(Part Four) Nothing Fits!
I chuck another sweater onto a pile of discarded clothes already stretched thin from being pulled down over my extended belly. Three months have passed since that morning. I stood in the shower in complete denial, telling myself that I was just being paranoid, refusing to count the days since my last period because I knew full well I was late.
It took Jess pounding on the bathroom door demanding that I get my ass out of the shower so she could get ready for class that woke me from my nightmare. With one final look in the mirror, I tried my best to wipe away the tears, forcing a smile that looked more terrifying than friendly.
“What took you so long bitch?”
“Sorry Jess…guess I’m more hung over than I thought,” I mumble brushing past her, my hair dripping wet hanging about my face and hiding my shame.
I went to class that morning in a numb stupor. I can’t count the number of times my hands fluttered over my stomach as my fingers probed at my abdomen. I wasn’t foolish enough to believe I could feel it growing but that is exactly what I kept picturing happening. My sweatpants would stretch as my belly button emerged from under my t-shirt. It stretched and became a chasm as my belly grew and molded around the foreign object growing inside. Pulling at my t-shirt until it came to my thighs I sat in class sure that everyone there was staring at me instead of the blackboard. They knew my secret, pointed and laughed at it. My cheeks grew hot and I slouched farther into my chair, hoping to disappear into the floor all together.
How could this happen to me? We used condoms every time. Didn’t we? I racked my brain to remember all the drunken nights Jacob and I had met up. Hazy and filled with missing pieces of time, I pushed myself to believe that he had always had a rubber on hand. No one wants kids in college. It’s not like he did this on purpose. But why, oh why didn’t I just go on birth control? Damnit Tammy! How could I have been this stupid? What am I going to do?
By the time classes had finished it was late in the afternoon. I had barely eaten anything – just the remaining half of a day-old bagel and some peanut butter. My stomach lurched at the thought of food and yet craved it at the same time. I kicked myself for failing to feed my pregnant body. I couldn’t be a mother. I mean I was already sucking at it. When I finally made it back to the dorm for the day I was breaking out into a full-body sweat.
“Hey girlfriend, how was class?” Jess sat perched on the edge of her desk chair. Her long legs propped up on the edge of her bed; her toe nails the perfect shade of red against her tanned skin. She was mindlessly flipping through a style magazine, while her textbooks lay strewn about on the floor around her. She didn’t have a single worry in that moment and for that I hated her.
“I asked you a question.” A pair of socks whizzed by my head. “How was class? Did that professor of yours go on another random rant about his pathetic love life? Did he break down crying this time? Spill girl!”
My philosophy professor had become a bit of a joke around campus. He was currently going through his third divorce and wasn’t handling it very well. His wife, also a professor with the university, had been having an affair with one of the board members. She was beautiful, younger than him by at least ten years, and well-liked. His hair line had grown considerably since the affair had gone public and his lectures on life had turned into a one-sided therapy session with his students. Young and without a care in the world, we really couldn’t relate to the problems he was facing but we nodded our heads and kept our comments to ourselves or confined to the notes we passed amongst each other.
“No, no nothing like that.”
“That’s too bad,” huffed Jess. “My day was pretty boring. I really could use some good gossip right about now.” She picked up another magazine from her growing pile and started absently flipping through the pages.
Though we kept our dorm room at a blistering eighty degrees I felt cold. Reaching for my old high school sweater I pulled it on, hoping that its familiarity would provide me some form of comfort. Fatigue washed over me and my body felt weak and tired.
Glancing over at me, Jess gave me a quizzical look. “We’re still going to Delta Phi’s rave tonight right?” she asked. “I mean we did buy those super cute dresses for it.”
“I just need to take a nap is all, ok?” I mumbled, pulling my comforter over my head.
But Jess wasn’t having it. “Hey Tammy?” I could hear the magazine hit the floor as she tossed it aside, just adding to the endless clutter that surrounded her space. “What’s wrong? You seem upset.”
I couldn’t speak, burying myself further into my bed. The cries I had been stifling for an entire day came out in bursts of choked sobs. Jess must have heard because before I could wipe away a tear she had climbed into my bed and thrown her arms around me, begging me to tell her what was wrong. We didn’t go to the party that night. Our blue and pink dresses hung unused in the closet.
Jess was amazing. I don’t think I could have gotten through those first few months without her support. She helped me keep it secret. I hadn’t told Jacob until I started to show. She was there when I told him and screamed at him when he called me a slut and told me it wasn’t his problem. She held my hand when I told my parents. My father couldn’t look at me and my mom cried silently for a good five minutes before managing to share her disappointment. I’ve barely spoken to them since.
Now here I was, pregnant and showing. I was that girl. The freshman who managed to get herself knocked up. I hated myself and my growing belly. Cursing the thing inside of me I tried on another worn sweater. A big hole ripped open as I yanked it down.
“Fuck it!” I scream.
“What’s wrong Tammy?” Jess emerges from the bathroom, her slender body still wet from the shower, toothbrush poking out of the side of her mouth.
“I can’t wear any of it,” I yell, gesturing to the pile of clothes next to my bed. “It’s all too small. I’m five months and already I feel like a fucking fat cow with this belly.” Throwing on the same sweater I have been wearing for the past two weeks, I leave the last button of my jeans undone and manage to pull my sneakers on without falling over.
“You should just take it Jess. That stuff is never going to fit me again.”
“Are you sure?” she asks. She picks up my favorite purple t-shirt. It has one of those crazy-eyed cats on it and reads “I see you Monday, and I hate you”. I love that shirt.
“Yeah, I’m sure. Just take it. If you don’t, I’m just going to toss all of it into the trash.” Grabbing my backpack and shoving two bagels, a snickers bar, and a bottle of coke in it I head out for class. “I gotta run or else I am going to be late.”
When I close the door I catch of glimpse of Jess trying on my purple t-shirt. That bitch.