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The Eclectic Pen - the choice

By: Terry J.   + 8 more  
Date Submitted: 11/2/2007
Genre: Literature & Fiction » Women's Fiction
Words: 4,760


another still in progress

The Choice

Introduction: I thought for a long time that I was in love. I though for a longer time that I would be one of those mothers who tells their children stories about highschool with a smile. I thought for what seemed like a lifetime that I’d be a grandma with stories about falling in love, and marrying my highschool sweetheart. I would have sworn that I’d be a big sister who my little sister would cherish and look up too. That’s what I thought. That’s not how it happened.

One Year Earlier
1. July seventh. Fireworks. Loving. “Shake Your Money Maker,” was playing on the radio. I should have been smarter, but the music had me the second my boyfriend led me into his bedroom, and summer fever had spread over me. Mr. and Mrs. Holland were away for the week. It was just us. Just me, him, and the music, loud and booming out across my mind. My boyfriend took my hand and I sat down next to him on his bed. Rose petals were all around me. He smiled and told me how beautiful I was, and to this day I trust nobody who says that to me in the tone he used. He said he loved me, too, a million times over, but I no longer believe in those words either, not like I used to. But now doesn’t matter, because when I was sitting with him on his bed, with Ludacris and Pharrel shouting out sexy lyrics, love was real and true and alive. And at that moment, my boyfriend was everything, and his love was my whole world. I trusted him and loved him back with all I had. I felt like I imagine the sun feels- hotter than anything, and perfect in all the beauty it has to hold. My boyfriend said he loved me again, told me to “bring it, baby Tray,” and I’ll never ever forget the kiss we shared after that. It was long, slow, and deeper than any kiss we’d ever shared. He grabbed the back of my head, caressing my head and curly, bouncing hair. I moved closer to him, not thinking about anything but him and me and the music. He leaned me onto my back and gently held my arms down and he kissed me deeper, and harder this time. I could hardly breathe . . .

“Tracey, are you with us today? Tracey LaKona Hudson, I never.” I looked up, “Huh?” The whole entire class began to laugh, except for my best friend Amanda. She looked at me, worried. “Sorry, Mrs. Hart.” Mrs. Hart, my eleventh grade writing teacher shook her head, “I was asking about number five?” I looked at my blank homework paper, and heard Amanda whisper to me the correct answer. I smiled, “Robert Frost- ‘The Road Not Taken.’” Mrs. Hart nodded, “Correct. Mr. Lee, number six, poetic reference to . . .” I tuned out Mrs. Hart and nodded at Amanda Jordan Gray, “Thanks.” “Are you sure you’re all right, Tray? You’d tell me if you weren’t, right?” I didn’t want to lie to her. “Yeah, sure, girl.” I didn’t want not to lie to her. Because I was fine. Nothing was wrong. It couldn’t be. “Okay. Here, copy these problems. You were out of it, girl.” “Thanks for that,” I said. Five minutes later, the bell for lunchtime rang, making me jump.
I wasn’t in the mood for lunch. I hated meatloaf, and I didn’t want to risk seeing Damon Holland again. Never again, in fact. I didn’t care if I had to skip lunch everyday. I wouldn’t talk to him. I wouldn’t look at him. Yet there he was, ten steps away, and all I wanted to do was feel his body against mine once more, just like it was the night a whole entire two months ago. Why did that night have to end? Why couldn’t Damon just love me again? We were good together. I was so in love. But I couldn’t tell him. He would hate me. But that night was so good. How could he have forgotten me so soon? Whenever I thought of that night, it was as if I were remembering somebody else, a character in a movie or book. It was as if Damon was a full time star character, and I was the one-second appearance who died in the end, only nobody knew I because I was so unimportant to the story line. I wouldn’t see Damon anymore. I couldn’t see him. I was scared he would be too much to resist, and I couldn’t risk that. I couldn’t risk being part of another scene, with another plot and theme. I had no way out without passing him close by. “Mandy? Let’s go back to homeroom. I forgot my money.” “We paid yesterday.” “I forgot my purse, I mean.” “You didn’t bring it.” “Amanda,” “Tray, what’s going on? Is it Damon? Did you guys have a fight?” “No. It’s nothing. I just thought I forgot my purse in the room.” “Oh.” I sighed, “Mandy, come on, don’t,” “Shut you out?” Amanda sure could pack a punch, “Hey.” “Whatever. Go to homeroom. Mr. Chimes is in the lounge, so he won’t mind. I’ll bring back two salads, so we’ll eat there.” “Thank you, Mandy.” “Whatever.” I went to homeroom, and thought back to that night, making sure it was real, that I wasn’t just flipping out for nothing . . . hoping the movie or book would end with something along the lines of “happily ever after”.

