Two Pink Lines
FYI, any name I use in my writing is not the individual’s actual name.
I came up with a re-naming equation so complex it would make Einstein himself proud.
(Okay, not really, I just pulled up a baby name dictionary on Google, closed my eyes, and eeny-meeny-miny-moed it).
December 4, 2013.
Later that night I sat waiting for Jackson. He was… Well, at the time I wasn’t sure what he was to me. Despite my inner conscious telling me he might be trouble (not necessarily the bad kind of trouble- more like the too much fun type of trouble), I couldn’t help but see something more in his puppy dog eyes. Man, those puppy dog eyes… They had me doing all kinds of things I usually wouldn’t.
He was just what I needed, and he couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. The breakup I was going through wasn’t exactly your typical breakup. For some reason, having him around had given me a lot more strength in my current situation. I barely knew him, but I felt safe when I was with him. He had already seen first hand some of what I had been going through, and he responded to it in just the way I needed- by simply helping me take my mind off it.
One night, over our customary beer and cigarette combo on the balcony, my current situation had led our conversation into clarifying that while we both liked each other, we needed to wait for the dust to settle.
Jackson showed up at my apartment just the same as he had every night in recent history, though, I am sure it was clear things were different.
He entered into our routine by first offering me a beer, to which I kindly declined with a deer-in-the-headlights stare. He laid back and cast looks of confusion my way, though, he didn’t press me on my sudden casual-night lifestyle change. I cast a forced smile trying to amplify an appearance of “nothing to see here” back his way.
We sat and watched what seemed like an endless amount of Misfits episodes, which were only interrupted by him asking me if something was wrong.
“No” sprang out of my mouth without thought each time. It wasn’t a lie- nothing was wrong, something was just different.
It would only take two words to say I was pregnant, but at the time it seemed like Mission Impossible. Every time he reached out and asked me if something was “going on”, I tried to grab the fleeing “no” before it plummeted out of my mouth and blew up any natural segment into my revealing, “I’m pregnant” dialogue. Though, each time, I failed.
How do you tell someone who you have only known for 2 months that you are pregnant? Our time spent together had revolved around us running around town being free. That was something I hadn’t had… Ever, honestly. I wasn’t focused on building foundations, and although I couldn’t help but fall for him more and more as I got to know him, the truth was, I didn’t know him.
I didn’t know how he responded under pressure- I didn’t know how all his outlooks on the world- I didn’t know how he took his coffee.. Wait, did he even like coffee?
I didn’t know all the components that made him, and without having some idea of where the conversation was going to go after I told him, I was left sitting there speachless.
Before I knew it, I heard the front door of the apartment open. I couldn’t believe I had been sitting here long enough for my roommate to be back from a night out, and I still hadn’t been able to say more than a few meaningless words. Just as I was mentally smacking myself for being so stupid, I saw an uninvited face sneering through the crack of my bedroom door- my ex (We’ll call him Eric).
I jumped out of bed and closed the door behind me leaving Jackson enclosed within my room.
Eric had known of Jackson, and already was not fond of him or the fact Jackson being around meant him and I were really done. There had already been a few run ins, and knowing Eric, them being within the same zip code wasn’t good, let alone confined within my 900 sq. ft. apartment.
By the time I made it out of my room, my roommate was already at the front door trying to usher him out.
My ex had apparently told my roommate a Sally Sob Story about having to sleep under a bridge now that he wasn’t able to live in our apartment (Legally speaking, he wasn’t allowed at what had once been our apartment.). My roommate didn’t have the heart to leave him out in the fictitious cold, and he told him if he were to sleep on the couch and not go back towards my room, he could stay at our place.
Despite all his pinky promise swearing, Eric had intentions other than finding a place to sleep.
After a long back and forth dialogue on the A to Z's of why he needed to leave, Eric suddenly, and uncharacteristically agreed. Just as our guards had lowered watching him walk out the door, he turned and burst past me and my roommate. Though we both darted to stop him, there was truly no stopping him when he had his mind set on something (when it came to acting out aggression, anyway). With one motion I was pushed over into a dining room chair, and my roommate was left rolling around with him until he was ultimately able to make his way into my room where Jackson was still laying, unaware, waiting for me.
Before he had a chance to respond, my ex was on top of him screaming, “You got her pregnant” over and over again. With each emphasis in his voice, he threw another punch.
I stood in the doorway of my room unable to do anything to stop it- I just looked from the look of anger on Eric's face down to the look of complete confusion on Jackson's.
My heart, that had been excessively pounding, dropped, and was soon followed by an excessive pounding on the door- the Police.
My roommate ushered Eric out onto our dark balcony, and then he and I stood, still unraveled, to answer the continued knocking.
"There's been a noise complaint."
They walked inside, and began questioning everything down to the roll of tin foil sitting in the living room.
This seemed to be what interested them most as they spoke in great lengths trying to get more information on the infamous foil.
Please Officer, disregard the furniture that had fallen over in the tussle, or the box of beer that had been knocked over leaving rouge Coors Light scattered across the dining room- obviously something devious had occurred in the far corner of the living room with that box of Reynolds.
By the time they finally asked why there had a noise complaint, I was left to offer the most plausible BS reason that had come to mind while they were interrogating my roommate on the tin foil.
“The TV. Sorry, we must have had it too loud”.
I stuck to my story, unsure what to say. My previous encounters with trying to tell the Harford County Police the truth about a serious situation had not gone well (I’ll dive into that another time).
Eventually, there was nothing left for them to do other than leave. There was no longer any noise, so no longer any reason for them to stick around. I'm sure they had much better things to be doing than standing in some 20-somethings' apartments talking about what a proper television volume within an apartment complex was.
My roommate went to the balcony to retrieve Eric, but he was gone... He had jumped off our third story balcony, and ran off into the night.
After briefly decompressing (by decompressing, I mean trying to wrap my head around what had just happened, and focus on not breaking down and following in my ex's footprints (literally) by jumping off the balcony and running off), I hesitantly sulked back to my room.
I distinctly remember having previously wished for an out on having to tell Jackson I was pregnant, but this definitely had not been what I had in mind. I sat on the bed in the dark with nothing but the TV to illuminate the not-so-creatively decorated space. With my back to him in silence, I tried, but was unable to look at him.
“So, you’re pregnant?”
“Yes.” More silence. “Do you want me to take you home?”
I am more grateful than he will ever know that he stayed.