No way. NO way. NO WAY. This couldn't be happening to me.
I sat in the doctor's office parking lot. I was frozen at the wheel of my car—my hands shaking on ten and two. I tried to cry, but no tears would come out.
"I'm pregnant." I whispered into the air. The words sat dry across my lips. Here I was, three weeks pregnant with a baby fathered by a guy I knew for all of ten minutes. This morning I denied having sex with the guy, how was I supposed to tell him I was pregnant with his child?
I took a long, deep breath and stared out the passenger window, trying to get into a better place. Outside a father lifted his four children, all girls, out of their car. He planted a kiss on each of their foreheads before exchanging one with his wife. That was the kind of family I had always envisioned when I was younger—a loving set of parents and children who were just as great.
Finally, I got the courage to start the car and step on the gas pedal. I headed down the street, not knowing where I was going.
You've got to tell Michael, the little voice in my head told me. I tried to push the thought out, but it wouldn't leave. That's when the tears came. They started off as tiny ones, trickling down my face. Very quickly they escalated into full-frontal tears that would not—could not—stop.
Suddenly, I found myself stopping the car and running down the street. I ran as fast as my feet could take me-passing awestruck people and more shops than I could count. I was trying to run off my troubles. At that moment I was hoping, if I ran fast enough, I wouldn't be pregnant anymore.
After what seemed like an eternity, I again found myself doing something that shocked me. I—a 23 year old, sophisticated woman—ended up walking into the park, a place where a lot of my childhood was spent. I passed the see-saw—on which I broke my arm when I was 9; the merry-go-round with its chipping purple paint; the tree my friend Donna had carved the initials EF&DP into when she was 6. Finally, I made my way to the old wooden playground. I climbed the few steps to the top and stood there-staring out on the empty park.
I found myself thinking, whatever happened to me back then?
~~~ . . . ~~~
"Breathe, Brooke, breath," I told myself. I had just pulled into the Forman's driveway, deciding when to get out of the car to tell Michael I was pregnant.
Just go tell him, you'll be out of there in no time. I emerged from my car, wiping my face on my jacket sleeve, giving in to the voice in my head for the first time that day.
Maybe he won't be there, I thought to myself. It could happen, after all this wasn't Michael's house. He could be with another girl. This thought I didn't listen to. But that was just the problem: he probably was. It was then that I saw Michael dart across the yard and run into the basement, clearly not noticing me. I breathed a sigh of relief, which caused me to become even more scared.
I descended down the outside steps, taking a breath as I reached each one and pushing one thought after another away, watching as each one returned. I reached the last step and braced myself. I could hear the sounds of Michael fighting with his friends about whether he had sex with me or not. I found myself thinking how I was ever attracted to him for what seemed to be, and probably was, the hundredth time that day.
There's no turning back now. This time the words came from both my thoughts and the voice that never seemed to go away. I turned the doorknob and stepped into the room, stopping the conversation. "Michael, I need to talk to you," I blurted the words out while trying to act calm.
Even though he seemed normal on the outside, I could tell that Michael was angry as he said, "Yeah… 'bout what?"
I only had a few seconds to prepare myself; I knew Michael was going to be extremely happy after what I said. "About our night together at the Molly Hatchet concert."
Michael gave a sly smile. I could see his friends looking at each other, thinking about how they were wrong all along.
Michael put his pointer finger up, saying, "Excuse me." He walked over to Fez, pointed at him and said, "Burn!" He walked behind the couch, pointing and burning Eric and Donna; in turn burning Jackie and Hyde as well. Michael ran up the stairs and I could hear the faint sound of him yelling, "Burn!" to both of the Formans. He came down the outside steps and back inside holding his hands out in a dramatic pause and gave a final, "Burn." Excitedly, he announced, "We totally did it!"
Even though I didn't look it, I was terrified when Michael turned back around to me. It's now or never, the voice told me once more. I breathed. "Michael, I just found out I'm pregnant."
I felt like the whole world was spinning around me after the words were said. Around us, Donna and Jackie put their hands over their mouths; Hyde left his wide open; and Fez and Eric tried to come to terms with what had just happened. All were clearly stunned.
Michael turned back to his friends and waved his hands in front of him. "I never touched her!" I watched as he sat down in the lawn chair.
I could feel my face burning, my heart pounding, my body wanting to yell at the father of my illegitimate child. For a few minutes, I stood in the midst of it all: Michael contemplating what happened, the still very shocked faces of the other five people, and the troubles of the world in general. Finally, it got to me. I burst into tears, right in the middle of the mess. I raced up the stairs and back to my car.