I had been sitting outside of the doctor’s office building for two hours. The sun was setting since it’s been getting dark earlier due to the season change. We’re deep into the fall, almost at Christmas.
I lived in a studio apartment. It was cheap, quaint, fine. Then I met him at a bar. We talked, drank, danced a bit. I went home with him. You only live once and he was that high school jock who actually studied a bit and earned B grades instead of just C’s. He was nice, sweet and we slept together twice in the same night. I thought it would be a one night only deal but we exchanged numbers and he called, wanting to get to know me. Now we’ve been dating six months and I moved in with him, it turns out he has a house. Four bedrooms, two and a half baths with an attic. He said he wanted to sleep next to me and not have me leave at night or early in the morning to go freshen up before work. To see me in the morning for a ‘surprise’ or to tickle me awake. I was worried about my snoring, but he said he didn’t hear anything. Chris said that the snoring balanced out my singing during the day. It turns out it also gave me a reason to go home earlier. Something I didn’t know I needed, until I’m actually home at 5:30 or 6:00 pm on a weeknight. I was so used to going home, being alone and saying I’m fine all the time even though I feel like I’m going to break from sadness and depression. We cuddled and talked about our favorite movies, most of them Disney, laughing at each other as we sang songs from our childhood. He would touch me often, not always leading to lovemaking, but just to let me know he was there and wanted me to be there too. That he seemed to enjoy me and my body. I wondered what about he liked, I’ve always been too afraid to ask, worried that the answer would be some fetish. But thinking on it more, it didn’t matter. He treats me with respect and misses me when I work late on occasion. He greets me with a smile along with a kiss as do I.
We go out to dinner, sometimes to places that weren’t chain restaurants, something I wasn’t used to. I wasn’t used to someone getting upset on my behalf at things he he felt I was slighted on in the past. He promised to make them right. It made me joyfully confused to be thought of in such a way. To be treated with reverence, I wondered if this was how duchesses felt or princesses. I wondered if there was anything I could do to make him understand how important he was to me. I sang Disney songs from “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King,” “Mulan,” and others. Anita Baker, Queen, Panic at the Disco, Brandy, and I tried to figure out some of his favorites to sing for him.
That he cared about me despite me being a bundle of nerves who cried too often, forgets to take her medicine and eat breakfast most of the week, promises to lose weight and never does, I just coast between different shapes with scars and stretch marks and I am way too gassy. He laughs when I tell my jokes which usually only make me laugh, but chides me for poking too much fun at myself, instead covering his lips with mine, even in a restaurant when he was paying for the meal. I do cook for him, thank the Lord he has a hardy constitution. I experiment with recipes I see in Good Housekeeping and other magazines. When I’m off during the week I’m bring him leftovers or something I decided to make for him at home, he works in a construction office and shows me off, making me giggle uncontrollably at times.
I thought living together would be harder, but we’ve worked out a good rhythm. I even surprise him with new lingerie which he happily takes off of me. He’s never been rough with me, but doesn’t treat me like I’m glass either. I never did tell him that he was my first, though I think he knew somehow. We lay in bed and don’t talk after, just rest in each other’s arms. Enjoying the silence peppered with our breathing and heartbeats.
It may very well end like it has in the past. Though, to Chris’ credit, he is nothing like them. They presented their fetishes, what they liked and didn’t like about me and women in general. Meeting enough of those men had me think that I seemed to attract that type of man: judgemental, arrogant, suave but self-absorbed and that you’re lucky that I’m talking to you. Meeting Chris at the bar that night, I had decided to take myself out. First because I hadn’t been asked out in two years and even then there was no guy I remotely wanted to spend time with if I didn’t have to and second my friends and I couldn’t coordinate a meet up to help with me feeling stir crazy.
This last month and a half, I’ve noticed a change. My ankles are more swollen and I’ve had a loss of appetite. I feel more tired since I haven’t been eating as much but I make sure I eat at least dinner when we’re home together. It sometimes comes back up later. He’s concerned, but I tell him I’m fine, it might be a side effect from one of my medications. I’m a registered nurse so anything medical, he takes my word on it. It felt like a lie, I brush my teeth and take a shower. The sex feels different, not worse, just much more intense and I’m almost feel like I’m going to break him. I want more of him more often, not that I didn’t already, it felt like I was in some sort of heat.
I was sent home from work today. My boss said I hadn’t looked well the last two weeks and I need to be seen by my doctor. It didn’t help that I got dizzy at the nursing station with one of the social workers there. They mean well, but they’re very nosy. It is the nature of their job though. I tried telling her I was fine, but she’s a nurse with decades of experience under her belt. That’s why I’m here now and I’m scared out of my mind. The doctor said my blood pressure was up slightly from last time, but the swelling and appetite concerned her. She did blood work and tested my urine, I got a call from my friend.
