A Short Story by B. Jean
As I hurl into my porcelain throne, I
realize I can no longer deny what I’ve been
ignoring. Although I don’t feel like I need it
at this point, I unbox the finger length stick,
sit on the toilet still filled with my morning
bile, place the stick underneath me and pee.
As the warm liquid pours onto the
stick and my hand, my mind is blank as I
marinate on the fact that my Aunt Flo has
been missing in action for 2 months. She’s
typically a punctual person, so I chalked her
disappearance up to my body going through
changes. I’ve been on a weight loss journey
and my diet has changed significantly. I read
online that missing your period could be a
direct reflection of changing what you place
in your body and that answer satisfied me.
Wishful thinking. I had no desire to look any
further into it. The alternative honestly never
even crossed my mind.
Five minutes go by, and I pick the
stick up from my bathroom counter. The two
blue lines boldly stare me right in the face,
seeming to enjoy my predicament. I unbox
another and another, repeating the process a total of 8
times. They’re all identical. I stare at the
boxes surrounding me and drop to my knees.
I lay my body flat on the cold bathroom
floor. Although I would usually consider
this disgusting, nothing really matters and it
actually feels comforting.
I wake up an hour later. It feels like
I’ve been dreaming. When I stretch my
arms, the boxes I knock over drop me back
into reality. I stare into space for a moment.
Then I sob.
“Fuuuck” I say to myself in between
I grab hold of my counter, the last test
I took greeting me as I become fully erect.
I look in the mirror, toss my frizzy
sister locs out of my face, stare at someone I
don’t even recognize and say aloud, “What
in the fuck are you going to do?”
I have to get rid of it. I always told
myself that after the age of 23 I wouldn’t
consider aborting a child. I drew a line at
that age because I considered it “too old”.
I’m 27 now and I see no other choice.
At this point I’m back on my cold
bathroom floor in my tattered gray robe
laying in a pool of tears that just won’t stop.
I feel bad for myself, which isn’t common.
After allowing myself to sulk for what
seems like hours, I walk back into my room,
grab my phone off of my nightstand, and
call into work for the day.
I’ve been on hold for about 10
minutes before a woman that introduces
herself as “Chante” answers the phone.
“Thank you for calling Planned
Parenthood, this is Chante speaking. How
can I help?”
“How much for an abortion?” I ask
flatly. Getting straight to the point. “Well.” She says, thrown off by my
aloofness. “You would have to come in, and
we can discuss options and prices then… do
you know how far along you are?”
“2 months” I say, trying not to think
“Does the father know?”
This bitch. It’s none of her fucking
business. I pause briefly, and with
annoyance in my voice, I lie.
“I don’t know who the father is.”
The phone goes silent for a few
moments and she proceeds to schedule my
I have no desire to ever own plants.
Having to take care of something and being
solely responsible for its well-being never
sat well with me. I’m obsessed with
greenery though, and my condo is a
reflection of that. All around you can see
false plants surrounding me, like an artificial
indoor garden. Giving the aesthetic without
the responsibility, which is what I prefer.
It’s 1:45pm and I’m eating for the first time.
I haven’t had much of an appetite even
though morning sickness had flushed
everything I’d eaten in the past 24 hours.
For a moment I think about him. I
think about whether or not he would want to
keep the child, but I push the thought out of
my mind. I know that he wouldn’t.
I butter up some toast, slice my fresh
avocado, and eat in silence. I don’t have
much to say, not even to myself which is
odd because I usually can’t stop my
thoughts from bouncing around. I’m my
I don’t know how to express to myself
how I feel, but I know I’m making the right
decision. The only decision. Still eating in
silence, my cell phone rings. Although I’m not in the mood to speak, I answer
Modesty’s call on the first ring.
“Bitch I’ve been calling you all
morning!” She says, sounding exasperated.
“My bad girl, I’m at work.” I lie. I
don’t know why I do, I just do.
“Did you take the bus? I drove past
your building and your car was outside.”
