My daily jogs had recently slowed to, at best, brisk walks. I’m not even halfway through this pregnancy and I already feel like a blob 24/7. God, what the hell am I gonna look like once it’s all over?
The research into what actually happens during birth I did was scary enough. And I don’t even get to keep the kid at the end of it all…
I pinched my thigh. More flesh than usual. Great, I thought, now you’re a fat loser bitch who doesn’t have the guts to raise her own kid.
Not that I could ever do that right. I’d thought through everything a million times and I always arrived at the conclusion that Lela and Darren would do this hell of a lot better than me.
“No way!” I heard someone exclaim. Was that directed at me?
The speaker’s messy blonde hair and wide, sly smirk came into view. My heart sank because fuck, it’s Dianne. I haven’t seen her for two and a half years…I’d rather not think about that. So fucking embarrassing. Nausea swirled in my belly and I stared at the floor. Please don’t see me, please don’t see me, except she clearly already had, so my inner pleas just made me an idiot.
“Well, isn’t this interesting?” Dianne laughed and gestured at me. “I would say ‘this must be why you were avoiding all of us’ except you’ve been doing that for years now, so…”
“I was at Clarissa’s fifty-third…and that was ten months ago…” I attempted to chuckle about that realisation, but my jaw was so tense I could barely get a sound out.
Dianne shrugged. “I wasn’t there. Clarissa’s a bitch so I didn’t bother. But now I think about it, Mom did mention you were there…y’know, I don’t even know…I mean, it’s you. I just-” She cast her eyes away from me.
I folded my hands and began to step away from her.
“Hang on.” She followed me. “This is just a guess but I think you have a lot on your plate with…this.” She indicated my stomach. “I mean…if you ever need anything, you can talk to me? OK?”
My first thought was that it would be nice…to have someone. I didn’t realise I’d be so lonely while pregnant; it’s been me, and occasionally Alexis. She must hate living with me by now…it’s been forever. And who wants a pregnant roommate?
“Sarai?” Dianne tapped my shoulder and raised an eyebrow.
I let out a tiny ‘sure’ and gave her my number.
There was an awkward silence.
“Well…I’m going that way.” Dianne pointed in the direction she was facing. “Uh…see you around?”
Oh for fuck’s sake, she’s just giving you pity. And you don’t even deserve that! Shame burned in my chest. A cousin who doesn’t even like me, who I don’t even know, is trying to be nice to me. Am I that fucking pathetic?
A text came through. Dianne, sending me her own number.
There were so many things I thought of saying to her.
Maybe I’m sorry I’ve been such a bitch to you, all these years, you never deserved that. Or don’t bother with me, it’s no point. Or can we talk? I could use that last one. No-one but Kobe even knows I’m giving the baby up for adoption, and I don’t exactly want to have a heart-to-heart with him.
What’s the point of unloading all this shit onto Dianne? I’m a shitty cousin and a shitty friend. I’ve ruined every relationship I’ve ever had and it’s my fault. Though I could really use someone to talk to, but how is that an excuse to force someone to hang out with me? A someone who I’ve always been awful to…someone who approached me out of pure pity, because I’m pathetic. Better for everyone if I just deal with all this shit by myself. Well, everyone except me.
Fuck you, who cares, you deserve that, I said to myself.
I put my phone away.
The doctor came back into the room. “Would you like to know the sex?”
Lela and Darren had said they did, so I nodded.
“Well, Ms Hayes, you’re having a boy! Congratulations!”
Before I could stop myself, I conjured up a scene, yet another fucking fantasy of me and my baby that would never come true. Technically, once I signed over my rights and the three days was up, the baby isn’t mine, can’t ever be mine, and I don’t have anything to do with it…or him...ever again.
“Thank you, Doctor.” I said as I left the room. My mouth was trembling slightly, and my eyes burned. I squeezed them shut to avoid any tears. Again, fucking hormones.
Lela and Darren were outside, waiting for me. They seemed so excited that it made me feel a little better…that was the upside to doing all of this…that and the fact that I won’t be around to screw up my kid like I screw up every other-
“So? Sarai?” Lela’s eyes shone and she had a wide, toothy smile on. “How is everything?”
“Baby’s healthy.” I confirmed, sinking into a nearby seat. “And the baby is also a boy.” I stepped back a little, trying to gauge their reaction.
“OK, OK.” Darren nodded slowly for a few seconds. “That’s great news!” He turned to Lela. “Lay, we’re – we’re having a son!”
Her mouth dropped open like she found that out for the first time. “My God! Yes! We’re gonna have a son!”
I felt like an interloper, intruding in this joyful moment. They were hugging and speaking rapidly and I was sitting there. Not really thinking of anything, because I didn’t want to think of…
“Nice to see you two; I’ve got to get going.”
“Oh, yes, now have a good day, get lots of rest, feel free to ask us if you need anything-” Lela gave me her usual spiel.
How could you not want to do this, when they’re so happy, and so nice…far better for him than you, you screwup…it doesn’t matter how fucking sad you are! I thought it to myself as I began to walk back to work.
I brought out my phone, which for five days now had held Dianne’s number. “You can talk to me, OK?” she’d said.
No fucking way she actually wanted that.
I texted her anyway. Nothing particularly deep at all…just three words. It’s a boy.
Maybe at some point I’d tack on and that doesn’t really matter because I’m not going to raise him.
Yeah, that was likely…