I was breathing in shaky, uneven breaths, just like Damon Marshall Holland. I thought about his name and how I loved that his name was Holland and he was from Holland, Michigan. That was part of what made me meet him. In ninth grade, two years ago, when I found out he had moved here to Boston, Massachusetts, from Holland, Michigan, I told him I loved his name. He said thanks, and three months later we were inseparable. But we’d never been this close. He’d never been this much on me, I’d never been this much under him, we’d never been this much kissing each other, like the world was ending any second now. “Oh, Damon,” I said under my breath. I should have known what he was doing the minute he told me to “shut up and get going,” but I wanted him. I thought I needed him. I felt his warm breath speed up as much as mine and my heart as he lifted up my shirt and touched my stomach, then lifted my shirt completely off of me, making sure I laid back down gently, without knocking my head on the headboard. I moved down, and pulled off his shirt a lot quicker than he’d pulled off mine. I was just in love with him. This wasn’t my first time, nor was it his, but it was our first time together, and my first time unprotected. That moment, we were one. His lips never left mine and his hands lingered over my just barely covered breasts while he pinned me down under him, telling me to “let me look at you for a minute, beautiful baby Tray.” He moved his hands down to my jeans, letting me move again, and we unbuttoned each other’s jeans at the same time, eager for more . . .

I looked up from my shoes when I heard the door handle turn. I was thinking up excuses to why I was in Mr. Chimes’ room, but Amanda walked in. “Oh, shit, girl. You had me scared.” I said. Amanda smiled, “Same here.” She handed me a plate of salad, almost identical to hers except that she had olives and I only had tomatoes and cheese. That was about the only difference between Amanda and me- she loves olives, and I hate them. Oh, and the small fact that I thought I might be pregnant, alone, scared, hurt, confused, stupid . . . and she wasn’t. I smiled, taking the plate of food, and said, “Thanks. So, hey, . . .” “Do you want to tell me what’s up?” “Amanda, I told you. I’m fine.” “No. No you’re not. I mean, I’m trying to say it’s just that you’re cramming for tests, but you never do this. You never get nervous from tests. I know this is the beginning of junior year, but this isn’t unlike freshman or sophomore years except for new class rooms. Is it Damon? Did you two break up? I get it, breaking up sucks, but . . . I’m worried about you, Tray. You never wallow.” I frowned, “I’m just nervous. We are seniors in a year, Amanda. It used to seem like we had all this time, but we don’t. We’ll get to the senior point, Mandy. Then we’re out.” “The world is waiting.” “What if it doesn’t? What if there is no welcome? What if the world is just that . . . the world?” Amanda Grey shrugged, “I don’t know. That’s a year off. But . . . you have to eat. So, eat. And stop scaring me with future talk.” I laughed, though for some reason the future didn’t seem too far off, nor did it seem so forgiving or funny. “Okay. I am okay, Mandy.” Amanda tilted her head, “For now.” Mandy had a way of asking questions without asking them. But I knew she didn’t mean this as a question. Still, I answered, “Yeah, for now.” It was all I could say without lying to her after all. It was a neutral thing to say. “Are you sick? You lost a lot of weight. Gained some back, though. I guess that’s good, but . . . But?” “I’m fine.” I had to be.

If I was pregnant . . . it has crossed my mind a million times over to keep the baby a secret. To get an abortion. But those are expensive. I worked all summer. I am working a part time job now, as a bagger at the Save Way. Still, I can not even afford to take a foot off this thing, and if I could, I think the cut off line was a few weeks ago. Abortion will not work. I would hate myself. But it was my best option, no matter how horrid. I thought, too, about killing myself. Being one of those sad, depressed suicide victims whose family only finds out the real cause of the killing months too late. I thought about adoption. But then people would know. Why go through so much pain and humility, only to give the baby away? So that’s why I faced my fear that July seventh was real. Because, if it was real, I was keeping the leftover, or putting it away before the world found out. I just hadn’t decided which yet.

