No fucking chance it was mine. Now I was getting annoyed.

“No. See, I’m here to get on the pill. I’m not here for a pregnancy test.” Ha! Take that you nerdy little bitch!

She huffed and rolled her eyes at me. “Riiiiight. And before we can put you on the pill, you have to take a pregnancy test to make sure you’re not pregnant. Because if you’re pregnant, we don’t put you on the pill. And You. Are. Pregnant.”

What the fuck was she talking about?

This was like a bad episode of Candid Camera. I looked around and though none of the other girls were looking directly at me, I could sense that every one of them were listening intently.

“But I didn’t take a pregnancy test,” I insisted, ignoring the rising terror in my chest.

She sighed. “You peed in a cup earlier when you first got here. That was for the pregnancy test. You’re pregnant.” She paused for just a moment, still bored as ever. “Would you like to schedule an abortion?”

My mind reeled. Who was this unsympathetic bitchy little nobody to suggest something so final in such a blasé manner?

“No!” I stammered. “How can you suggest such a thing when I haven’t even had any time to digest this? Who are you people?”

“Then that’ll be $15 for the pregnancy test.” She said, popping her gum.

I wanted to poke her beady little eyeballs out with my thumbs.

I paid her and numbly climbed into the waiting car.

“Did you get them?” Tony asked.

I swallowed and averted my eyes out the window. “No.”

“Why no?” Tommy asked from the back seat.

I stared down at my hands trying to reconcile what had just happened and what this meant in the grand scheme of the rest of my life.

“Because I’m pregnant,” I whispered.

Tony sucked in his breath.

Tommy laughed. “Oh shit! Jimmy’s gonna be pissed.”

My heart dropped.

I could feel Tony’s eyes on me, but for the life of me, I couldn’t look at him.

“You okay?” He asked. There was no mistaking the concern in his voice.
My heart nearly broke.

“Not really. Can we drive? I need to look at things.” I said quietly, looking out the window at the nondescript building that had just changed the course of my life.

The car surged forward. Tony didn’t say anything and when Tommy tried to talk, Tony glared at him in the rear view.

What was I going to do now?

I’d never considered myself pro-life before. But I’d never considered myself not pro-life either. Honestly I’d never given the subject much serious consideration. But over the next few weeks my boyfriend and friends had plenty of opinions of their own…

“You can’t have this baby.” Jimmy said.

I bristled.

“I don’t love you. You’re not Catholic, and I’m not marrying you.”

What a fucking douche. First, I didn’t love him either. Not even kind of. Second, I have no idea how the subject of religion entered into the fray. And third, I had no intention of marrying him.

I took a steadying breath. “That’s fine. But I’m not so sure I want to have an abortion.”

“I’m not having a little bastard running around.” I could hear his agitation through the phone.

“It’s not your choice.” I said, my voice a little shaky.

“The hell it isn’t. You will do what I fucking tell you to do. And you will have an abortion, God dammit.”

I was stunned and my mind felt like mush. I couldn’t think of any way to state my case and I was more than a little nervous. I didn’t know everything about Jimmy, and frankly, I didn’t want to. He carried lots of cash. We’d partied in very expensive hotel suites, and Tony was some sort of strong arm, beck and call guy. But Tony had a soft spot for me and under that tough NY accent, he was a teddy bear. But I wasn’t so sure he wouldn’t hurt me if Jimmy told him to.

Jimmy was also from NY. I don’t know where because I didn’t ask. He was Italian and cute in his own way, but he was also an asshole. Whatever he did, had to do with sports. Specifically games. So much so that he tracked every major game being played and kept notes on the scores. Even during sex. I can’t imagine he was some lower level mafia, because on a rational level, I find it hard to believe that such an organization exists in reality.

This is the stuff of films and even as I write this, I feel like I was dating some kind of fucked up cliché. He was Italian, from NY, flush with cash, and he had Tony. And I had to extract myself from his world immediately with my unborn child intact.

I don’t know why I couldn’t abort it, and I hated referring to it as an “it” because I knew there was something much more substantial there. When I considered the life growing inside of me, my world went still. Of course I knew that I had done this to myself. This life inside of me was just a casualty of my indulgences. I had unprotected sex. Repeatedly. It was just a matter of time and I knew it. Still, I played the risk anyway as if I was invincible. So here I was: 16 and pregnant.

Now what? I had a lot of figuring out to do.

“It’s not yours, Jimmy. ” I said.

“How do you know that?” He demanded.

I’d practiced this for hours in my head.

“Think about it. We’ve been together just this past month. I’ve been pregnant longer than a month, otherwise the test would not show a positive this soon.” I took a breath. “I didn’t realize I’d missed my cycle already.” I let out the breath in a slow and steady exhale and waited.

“Really?” He sounded hopeful. And if I wasn’t mistaken, relieved.

“Really.” I said, feeling more confident.

“Halay-fucking-llujah! That is great fucking news!!” He laughed.

“I’m going to keep it, Jimmy.” I said with certainty.

“That’s fine with me. It’s not my fucking problem. Do whatever you want.” He was jovial.

I was relieved and irritated.

“Obviously we’re done. Not gonna sleep with a pregnant girl. Sorry babe.”

Such a fucking douchebag. What the hell was I thinking?

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