I was laying on the bed, my top bunk in my dorm room, staring at my stomach.

It was growing, daily.  I was in awe of how it was expanding, the magic of how my body knew just what to do despite the ignorance of the girl inhabiting it.  No one living outside of my dorm room could really see it yet, but I was already outside of my comfortable jeans and into the elastic waistband pants my mother’s friend Janice loaned me from the early part of her pregnancy a few years back.  These clothes were just larger versions of regular clothes, not maternity ones, and coupled with big T shirts and sweaters on cooler days, I was getting along.

With just about everyone, I pretended that nothing was different.  I never talked about my pregnancy with those people I knew casually from my teaching classes.  My friend Karen knew, of course.  Now that Joe wasn’t speaking to me, she was the only person I had left to confide in about my hopes and fears for the next few months of my life.   She reported to me that her parents thought I was crazy and that I was going to ruin my life by having and keeping my child, though, so I held back the most secret of my thoughts to play only inside my head.

But here, alone, in my room with no one around to see my face and read my thoughts, I felt like I could let my mind go where it rarely did.  I put my hands on my belly and felt the hardness.  I pulled up my shirt so that I could see the slight rise of the skin where it had been flat before.  I wondered about the baby inside; would it look like me or Joe?  Would it have my nose, his eyes, his hair color, my short stature?  Was it a boy or girl?

I fantasized about the day it would be born, in the late summer, just before school went back in.  I hoped by then Joe and I would be reconciled again.  So far, though, his promise was holding up; he’d seen me going up to the cafeteria the other day and walked right past me without a word.  I couldn’t muster the courage to pick up the phone and dial his room; I didn’t know what to say.  But I was sure that Joe was the kind of man who wouldn’t let his child be born without fixing us.  When I looked forward to that warm day in August, I saw him at my bedside, smiling at the child cradled in my arms, giving me a sweet kiss on the forehead and telling me that he loved us both.

All of a sudden, I felt movement underneath my hands.  The baby was moving inside of me.  I could feel it.  I could feel the baby.

And in my room, all alone on the top bunk in a college dorm room, I smiled.  How could I be this happy about something that was so completely messed up?  But I was.  I smiled, and told the unknown stranger sharing my space that I couldn’t wait for what came next.


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