“Girl, what’s going on? You’ve been weird. Don’t tell me that man got a case of stupid. Are you okay? Your boss told me you went home early, but I know you never go home early.”
“I’m at the doctor’s office. She told me not to come back until I’m cleared by them.”
“Epiphany, seriously, are you okay? Do you need to be picked up? Do you need me to call someone for you? Do you want me to come?”
“No, no. I’m okay. I just wanted to sit and be still. One of his tattoos says that. Inner stillness. I don’t think I’ve ever mastered that though.”
“Does he know you’re at the doctor’s? You’re going to tell him right? In relationships mean you tell people things. You’ve been with him six months now and hell, you’ve moved in with him. Epiphany, please tell me you tell him when things aren’t right…”
“It’s not going to last forever you know. I tell him some things, minor things. But I just…I just want to stay as we are. Sweet, enjoying each other. I haven’t had it before. He’s always worried about me and promising me things. I’m not supposed to be with him anyway. Just…”
“Just what? Are you deaf? You need to tell people when things are wrong with you. How else are they gonna help? And what do you mean he’s not supposed to be with you? That’s why he asked you to move in right? You deserve someone who’s good to you and if he happens to be a smart slice of beef, then that’s a bonus.”
“I did send him a text that I was going to the doctor’s office, but not why. I’ll tell him when I get home.”
“Are you safe to drive? Maybe he should pick you up or something?”
“No. He’s working. I’ll figure something out.”
I thought I dropped the phone. I looked down for it and didn’t see it, it’s not in my lap or on the sidewalk. Someone hung up my call with Santana and she called back twice only for it to be ignored twice, then a text. This is Chris. Sorry to cut you off. I’ve got her, I need to talk to her. Thanks for talking to her.
“It’s almost dark out here. Why didn’t you call me?”
“I didn’t want to bother you. I was about to come home.”
“Your text scared the hell out of me. I left work and came straight over. I know you only go to the doctor to get your refills. What did she say?”
“She said that my blood pressure is good, only up a little. She is concerned about the swelling but I’ll just put my feet up.”
“You did tell her about your vomiting, fatigue and lack of appetite right? What happened today at work?”
I look away, embarrassed. This is so embarrassing. I didn’t want him to leave work. This is just so shameful. I’m a mess, I knew I was going to mess this up. “I got dizzy at work and had to sit down a few times. The boss sent me home. I wanted to stay but she said I had to go.”
“Epiphany, what if you had passed out? You push yourself way too hard. Have you thought about what it could be?” He sat down next to me, holding my hands, clearly concerned. The top two buttons of his blue shirt were unbuttoned, exposing part of his tattoo with the quote about stillness. “Your hands are freezing! How long have you been out here?”
“Two hours. I have thought about what it could be and it can’t be. Even when we didn’t use a condom, I take my pill everyday Chris.” I laid my head on his shoulder, it might be the last time. He has a good idea of what it might be already.
“Sweetheart. That’s likely what it is. You’re late aren’t you? You haven’t used any of the small bags for your monthly visitor trash. I noticed there were more than usually when I walked Dodger this morning.” He was so perceptive. It scared her sometimes. He kissed her forehead and let go of her hands, using an arm to wrap around her shoulder.
“I’m scared…We’ve only been together six months, we just moved in the beginning of last month. You’re eight years older than me. I’m not married, I’m another statistic and I…I don’t want it to feel like I’m trapping you Chris. Lord knows I’m not, this is the worst way….” His lips touched mine, skimming my bottom lip before connecting fully. He parted from me with a stern look on his face, gripping my shoulder tighter.
