On A Break

I was sitting across the table at a Big Boy restaurant from Mr. H.

I’d come home for my Spring Break, and called his home phone number to arrange the meeting.  He’d included it in the long letter he’d sent me a few weeks ago at school, in response to my cry for help sent a few weeks before that.  By now, everything was different than it had been when I’d first contacted him.  Worse.  Much worse.

Joe and I still lived in the same dorm, but we were finished with our winter term classes.  He wouldn’t look at me for the last few weeks after our disastrous breakup at the concert.  I pretended he wasn’t there, sitting far away from me in the lecture halls or across the room in the tiny room we shared for Honors English.  I’d played the ultimate game of running off to see if the guy would come after me, and so far, he hadn’t.  He wasn’t rethinking his anger, and I was far too proud to go crawling back to see if he’d renege on his promise to never see me (and our child growing quickly in my belly) again.

We still had spring term ahead of us.  I was hoping by June, when it would be obvious to the world what I’d hidden all winter, Joe and I would figure out some sort of way to work it all out and not throw away our nearly year long relationship.

These were the kinds of things I told Mr. H as I ordered a hamburger and fries, filling up my always ravenous appetite.   I wondered aloud, told him of the few plans I already had in place, and he looked warmly and sadly at me with the eyes of an older person who sees a younger person making a very big mistake.

“Don’t rule anything out yet, Amy.  I really think that you need to think about the long term here; I know someone who was where you are now.  I asked her about it after I got your letter.   She would like to meet with you if you want.  You know her.”

“I do?”   I racked my brains; he had to be talking about a teacher.  Which teacher had I had at school that had a kid that was impossibly old for how old the teacher was?  I couldn’t place it.

“Yes, you do.  And she told me that if she had to go back and do it all again, as awful as it sounds, she would not have the baby.  Or she would have it and adopt it out. ”

Ah, adults.  You could always count on them to see the negative, I thought.  I kept trying to look like I was at least open to his words.  “Why did she say that?”  I offered.

“Because it was hard.  And eventually, she didn’t want to be a single mother alone, so she got married.  The guy she married was not the right guy; she only married him because she was tired of being a single mother all by herself, and thought getting married would make everything easier.  And for a while it did.  But then, as it usually does, the fact that they weren’t right for each other started making everything much harder and they fought all of the time.  But by then she now has another child with this guy, and she now has lost ten more years of her life not having a real relationship with a partner who she truly loves.”

Ouch.  OK, I needed to listen to this.  But I couldn’t imagine making the same stupid choice.  I was independent, I was going to school, I wasn’t going to *need* a man to help me get through my chosen path.  I’d only choose the right man to do so, I was sure of it.

“Well, that might not be the case here.   Joe and I might work this all out and get back together.  You never know,” I sidestepped.

“You really think that is going to happen?”

I sighed.  He knew me too well.  No, I didn’t.  If I did, I wouldn’t be here now, sharing my fears with my former teacher.  I’d be sitting with Joe, figuring out what came next.


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