Is she stalking me? I think.
“I carpooled with a coworker. Saving
the planet one day at a time.”
I know this will get her off my back
because she’s obsessed with saving the
earth. On the contrary, I feel as though we’re
already doomed. We’ve been destroying it
for years and everything has to come to an
end. One of the rare topics we don’t see eye
to eye on.
“I know that’s right! Planet earth
thanks you and so do I.” she squeals. “But
girl…” Modesty says with excitement in her
voice… “Guess what!”
“Davis and I are having a baby!”
I choke on a corner piece of my toast.
I mute the phone so that she doesn’t hear me
coughing my lungs out of my throat. She
seems not to notice the silence and continues
“This month my period was late. I’m
talking 5 days late and you know like I
know, my shit is never late.” She exclaims.
“So last week I went and picked up about 12
different tests and they were all positive! I
scheduled a doctor’s appointment for this
morning and they just confirmed. Bitch can
you believe I’m about to be a motha?”
Even though I know she can’t see me,
I give a light hearted grin. I’m excited for
my friend. I don’t know what to feel.
“Congratulations girl!” I say after
un-muting the phone. I try to be enthusiastic
but my friend can sense my hollow words.
“Thanks girl! But is everything ok? I
thought you would be a little more excited.”
“I’m at work so I can’t really jump on
top of tables. But believe me girl, I’m
excited. I hope you have a girl so she can
put you through all the hell you gave your
She laughs and I know my quip has
taken her mind off of my uneasiness.
“When you get off of work tonight I
want to celebrate! Davis works the late shift
and I don’t want to be alone. Let’s grab a
bite to eat!”
I hesitate and she throws in, “Bitch,
don’t even think about turning me down. I haven’t seen you in two months! You’ve
been so busy with work I almost forgot we
were friends!” This is true. My latest
promotion to Project Manager has single
handedly taken up all of my time.
“Girl come out with me. I’m no
longer asking at this point!”
There’s no way out of this. If I deny
her she’ll suspect something. Modesty and I
have been friends for years and she knows
me so well it makes me fucking sick. I love
her but when she senses an issue she will do
everything in her power to get down to the
bottom of it. Amazing, yet annoying.
“Fine.” I sigh, giving in to her
We go back and forth about a time
and a place and hang up the phone. I’m
already dreading it.
We chose to meet on the Upper East
Side of Manhattan at our favorite French
restaurant, JoJo. Still full from the toast I
had earlier, the only thing that’s on my mind
is a drink. I know it’s not good to do while
pregnant but I rationalize with the thought
that I’m getting rid of it… so I’m getting
I get there before her and a fair
skinned young man, maybe in his early
twenties, greets me and introduces his self as
our waiter. I tell him I want a table for two
and he sits me in the dimmest part of the
restaurant. I order a drink before he even
walks away. I figure the tipsier I am the less
tense I’ll be.
I glance down at my Apple Watch and
I notice that it is ten minutes past the time
we agreed to link up. Leave it to Modesty.
She was always late for everything. Since
college she would be late for class, late for
the parties, late for the games, you name it,
she was late. We had the same major so the
majority of our classes were the same. We
met our freshman year and by our sophomore year, we lined it up so that our
schedules were identical. If it wasn’t for me
she probably would’ve been kicked out of
her classes for attendance issues. Thankfully
we signed in with a clicker that would
electronically record our attendance. I would
grab hers everyday as I walked out of our
dorm. Today though, I don’t mind her
tardiness. It gives me more time to mentally
prepare for this unwanted gathering.
The waiter interrupts my thoughts
with my request. They were having a special
on Valentine’s Day themed drinks. I take a
sip and immediately recognize that this
fruity concoction wasn’t potent enough for
me. I needed something stronger. I flagged
the young man down again and ordered a
shot of tequila. This time while he was
taking my order I noticed how handsome he
was with his white teeth, chiseled chin, and
a single dimple only occupying one side of
As he wrote down my second request,
I noticed Modesty making her way to the
table. She’s wearing a baby blue jumpsuit
with her beautiful long hair in a messy bun.
