I thought I was pregnant so I dug up a pregnancy test a friend left me before she moved from Greenpoint to California with the advice, “Don’t get pregnant, idiot!”
What a bitch, I thought, not because she called me an idiot, but because she was jinxing me. At the time I was dating someone whom I would have been an idiot to have a kid with.
Three years later this wasn’t the case with Jon, but we weren’t prepared for a baby at the moment. I guess you never are, but we were in the middle of buying an apartment out of foreclosure, I was about to quit my job, and our cats, whose behavior I thought might reflect our future parenting skills, were acting like total assholes. That day they had chased each other across my chest as I sat on the couch, leaving red bloody scratches along my collar bone. Imagine what a kid would do to me.
Before I left for work that evening, the test proved inaccurate, a smudge of blue in both positive and negative fields. It had expired.
When you think you are pregnant everything you do is a sign. I can’t have kids if I am dumb enough to use an expired pregnancy test. She was right, I am an idiot.
Jon met me after my shoot, our plans that evening were to convince a friend to propose to his girlfriend on her birthday as he’d been carrying the engagement ring around in his bag for a few weeks, not sure of “the right moment.” I had talked him out of proposing while bungee jumping, definitely the wrong moment, so I felt an obligation to guide him further. Our plan was to berate him and make him feel like he would never do any better than her. It worked magically.
While killing time slamming Margaritas – we’re alcoholics, we can’t be parents!, – we decided to grab a legit pregnancy test next door at a drug store that was the size of a newspaper stand. Bottles of Pepto Bismol, laxatives and headaches medicine climbed up the walls of the narrow aisles. Everything was closing in on us and the tests were nowhere in sight.
Apparently screaming makes things more comfortable so as if through a loud speaker Jon asked “You guys have any pregnancy tests?”
Wincing, I awkwardly whispered, “It’s for him.” No one laughed, not even Jon who I elbowed as if to say – if you’re going to be the father of our child, the least you can do is laugh at my horrible jokes.
“Pink or Blue?” the man asked, reaching behind the counter.
To alleviate the tension Jon yelled, “Let’s see, do we want a boy or a girl?” Really? What kind of father thinks that the sex of his child is determined by the color of the pregnancy test box?
“What’s cheaper?” I asked, immediately regretting it. What kind of mother would chince at this stage of the game?
“The pink one,” the man answered.
“We’ll go with the blue.”
We left the store gasping for air. What was only a few moments felt like hours. We looked at each other and knew we needed to find out right away. We went back to the Mexican restaurant, down the stairs, tripping over each other’s feet into the small dark and stinky bathroom.
“You can come in,” I said holding the door, “but you can’t watch.”
As I pissed half my bladder onto my hand, Jon had no choice but to turn his back and stare at the breasts of the pin-up girl wallpaper. “Not a bad view.” What kind of parents take a pregnancy test half drunk in the dirty bathroom of a Mexican restaurant surrounded by naked ladies!
I washed my hands, threw the test in the trash and we moved on with our lives, which for the immediate future meant convincing our friend to make the biggest decision of his life and then getting drunk. Our friend successfully proposed, then we decided to celebrate our own sort of success with a delicious and wine filled supper at Diner. If I’m definitely not pregnant, I’m definitely drinking.
After our meal we stumbled all the way back to Greenpoint up Berry St. Halfway home we noticed a woman with her dog picking through the trash. Stranded without a poop bag and a big pile of dog shit on the curb, she was looking for something, anything to scoop the poop.
I’d been there. You’d never believe how much of a Godsend an empty bag of Fritos could be at a moment like that. Feeling compassionate we searched in our bags for something to give her. The only thing we found was the pregnancy test box.
Jon shrugged his shoulders as he handed it to her.
“Here you go!” he said at his loudspeaker volume.
She graciously took the box, looked at it and said, “Thanks? I really hope that either way it worked out for you guys.”
“Thanks. We hope we never see you again,” Jon said.
When we opened the door to our apartment on Kingsland Ave, the sound of the cats fighting never sounded so sweet.