When I got home that night, my doctor, Ruth G. Morris, called to deliver the “good” news. I really was pregnant. Two and two weeks. Almost three months. I wasn’t past the abortion cut off. I could still have one. I could . . . Or I could keep it. The leftover. I could be secret, if I wanted, too, and have a miscarriage on purpose. Or I could love it. Only it wasn’t me who answered the phone. It was the only mom I ever had, Aunt Willow, and my uncle, John Morris. And that was very bad for me and it.
“How could you let this happen? How could you? You stupid little girl ” “Auntie, I,” “Get the hell out of this house ” John Morris yelled. I shook my head, “Please. Auntie, please, I’m sor,” “Go. Now ” I could tell John Morris would have hit me if I don’t get moving. I wouldn’t have minded losing it, the baby, but I sure as hell wouldn’t let John Morris be my happy ending. I hugged Auntie, even though she pushed me away. I gave John Morris the finger. I packed my clothes into my bag. I left. I took it with me, because I had to.

Damon’s jeans were off, as were mine. I allowed his hands to linger, and I moved my fingers to his chest, feeling him. The hot July heat was shining through the half open window. His breath was harder now, and his body was making mine burn. He was all the way inside of me, and it hurt more than I thought it was going to. He yelled, “You don’t do any better than this and I’m leaving. Now get closer. Move, move.” I moved toward him even more than I already was, wondering why he was yelling. His hand moved to my collar bone, and his eyes danced on my bare breasts. He looked over me for a while, then pulled off the last piece of clothing I hand left on, a hair tie. I was naked. He was naked too. I took in his whole self, and he kissed all of me. I grabbed him and he grabbed me. I screamed, and he about stopped breathing, constantly moving. I called out his name, and he whispered mine, soft and slow. We went on and on, unprotected, but believing it was fine because we were too young and ignorant not to. And then we gradually came to an end, and he laughed and said, “Thought you were better than that, baby Tray.” He pushed me back down and we did it again and again, until he was satisfied. Then we got dressed and he told me to go ahead and go home.
He never talked to me again. I waved at him to get his attention many times. I called his name. I stood in front of him in the hallway, jumping like a wild ape. He never even looked.

I picked up my cell phone and dialed his number. “Huh?” “Damon? It’s me. It’s Tracey. Tracey Hudson.” It was almost midnight. “Bitch, we over. Don’t be calling me.” I was crying, “Damon, please, wait. I’m . . .” “What? What the hell you want? Huh, Tracey? Bitch, answer me ” Who was he? He wasn’t the Damon I had loved. This wasn’t my Damon Holland. I took a deep breath and said, “Damon, I’m pregnant. We’re pregnant.” The last thing I ever heard Damon Holland say that night I called him was this, “Bitch, that ain’t mine. You ain’t mine.” He hung up the phone. I kept mine on and cried, listening to my Aunt Willow yell at me to leave, my uncle groaning that Auntie had even let me in the house again to use his own phone, and my sisters cry, and a recording on the phone telling me the other party hung up, as if I didn’t already know.

“Is Amanda home?” I was on her front steps. Her dad and she were asleep. Her mom wasn’t. “Tray? Hi. It’s like two in the morning? What happened? What’s wrong?” I had a bruise on my face because my uncle slapped me. Hard. But he didn’t touch my stomach. I wasn’t sure yet how to feel about that. I looked away from Mrs. Gray and said, “I need a new home.” “What?” “I’m having a baby. I’m having a baby. I need to talk to Amanda, please.” “A baby? By mail?” “Look,” “I’m sorry, but . . . you’re throwing your whole damned life away for a baby? You can’t raise a baby. Dammit, you stupid girl. You stupid Oh my God. Get a damn abortion.” “My auntie and uncle said that, and they kicked me out. My sisters Cherry and Kiesha won’t even look at me.“ ”So?” “So, please, can I stay here? I don’t have a home, Mrs. Gray. I’m sixteen, I know, but . . . I need to tell Amanda I’m having a baby. Can’t you just tell me it’s okay right now? Can’t I just talk to Amanda? I don’t have any place to go, or, “You’re right, Tracey,” Mrs. Gray said, “You and . . . your mistake . . . don’t.” She slammed the door in my face.

I walked to the park, and slept on a wet, stone bench, thinking of where to go from there. Truth is, I did not know.

