- Art & Soul
I followed her inside, but I wasn’t ready to talk.
Mom relayed all of the information from the doctor’s appointment to Dad once we returned home. I was eleven weeks pregnant, I refused to dive into any details about James being the father, and I never wanted to hear the word abortion.
Are you going to get rid of it?
Dad brought up the word abortion five times that night. Each time I heard it, I felt a fragment of my heart breaking. Apparently his sister Molly had an abortion when she was a teenager and he said it was the best decision she ever made.
“She gave herself a life,” he argued. “Could you imagine Molly with a kid?”
No one could. Molly was what the world called a free spirit. Mom called her a slut—but that was another story involving a very strange Thanksgiving dinner two years ago at Simon’s house.
“Aria is not Molly.”
“It’s the same situation, Camila! She’s knocked up by God knows who. There’s an easy solution for this.”
Mom huffed. “Easy?”
Dad slammed his body into the living room chair and sank into it, running his hands over his head. “How could you let this happen?”
Mom’s eyes widen with horror. Mike came walking into the house just in time to hear the fighting. His football shoulder pads were still on, and he held his helmet under his left arm. “What’s going on?”
“We’re figuring out how to get rid of an issue.”
“We are not figuring that out,” Mom scolded Dad, shooting him the dirtiest look ever. I stood with my hands against my stomach. “This isn’t some kind of plumbing job you can just flush away, Adam! This is a life. Your daughter’s life.”
Dad’s eyes moved to me for the first time since the news. He stared as if he was looking through me. His brows burrowed, and he pinched the bridge of his nose before blinking and looking away. “It’s been a long day. What did you get for dinner?”
“You were supposed to pick up dinner. You knew I was taking Aria.”
He muttered, they argued, he muttered some more, they argued some more.
“I can order something,” I said.
“Forget it, Aria.” Dad sighed. He stood up from the chair. “You’ve done enough.”
“Is this going to be the norm now?” Mike asked Mom. He removed his shoulder pads. “Because if this place is just going to be yelling and shit, then I can stay at James’ house.”
The mere sound of James’ name made me want to hit something.
Are you going to get rid of it?
“Watch your attitude, Mike,” Mom said, heading for the kitchen, tugging on her ear. “Because I am really not in the mood today.”
* * *
When the pizza arrived, I took a few pieces, locked myself in my bedroom, and had my headphones blasting music from my cell phone into my ears.
If I hadn’t turned around to shut my window, I wouldn’t have seen Simon standing outside, about to tap on the window.
“Hey,” he said, giving me his ‘I really messed up and hope you forgive me, best friend’ eyes.
He nodded, but didn’t leave. I did my best to ignore him as I sat on the edge of my bed and started painting a new canvas. Abstract art fit best for my current mood.
I painted for an hour straight. My eyes shifted to the window. Simon was still standing there, with both his hands in his pockets. He looked pathetic.
“Go away!” I said it once more, colder than before.
He nodded, but didn’t leave. He wasn’t going to leave either.
I walked over to the window and pushed the screen up. Leaning out of the window, I glared at him. “You were the one person who wasn’t supposed to ruin my life.”
“I know.” He frowned. I wished he wouldn’t. Seeing his sad eyes and stupid freckles was pretty sad. “I wasn’t thinking, and honestly Ms. Givens and I were just talking and talking and for a second it felt like it was just another friend. It felt like I was talking to you.”
“Don’t play the ‘my only friends are a school librarian and a pregnant girl’ card.”
“I can’t play that card because it’s a lie. The card I’m playing right now is ‘my only friend is a pregnant girl’. It’s the only card in my deck. I am going to stand here until you forgive me, because I am so sorry. I am sorry for being stupid.”
“You can’t stand here all night,” I argued.
“Yes I can.” His bottom lip twitched before he looked at the ground. “I’ll stay all night.”
My eyes shifted to his shoes. They were muddy. It had to be driving him crazy. He noticed me staring. “Simon…”
“It doesn’t matter.” He hiccupped, trying not to allow his OCD to control him. His chest rose and fell with rapid breaths. “It’s not bad,” he said, his face was turning red. He was seconds away from exploding from his own demons.
“Okay, okay. I forgive you.”
He refused to hold eye contact with me. “I was a very shitty best friend today.”
“Shut up, climb in the window, and clean your shoes.”
“Oh thank God.” He exhaled, climbing inside. He spent the next hour cleaning his shoes and apologizing to me. It wasn’t really necessary, though, because he was the only card in my deck, too, and I couldn’t afford to be cardless.
* * *
The next day Simon stood at the bus stop still apologizing to me for his mistake.
“My God, did I tell you how perfect your hair looks today? Did you do something different?” He smiled wide. “Because it looks like you went from a solid supermodel to like a super-supermodel.”