“Epiphany. This isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Let’s say you are pregnant. I’m not going anywhere. I didn’t ask you to move in for fun. I want you with me. I not letting you go, I’m holding on tight so when you start to spiral I can make sure you come to a safe stop. I don’t want you think that anymore.” A kiss wet touched forehead as my eyes grew moist. His thumb whipped away the tears that ran down my cheeks. “And yes, I am eight years older than you, but that really just means if you are pregnant, I’m just that much more happy about it, because I was convinced it was never happening. Then, I met a woman in the bar who was eating mozzarella sticks by herself and I figured that she is cute therefore I will buy her a drink. Plus any woman who has the stones buzzed or not to call Dan ‘Barkeep’ over and over is a woman I should talk to if for no other reason.” His lips found their way back to my forehead before lingering on my lips, tasting them with his tongue. There was a honk from a Ford focus a recognized as his younger brother Scott’s car. I stood up to wave but did it too fast and weaved a bit with Chris hoping up to steady me. He helped me other to his Camero and made sure I was in the passenger’s seat okay. I had to fuss at him to not buckle my seatbelt for me as he got my lunch bag and work bag out of my car and put it into his. Scott drove my car and his boyfriend drove Scott’s car. We stopped at Target on the way home. I bought crackers, soup, five pregnancy tests and two boxes on entenmann’s little bites. I for in line with Scott and didn’t beg a chance to see what Chris was shopping for. Scott and his friend make sure I got inside the house safe and helped me to prop my feet up on some pillows. I thanked them both and Scott gave me a kiss on the forehead. “You know you’re already in the family right? This is the happiest we’ve seen him. He can usually be a bit more moody and anxious, but you seem to even him out Epiphany.” I smiled and nodded chuckling, “He does the same for me too.” Scott laughed and Chris turned to all three of us telling is to quiet down so I could relax. “Yes brother. You’ve done so much relaxing, that’s why she’s in the state she is in. Maybe you need to relax on your relaxing so she won’t end up with twins or triplets in there.” Scott winked and made his exit, his boyfriend followed wishing us good luck.
“I’m not an invalid and we don’t know for sure I’m pregnant. I’m going to try out one of the pregnant test. I need to know now. I can’t wait for the test results from the doctor. I won’t get any sleep.” I stated and got off the couch and I made her way to the bathroom with a test. Chris called out and said to call him if I felt faint. Urinating on the stick was tricky but turned out to be doable, sitting on the toilet and setting the stick on the back of the toilet with some toilet paper under it, I waited and stared at it. “You’re gonna do something. I drank so much water at work. It felt like I was going to burst even after the doctor’s office. I just don’t know what to do…We haven’t even had that conversation about children and marriage. This is too fast, much too fast.”
“Is it though? Because I was thinking four in four you know. That way the house will never be quiet.” Chris smiled and kneeled down in front of me on the toilet. Dodger came in whimpering and licked my knee. “Even Dodger is wondering. Before you look at the stick though, just know that not immediately when we met, but maybe the second time we made love, it may have entered my mind about having children with you. Or at the very least, getting the sense that you would be a great mother because you too wondered why Simba’s mom never looked for him after Mufasa’s death. You know she didn’t like Scar. She was not going to take him at his word.” Epiphany laid her forehead on Chris’ shoulder as she laughed hard.
“Your passion for Disney makes mine look like a fleeting dream. Thank you, I needed that, though that is such a specific criteria to base motherhood capabilities on.”
“And that’s why I hold onto you so tight. That and you’re so soft it’s fun to hug you.”
“That night I honestly thought I would never meet you again. I’ve never been so happy I was wrong. I’m also happy that…that…you…were…” I couldn’t say it. It was too embarrassing.
“Epiphany I know. You gave me something that you never gave anyone else. That’s part of the reason I treat you delicately. The most important part is that you accepted me as I am. A bro-looking guy who memorised Disney songs, sings them without abandon and tap dances with jazz hands I might add. The only thing you called me was a goofball and danced right with me. We’re going to need to work on your dancing my dear. You’ve got to be able to do more than a two step.”
“You’re stalling as much as I am right now. And I told you I suck at dancing and you had me do it anyway. I also do a mean cabbage patch.”
Chris peeked behind Epiphany hugging her an saw the result. “There’s an answer Epiphany. Did you want me to tell you?” He asked, leaning back from me to take my face in his hands and stroked my cheeks with his thumbs.
“Tell me. I need to be sure.”
“But before I do…” Epiphany shot him a dirty look, squinting her eyes at his blue ones. Humor was for earlier, not right now. “Evans, dying in a bathroom is not what you want right?” He laughed and I ended up smiling. Staying mad at him was so difficult. “Either way, you’re going to marry me. I’m not letting you go.” My eyes widened, that was out of the blue. I thought we were going to talk about it more. I started to feel dizzy. “You’re the one trying to kill me. I see it clearly now.” I shook my head and leaned in, planting a peck on his lips. “I don’t think you’ll make my bones into wind chimes though, so yes I will marry you no matter the outcome of the test. I’m not letting you go either Chris.” Chris grinned and lifted me up by grabbing my legs and carried me to the couch, kissing my neck. He set me down gently and sat next to met, putting ly legs across his thighs to prop them up. “We’re going to make preparations for a wedding and a baby. It’s gonna be a lot of work, but I know that won’t scare you off will it Epiphany?” Chris asked with a smile as he turned on the TV and started ‘The Lion King.’ I reached for his shoulder and ran my fingers down the length of his arm to his hand, taking it in mine. “No, hard work is fine by me. Especially with you and the circle of life Chris.” I giggled as the opening started, showing all the animals make their way to Pride Rock to see Simba be presented to the Kingdom.