She’s pregnant, he said. She’s pregnant. The words echoed in my ears and swayed me like a deluge of waves against a fragile, glass-bottomed boat. My foundation was shaken and stirred. I felt like Wile E. Coyote being smashed into the ground over and over by a piano that wouldn’t quit.
I tore off my dress, tossed it onto the bed, and looked at the matching set of suitcases, filled with almost all of my clothes, trying like hell to rub the migraine from behind my eyes. I walked naked into the bathroom, as I often did, almost wishing he’d walk in so he could get one last look at what he had given up.
I tossed two Excedrin into my mouth, cupping my hand under the cold running water in the bathroom sink. When I raised my head to drink from my palm, I caught my reflection in the mirror. I had really done a number on myself. On my forehead, just right of center, a bruise began to show the first stages of that particularly awful shade of purple. My upper lip was bloody on the inside, enabling my tongue to taste the acridity of it.
I don’t remember passing out, but I know that I did because the next thing I remember is waking up on the bathroom floor—the chilly tile beneath me. She’s pregnant, he said. She’s pregnant. Those words were the first thing that struck my conscious mind.
I found my hand on my forehead, for a second time, trying again to stroke away the pain, and wished that I could’ve stroked away Donovan’s confession, also. It was clear that all of his sweet expressions of wanting to marry me were meticulously fashioned in order to soften the blow to come. And it hurt.
I just sat there, bare-assed on the floor and relived the night that had just kissed the earth goodbye a couple of hours earlier. I felt embarrassed to recall how in a momentary lack of control, I had put myself and countless others at risk—again.
I had demanded that Donovan leave me alone in Laguna and that he not be in the apartment when I returned. I must have been pretty convincing because he did just that. Holding a sandal in each hand, I watched him from across the beach.
He got into a Yellow Cab and headed for parts completely unknown to me. That was to be the last time I would see him. I dried my eyes on the hem of my dress, ventured barefoot back into the restaurant, and flopped onto a stool at the bar ordering drink after drink, until Fanny, the bartender, cut me off.
Between shooting each glass, I cried and ruminated over the things that Donovan had said – the good, the bad, and the downright heartless. After having way more than one too many, Fanny practically force-fed me a cup of muddy black coffee that I could have eaten with a knife and fork.
Once managing to put my shoes back on, in spite of the complex straps, I got up to leave on two wobbly legs and vowed “the vow of the drunk” – never to drink again, especially straight shots of tequila. Fanny stood there shaking her head at me, as she pulled away all six emptied glasses. I’m sure the manager, doing his books at the end of the bar, saw lawsuit written all over me.
At last, I made it to my car. However, when I tried to unlock the door, not only did I drop the damn keys, but when I stooped to pick them up, I knocked them down the staircase that led to the beach. I could have sworn I had a good grip on the railing before finding myself doing tumblesets all the way to the first landing – feeling the sharp edge of every step dig into my back. Fortunately, there was a couple making out in a brown sedan that witnessed my spill and helped me back to my car. I assured them the fall had been sufficient enough to sober me up. They agreed and went happily on their way.
I still don’t know how I made it home in one piece, considering I was no less than two sheets to the wind despite what I told the “lovebirds”. But instead of being grateful, all I could think about was Nichole. The way I saw it, she was the one responsible for it all. It was a wicked game of dominoes. One thing led to another: the cheating to the arguing, the arguing to the abortion—to where I was at that very moment. It was her finger that started the collapse—the absolute downfall of my life. She was my own personal domino effect. I was so incensed by her, had she been standing in front of me, I would’ve popped her pretty little neck like a twist top cap on a bottle of Vanilla Coke.
I couldn’t believe that the very day after the car accident, the man who claimed to love me decided that cheating on me was just what the doctor ordered. And then, as that cruel bitch Fate would have it, the jackass got her pregnant to boot!
I stormed back into the bedroom wondering how he could have expected me to give him a chance to explain. He must have been crazy, because that’s really what he expected. Well, I just didn’t know how to do that. It was like I was Marie Antoinette, with my neck in the guillotine, and he was the fuckin’ executioner—and he wanted to explain? As if the lying son of a bitch could have!
That’s when I lost it. I smashed the picture hanging over our bed, ‘Mickey’ standing between the two of us out at Magic Kingdom, cutting my hand in the process. I stood back and looked at the busted glass, the picture swinging slightly from one of the nails in the wall, and found its present condition to be rather fitting.
I quickly pulled on my favorite set of sweats and a T-shirt, easing my feet into the white leather K-Swiss that were kept beside my nightstand before gathering my bags. Then, I marched to the front door, only to observe Cheyenne barring my exit. With a quick look around, and a pat on Cheyenne’s bowed head, I closed and locked the door behind myself for the very last time.
For a brief second, I looked into the sky. I’ll never forget the way that it looked. The eternal blue was uncluttered by even a single cloud. I almost changed my mind about leaving as I listened to the robins’ easy morning serenade. Glancing back at the front door, I imagined Cheyenne sniffing and softly scratching the other side and forced myself to gulp down the well of feelings that had collected in my throat.
Somewhere between my drunken drive home and my impromptu packing, I had decided to make New Orleans a permanent stay, rather than a pit stop. New Orleans was going to give me back all of the things I had lost—and then some. I had a rendezvous with providence and its name was Nichole.
I cracked a half smile to myself and returned a one-finger wave to the apartment manager, glad that I would no longer have to put up with the bullshit from that backbiting, muumuu wearing, drunk, old hag, Mrs. Teetleworth.
I tossed my bags onto the back seat of my car, jumped in, and cranked the engine. Peeling out of the complex, and onto the open streets of Rancho, I headed into the traffic of Irvine for my flight out of John Wayne. I was on my own, and I knew my life had changed forever. But, I really could not have anticipated what a dramatic change it would be.
© Daphne Marie Doucette/Wild Heart Scribe