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Never a Disappointment: A Short Story


"You're pregnant again?"

I quickly glanced around us. "Quiet. I don't want everyone in Wal-Mart knowing my business."

"Okay," she said, quietly this time. "How could you do this, Donna? Your last pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and now you want to keep this one? You have no money and no job. How could you be so irresponsible?"

I had heard this argument a dozen times from a dozen other people. I'd heard it so much that I had a mentally prepared response.

"Well, sister," I began, "I haven't been in my twenties in years. In three years I will be forty. It's not like I'm guaranteed to have a second chance."

My sister shook her head and walked over to the coat department. The next few minutes were spent in silence while I nodded at the coats she showed me. After picking one out, she turned to me and said, "It's not too late, you know. At least consider it. You could be ruining your life if you don't."

"I know, I know," I halfheartedly agreed. "I will consider it just for you, Debbie."

"How about I set up an appointment at my clinic with someone next week? We'll see where it goes from there. We can't wait too long or abortion won't be a viable option anymore. You don't want to wait that long, do you?"

I could tell by the look on her face she wanted me to agree. I nodded so that we could move on.

Afterward, we went out for lunch and spent the rest of our day gossiping over a plate of fries and some chili dogs. We didn't see each other very often. I still considered us very close, but we didn't get many days like this where we could just talk the way we used to when we were younger. We each had our separate lives to live. She had two children, a good job and a semi-stable boyfriend. I had no job, a child on the way and I lived at home with my mother.

pregnancy test.png

Photo by Ernesto Andrade; some rights reserved.

"Don't forget our appointment next week," she whispered as she walked to the bathroom. I looked down at the table; I really didn't want to be reminded. When she returned, we paid the tab and left in our separate cars. I thought about her proposition the whole way home. I understood she wanted the best for me. I was nearing forty. As the oldest sister, I should have been the one advising her.

"She is so irresponsible," I heard as I opened the front door. "So irresponsible," the voice repeated. I took a quick peek in and saw my other sister Helen and our mother sitting at the dining room table. I backed away. I didn't approve of eavesdropping, but I would have felt even more awkward walking in at that moment.

"Helen, I know your older sister is a bit irresponsible, but she's allowed to make her own mistakes," my mother said calmly.

She's always the voice of reason, I thought to myself. I saw Helen throw whatever was in her hand on the floor and shout, "This isn't the first time! It's not just a little reckless, it's grossly irresponsible! She's supposed to be the oldest. At her age she should have her life together. Does she? No. Because you keep babying your first child. Almost forty, and not a thing to show for it!" She got up and began to pace the room.

"Helen, you think I don't understand, but I do. You're the youngest child and the baby in this family. You want me to throw her out because of this. I didn't throw you out when you had your first child at eighteen. Why would I do that to her?"

"Look what I did with myself," she came back harshly. "I have my own place. My own apartment. I pay the rent. I take care of my kids. No one else does. If Donna has this child, you will be the one raising it." With that, she sat back down. This may be the best time to walk in, I thought.

"Welcome home!" my mother shouted as I walked into the room. Helen glared a little, then looked away.

"How is my older sister and her baby?" she asked nonchalantly.