She’s always been a sight for sore eyes. Her
beautiful coco colored skin, slightly darker
than mine, had everyone at our university thinking she had a weave. Like black girls
couldn’t have long hair… colorist mother
fuckers. She was tall & statuesque like a
gazelle. The way she walked into a room
demanded attention… she always
unconsciously made me self-conscious.
Even though I was dressed in some cute
jeans & a nice top, her jumpsuit had me
“Sorry I’m late girl! You know me.”
She says only inches away from the table.
I stand up and hug her and for a
reason I can’t explain, tears spring to my
eyes. I embrace her a little longer than
normal, trying to come up with a way to get
rid of the tears before she sees my face but
she releases me sooner than expected.
“Damn bitch I’m happy to see-” she
pauses when she sees my tear soaked face.
Her sarcastic look quickly turning to
“I’m just so happy for you.” I quickly
say while wiping the tears from my face.
Pull yourself together, what the fuck?
Her face softens a little and her
concerned look is replaced with a smile &
gratitude. “Thank you so much!” She
squeals. Tears begin to form in her eyes too but she controls hers. How lucky is she to be
so emotionally stable?
We sit down & she notices my drink.
“Giiirl I wish I had one of those! Shit, that’s
probably going to be the worst part of this
pregnancy. As soon as this lil nigga is out of
me, I want a shot poured on sight and a
joint rolled. Multiple.”
I laugh so hard. Tears fall from my
eyes again. I don’t know if they’re from
laughter, happiness, or sadness. I honestly
do not know. I choose to believe they’re
Our waiter comes back to the table
with my shot and Modesty orders herself a
water with lemon. “So girl, how far along
“2 months! Remember when I told
you that Davis and I were so drunk we
fucked in your parking lot that
night you hosted Friendsgiving?” She
paused and looked down at her stomach and
while rubbing it exaggeratedly she says,
“That’s where this beauty was conceived.
Everything about that night was a recipe for
She starts to laugh and I join her, but
on the inside I cringe as I think about the
night mentioned. I had upgraded from my studio apartment also known as the “Shitty
Shack” to a “deluxe apartment in the sky”…
literally. My new condo was located on the
18th floor of my building with the best view
of Manhattan available. I was so excited
about it, I decided to host Friendsgiving at
my home. All five of my friends have
significant others and I hadn’t had a steady
relationship since I graduated from college 5
years ago. I downloaded a dating app where
I met Quinton, my date for the night. We
had gone out a couple of times prior and I
decided he was cool enough to come to
Friendsgiving. I wasn’t interested in him but
I’ll be damned if I didn’t have a date to my
That night I was so fucking wasted.
We all were, but me especially. We all
brought our favorite versions of brown
liquor, and after multiple shots, we were
cranking the Soulja Boy and twerking to
“That was a crazy night.” I say
halfheartedly and it is at that moment that I
realize that my friend and I conceived a
child one night apart. What were the odds?
As the evening grows older and my
feelings grow stronger, my drinks do too. One shot quickly turned into 4 and before
our food arrives, I’m buzzing like crazy.
We discuss baby names. I think it
should be Charles for a boy and Harper for a
girl. She doesn’t like them. She likes
Danielle and Michael. As she’s going
through matching names if she has
multiples, I blurt out “I’m pregnant & I’m
getting rid of it next Thursday.”
Where the fuck did that come from? I
ask myself. Feeling a confusion of shock
My eyes are down, staring at my half
eaten plate but I can feel her eyes burning
into my soul… I don’t say anything and
neither does she. I figure she’s trying to
process these random facts I’ve thrown in
her face. My buzz starts to decrease.
We remain silent for a few more
moments and the sounds of silverware
hitting plates around us become intensified.
“… Janine … I-. Why? Who?…”
She doesn’t know what to say. I don’t
want to look at her, but when I can no longer
avoid it, I force myself to look up and I
instantly regret it.