The next day I wasn’t sure what to do. I thought I would go back to school, act as if nothing had happened. But Amanda and Damon were there. I couldn’t face them. What if Amanda’s mom had told Amanda, and Amanda had tried to talk to Damon? What if Damon got even more mad, and turned into even a bigger jerk? What if someone overheard and told the whole school, and everyone knew I was two months and two weeks and five days pregnant? I had too many “what ifs” to go to school with. So I went back to sleep on the park bench until a little boy with red hair woke me up. “Are you okay, lady?” He asked. “Oh, um, yeah. Sorry.” His mom was walking up to him, probably to see what hobo he was talking with. “Oh my.” She said, when she saw me. I guessed she had me labeled as a hurt girl, young and innocent, and alone. She would have guessed right, except for the young and innocent part. “Um, sorry.” I said to her, standing up. I rubbed my eyes, and reached for my jacket. It was gone. Some bum must have stolen it. “Are you okay, honey? Do you need a ride to school? Or home?” She was shaking her head. Her eyes looked sad and bewildered. I didn’t want her pity. Or her help. Or her, for that matter. “No. I’m fine. Sorry. I didn’t know it was so late.” “Why are you sleeping in the park?” The little boy asked. His mom said sternly, “Parker, please. Go play with your sister.” Parker ran off and got onto a seesaw with another little red head, with curls so big ii wondered how her tiny body held them all up without falling down. The mom looked at me again, with new eyes this time, “Are you sure? I could take you to a shelter . . .” I laughed, “I’m not homeless.” I said, than I remembered I was. But I had to lie now, I’d already started, so I said to her, “I’m just late for Spanish class.” The mom wasn’t sure. Suddenly I felt my stomach turn inside out. I could hardly breath. I felt like I would pass out. The mom suddenly looked at my face, her eyes changing, and opened her mouth. “Ahh,” I said, cutting her off, and running over to a bush at the end of the road leading to the park entrance. It was there that I threw up all over the place, with Parker’s mom holding up my hair. “Oh, you poor thing. You’re pregnant ” I shook my head, throwing up still. I felt like I was puking my whole stomach up. Finally, the sickness was over. Morning sickness, grown ups called it. It the fifth time I had gotten it since I’d been pregnant. “I’m not. The flu, is all.” The mom shook her head then, “Honey, I know pregnant when I see it.” I looked down, “Listen,” “I know it’s scary. I was only twenty with my first. But it gets better.” “Did you get married? With you first, I mean.” The mom nodded, “I was lucky. My guess is your not?” I shook my head. I turned around. I ran away from Parker’s mom.

I couldn’t believe I was pregnant. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. I was getting fatter. My stomach had a bump now. I was pregnant. Almost eleven weeks pregnant. How could I have been so stupid? How could I have loved Damon? Why did I still long for him? Still love him and his body? How could I have listened to him when he told me to get back in bed? Why hadn’t I just taken the pill? Stopped? Left? Screamed? Said no? Anything else that a smart girl would have done? So many of those thoughts crossed my mind. I marked myself an idiot, a stupid little girl. A girl who could not be trusted to keep a steady boyfriend, or even find one who truly loved her. I had been with Damon and he had been fake. He hadn’t loved me. I wasn’t worth anything to him. No, I had been stupid and ignorant, like some trashy slut would be. I slept numerous times in one night with a person who didn’t love me. I had gotten pregnant on July seventh, two thousand eight. I would be as good as dead when the baby came, which, if I was right, would be sometime in April of two thousand nine. April. God, by end of my junior year, I will have had a baby all ready. Maybe. There was still abortion. If I wanted it bad enough. No one would ever have to know, other than Damon and maybe Amanda, and her mom, obviously. If I ended it now, I could stop whatever rumors could have started. There didn’t have to be a baby. But really. How could I forgive myself for killing it? I wasn’t a little girl. I was sixteen. I knew where babies came from. And I knew they were real. This thing inside me now was a real live human. How could I have an abortion? It was not like I could pay for it. But maybe Mandy’s mom would help. She didn’t want this baby either. And Damon, he would give me any amount of cabbage in the world to get rid of me and his child. Just maybe, this would work. What did it matter if I hated me or not? Didn’t I hate me already for getting into this?

