In this day and age, in 1974, nothing good comes out of being a girl. And a pregnant girl? You’re fucked.
Oh, yeah. 98.4 percent fucked. In each way of the word. A boy I think I love might be the father, or maybe the boy who loved my body the night I loved tequila is. What a nebulous thought the two are.
When you come from a house of God, but wind up pregnant, there’s a chance your parents are going to think you’re carrying Satan’s child. I’m not kidding. It worsened the moment she insisted taking me to the church for the opinion of a 60-year-old virgin. Father Noah is one of those men who say “the only blowing I receive, is the blowing of my mind.”
I see my little brother Dino playing with the other children of God and think about how my baby will be closer in age to him than I am. That doesn’t make me feel better.
Typical churchgoers see Sunday as God’s day, but in my holy house, it’s every day, and in my holy panties, it’s never.
“Oh, Father,” Mom says and removes the tissue from her nose, “please tell me she is forgiven.”
I roll my eyes and play the drums on my lower abdomen, as I ransack my mind to truly figure out who the father is. Aren’t there DNA tests or something? Maybe it’s Peter. Our relationship ended, but the sex didn’t. I think to the parties I’ve been to recently, but I can’t even recall what I wore, let alone who might’ve impregnated me.
“Honey, don’t do that. You might anger him,” Mom orders and puts her hand over mine.
A loud grunt echoes from me, as I throw my head back. “Ugh! For the last time: I’m not pregnant with Satan’s baby!”
“Then whose baby is it?” Dad asks, and Father Virgin echoes the question.
“For the tenth time, I don’t know!” I wail. “But I do know I didn’t get drunk with Satan and fuck him on the bench of Dino’s school.”
Mom gasps. “You watch your language!”
Father Noah rests his elbows on the desk. “You know, Laurie. It is a sin to drink alcohol and have sex before marriage.”
My brow raises. He might have been handsome as a young fellow, but now he is old and wrinkly. There’s no ring on his finger, and divorce is a sin, so he’s never been married. “You know, Noah, masturbation is a sin, too.”
“Laurie please,” Dad begs.
“Have you ever touched yourself, Father?”
“Laurie!” Mom shouts.
I slam my hands on the armrests of the seat. No one here is going to tell me who the father is, and Father Noah surely cannot tell me if the child is Satan’s, because I’m pretty sure Satan is a woman. “That’s it. Me and the spawn of Laurie St. James are getting an ice cream cone.”
“Sit down,” Dad demands.
“And Mom,” I continue, “I think I saw the candles flare up when I walked through the door.”
She clutches her cross necklace as I leave the office.
“Dino-saur,” I call and pull my younger brother from these spawns of God who probably torch gays with their parents in their spare time.
Dino trots happily next to me. “Why was Mom crying?”
At six, Dino doesn’t understand as much as he should — courtesy of Mom and Dad.
“I’m pregnant,” I shamelessly state.
We leave the church and begin walking through the park on a warm spring afternoon. I squint and shield my eyes from the sun. We wander between the shade the trees provide, down a runway of brightness. San Francisco isn’t all bad — you can meet some pretty cool people here if you look in the right places.
A pregnant woman sits on a bench not too far from us, so I point to her. “See that woman?”
He nods. “She’s really fat.”
“I know — she’s got a baby inside of her.”
Dino’s eyes widen and almost fall out of his head, as skaters zoom past us. “A human? Inside her stomach? How is that possible?”
“Well — that’s — that’s a conversation for when you’re older. But anyway, I have one, too. It’s how we all come to be teeny, pointless humans, my little Dino. It’s called being pregnant.”
“I want my own pointless human. Can I be pregnant, too? It can do my homework for me.”
I sigh, examining the pregnant woman beside a man I’m assuming to be her husband. The wind blows strands of hair across my face. “If only it worked that way, Dino-saur. I’d be passing English.”
Something breaks my reverie. A homeless man ran up to me, splashing a liquid onto my face. The ragged man has a beard down to his chest and dirt streaked over his features. He wears layers of dark clothes despite it being fairly warm.
I blink, the strange liquid dripping down my face and soaking the front strands of my dirty blonde hair.
“Bad woman!” the man shrieks in a raspy tone. “Bad! Bad! Bad! You corrupt us! You work for the Russia! You work to kill us all! Blasphemy! Blasphemy, you woman!”
“Hm,” I huff, nodding and running my tongue across my top lip. Dino grabs my hand. “That vodka?” I ask.
The man suddenly calms. “Gin,” he says.
“I needed a drink. Thanks.”
“You’re welcome,” he replies. Then screams, “Blasphemy!” before curving around me and leaving.
People are staring, but people will be staring for the next nine months and perhaps for the rest of my life. I ignore it and reach into my pocket.
“What was that?” Dino asks.
I pull out my pack of cigarettes and shove the end of a cancer stick into my mouth and light it. “That, my little Dino,” I say, “was a sign from God.”
“What does the sign say?”
“That I am totally pregnant with Satan’s baby.”