Her first complete question was:
“Who’s the father?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Does he know?”
Silence fills the air again.
“… No.” I answer softly, eyes drifting
back down to my plate.
“So you’re going to get rid of a child
without notifying the father?” She asks. The
sound of her voice makes it seem as though
that’s the most ridiculous thing she’s ever
“We’re nothing. I don’t even think he
would mind.” I say, biting my bottom lip as
my eyes fill with tears.
I know there are a lot of questions she
has for me. Thankfully, she doesn’t ask.
“I’m going with you. You shouldn’t
That eases my mind. I know she had questions,
but she chose silence. I knew this wouldn’t
be the end of the conversation, but I’m
grateful that the interrogation had come to a
halt. For the rest of the night we sat in an
awkward silence filled with forced
conversation. Her puzzled expression never
leaving her face, regret never leaving my
“We need to talk.” Are the only words
I allow my phone to text.
“I’ll call you in a few.”
“In person.” I reply, allowing my
liquid courage to speak for me.
“I’ll be there in an hour.”
After Modesty & I say our goodbyes,
I come home and immediately take a
shower. My buzz had gone down
significantly so after I showered, I fished
through all of my cabinets until I came
across some bourbon. I took 4 shots and sat
on the couch as I waited for the liquor to
work its magic.
I also rolled a joint. I don’t smoke
often, but this calls for it. Right as I light the
end of the stick and pull, I hear a knock at
I pause. Freeze.
Neither one of the substances I’ve
placed in my body have reached their full
potential, but the liquor has already started
to help me loosen up.
There is another knock on the door,
this one a little more aggressive. Agitated.
I put my joint out. “Coming.” I say
but it’s so low I can barely hear myself.
As I walk towards the door, the third
set of knocks place some pep in my step and
I open the door mid knock.
Expecting to see the man who
impregnated me, I take a deep breath and
brace myself for a conversation I never
intended on having. As the door opens, I’m
shocked because it’s not my soon to be late
seeds father, it’s Modesty.
“Girl I really don’t think that you
should follow through with that abortion.
Not until you talk to that father first.”
Modesty says as she barges through the
“Modesty.” I stammer before she can
get another word out. “Wha- what are you
doing here? It’s late.”
“Davis is working extra hours and I
just couldn’t go to sleep without letting you
know that. That’s not right. He has a right to
at least be made aware of the pregnancy and
I really think that’s fucked up that you won’t
even consider telling him. Who is this nigga
“Modesty.” I say as calmly as I
possibly can. “You need to leave.” My
voice is calm but my eyes are wild. Where
the fuck did I put my phone? I think. As I
search for it, Modesty is still talking but I’m
not listening to a word she’s saying. I have
to find that phone. I look under my couch, in
between the cushions, underneath the table,
nothing. Next I search the kitchen. I look on top of the counters, inside of cabinets, inside
of the refrigerator, nothing.
“What are you looking for? Let me
“I don’t need any help.” I say,
annoyed and nervous, my voice fragile, as if
it could break at any second.
She stares at me and I stare at her.
“What the fuck is your problem?”
I ignore her and continue to focus on
where I last had my phone. The liquor is
setting in and as I fish through my inebriated
brain in an effort to retrace my steps, it
clicks. The fucking bathroom.
I sprint out of the living room and into
my bathroom to find my iPhone lit up on the
counter. I pick it up and see a message that
says “I’m on my way up.”
In a panic, I try to hurry and send a
text back, telling him to wait. My fingers are
fumbling wildly all over my touch screen
and as I hear another set of knocks on the
door, my entire body stiffens.
“Who could be coming by this late?
Are you expecting someone?” Modesty yells
to me from the living room. Alarm and
unease in her voice.
My mouth was dry and before I could
get another word out Modesty yelled “Who is it?” and instead of waiting for the person
to respond, she opened my door.
Standing with his back towards the
door, he turns around & Modesty’s
expression goes from concern to utter
“Davis? What are you doing here?”