2. I was on Damon Holland’s porch by eight the next morning. It was Sunday. He would be dressed up nice, in a suit and tie even, maybe with black, shiny shoes. His hair would be in tight braids. He would look so nice. So I had made sure I looked nice too. I had on my pinstripe capris, and a low cut Henley long sleeved shirt, with an undershirt layered underneath. The pants were black and white. My shirt was green and black. I had on white, retro beads. I had a sparkle diamond pair of earrings. My shoes were black high heals, the expensive ones I had borrowed from Amanda last year and never returned. I looked good. I did. I took a deep breath, placing my hand subconsciously on my stomach’s new pouch of baby fat. Get it? Baby fat? It was a pregnant joke. A tall woman with fat arms and skinny legs answered the door. Mrs. Holland. Tina Holland. Born and raised in Belgian, moved to the U.S. when she was twenty seven. Had Damon when she was thrity two. Mrs. Holland looked at me, but, to my bewilderment, smiled. “Dear, hello. We been missing you. Come on in, dear. I get Damon.” She didn’t know. He hadn’t even told her. “Okay. Thanks.” I say, standing in the living room. Mr. Holland is at work. Roger always works. He is from Indiana. I always wished Roger was my dad. I hoped he didn’t know, either. Damon came running downstairs. Mrs. Holland must not have told him it was me. He stopped short when he saw me. He turned around. “Damon, wait ” “What do want, bitch?” I did not flinch. Mrs. Holland looked worried. She left to the kitchen. “Not what you think. I’m not asking you to do something you don’t want to do. Can we just talk?” He shook his head. “Please? This can go away. We are going to talk.” He walked over to me. He tried to slap me, but I ducked. “Get up ” He yelled. He pulled my braid, his free hand on my butt, and I yelled, “Stop You ass ” He laughed. “Yeah, baby. Follow me.” He kept my braid, walking me to the outside porch in back. I didn’t fight with him. I didn’t need a miscarriage. I would not go out like that. He turned me around, “You looking good, bitch. For a slut, I mean.” He grabbed my butt, and I couldn’t get loose. He touched my breast, rubbing against me. I struggled for air. Finally, he let me go, only because he heard Mrs. Holland’s footsteps getting too close for comfort. How could I have loved Damon? How? Did he even ever once truly love me? Once is all those years? How could I have passed him as someone good? He was a sick pervert, nothing more. “What do want?” He asked me once we were further outside. “I’m having a baby. And yes, the thing is yours. You know that.” He didn’t say anything. I was not sure if he was even hearing me. Suddenly, I wanted to scare him. I wanted him to cry for his mommy. The truth was no matter, now. I was going to lie like a dog. But I could not. I needed him to think I loved him. If he thought that, even a little, he’d listen to me. For a few nights in bed, he would listen. Hell, I would let him rape me if it got me the money. I would let him do anything to make this go away. “Look, I’m not a fan of killing babies. But if we need this to go away for our lives to be fine, okay. We can make that happen. We, not me.” “We aren’t gonna be fine.” “This can go away, baby, we,” “Shut up Dammit, shut up, and get out of my life, Tracey. There is no we ” I shook my head, “Why? What happened to us? To you? I loved you.” I almost gagged. “I’m with Carly.” I forgot about my game plan. Screw him and his damned dignity. “You down me, and get with her. You bastard Whether or not you care, you’re life is gonna change You can kill it, me, anything you want, you’re life will still change. This is your baby ” He did flinch. “Don’t give me any money, then. Forget a damned abortion. I’ll raise your baby on my fucking own. You and precious Carly won’t have to deal with your baby that way. Okay, Mr. Daddy-To-Be?” I don’t know if I meant it or not. If I meant what I said about forgetting abortion. He slapped me then. We yelled. We screamed. We slapped. “Here. Leave. And don’t come back to school all fat and gross. Get rid of it.” Damon said, handing me a bill. I screamed at the lousy twenty dollar bill in my hand. I gave him back his money, and didn’t say anything. I walked to the park. I slept on a dry bench until night time. How was I ever going to rasie this baby? Why had I changed my mind about abortion? Had I changed my mind about abortion? And if I had, what now?
There was still Amanda. I needed Amanda.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Terry J.

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Comments 1 to 3 of 3
katzpawz - 11/6/2007 5:33 AM ET
Terry, you write with real grit! I could feel every ounce of the pain she was feeling. Please keep writing, you have a good "voice"!
Marta J. (booksnob) - 11/6/2007 3:21 PM ET
Keep going. I really need to know what happens.
Terry J. - 11/8/2007 6:05 PM ET
thank you for your comments . . i am almost through with the next few chapters and will post ASAP
Comments 1 to 3 of 3