Gone in 60 Seconds

"For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are those ‘It might have been.’" – John Greenleaf Whittier

I frequently get flashbacks to my pregnancy and surrender experience. Often it is a song, a scent, a word that can send me flying back to a specific place and time at warp speed.

Sometimes the flashbacks are bitter sweet ones. Memories that make me smile and make my heart ache just a teeny bit.  Others can cause me to crumble and tremble.  And still others generate mass confusion and make no sense at all.

Lately I have been remembering the first four months of my pregnancy with my daughter. During the first four months, not a single member of my family knew of my pregnancy. Two friends knew – the gay man who offered to marry me and the male friend who offered to pay for and arrange for an abortion.

As previously stated, I had considered abortion. Said friend took me for the consultation. I could have done it if I wanted to.

I did not want to.

I wanted my daughter.

My plans, my naive utterly ridiculous eighteen year old immature brain plans, were to run away.

To where, I don’t know. I had no plan. I was merely going to get on a bus and go where it took me or better said, where it took us. My daughter and I riding off into the sunset courtesy of Greyhound?

What the hell was I thinking? 

I remember thinking I could get a job in retail or waitressing or something. I remember thinking I would find a friend and they would help me.

It was all planned. Badly, stupidly, but it was planned. I had a few hundred dollars from my retail job. I had been saving to go away to college. I calculated I could get by for a few weeks. We were going to be a team, she and I, we would take care of each other.

Eighteen year old immature brain plans.

The fly arrived into the immaturity ointment in the shape of my older sister.  I made the mistake (?) of telling her my plans, my condition, etc. I wanted her to know where I was in the event someone at home needed to contact me or find me. I wanted her to know that my running away was an okay thing and that I was not dead. I wanted her to believe that I, 18 yo pregnant, former honor student and president of student government, could be okay. I wanted her to believe that I was resourceful and I would figure it all out. I truly believed I was.

Eighteen year old immature brain plans.

My sister was shocked and horrified and terrified for me. As a nursing student, she was concerned I had not had prenatal care. As the first born child to my parents, my oldest sibling, she was terrified what would happen to me if I ran away but equally terrified if my parents found out about my pregnancy.

She agreed to keep my secrets for me.

She didn’t but it wasn’t on purpose.

She spilled the beans to my mother during one of my mothers classic bait and switch games.

My mother wanted to know something about me. Something I had alluded to (not my pregnancy) but did not share. She contacted my sister and said something benign — but baiting, and my sister spilled her guts on the pregnancy and my running away plans.

My mother, sitting at her own desk at her office, burst into tears. Not exactly the news she was expecting.

And then the walls came tumbling down.

Gone was my dream to hop on a train or some sleazy greyhound bus and birth and raise my child on my own. Gone was ability to slip away unnoticed. Gone was my ability to think and plan for myself and my child.  Gone. Gone in what was probably a little more than a sixty second phone call between my mother and my sister.

Gone.

My dreams, crazy as they were, of running away and raising my daughter were shattered the instant my mother dropped that phone receiver from her ear to her office desk.

Gone.

In a few short months my child would be gone as well.

2 Thoughts.

  1. That reminds me of my mother.
    My parents went behind my back several times to tell the CCAS to take my son from me – it is something that I found out fairly recently – and something that I cannot forgive them for.

  2. Calling up the old memories equals emo upheaval. I had $600 saved from my high school career at a Mexican restaurant take out window. Spent it all to put a new engine in her father’s vw van, which we were living in. When I was 5 months along he dropped me off at my folks place, unannounced. Got a piece work job sewing swim suits and hid my new shape for a month. Was it the maternity dresses I designed or the frequent vomiting that gave me away??? Then I went away. My “plans” were like scraps of cloth blown away.

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