Panorama of San Bernardino

Saturday, February 7, 2015


I bought an electronic pregnancy test two days ago at Walmart.  I was three days late and I had to pee so I ran into the bathroom with my cart almost running over an elderly blue-haired lady on her walker.

I have never been good at waiting.  One Christmas many moons ago, my sisters and I discovered our Christmas presents in the attic and opened them early and re-wrapped them.  This would be the best present of all, I thought as I entered the dirty stall with writing on the blue walls and torn toilet paper and seat covers on the floor.  I did not care about the environment, it was an answer I was needing.  With teeth bared, I tore open the plastic wrapping and pulled down my pants and underwear in one fell swoop and peed on the pink stick.

Pants pulled up, hand on my chin, I sat on the toilet and waited.  And waited.  I was shivering with eagerness.  Fiending for it.  Maybe this was it.  It was going to happen this time.  I would run home and scream over the phone to Adrian, "We did it, we made a baby!"  He would come home and cry and so would I and we would hold each other tight jumping in the air together as one unit.  A family.

The small symbol on the pink stick blinked and blinked.  Maybe it was defective, I thought.  I daydreamed of the cool clothes I would buy.  I would dress my child in black and white striped dresses along with animal print and punk rock mini t-shirts.  I would play "Asleep" by the Smiths and "Lullaby" by The Cure for the baby while I rocked her to sleep.

Damn it.  Why was that stupid twelve dollar stick still blinking?  Twelve dollars seemed like a lot, but I needed it to be a dependable answer.  The day before, I had almost bought a test at the 99 cent store, but changed my mind knowing with certainty that 99 cents was way too cheap to be reliable. As I peeked out the crack of the door frame to check on my cart loaded with Diet Coke, soup and crackers, I started imagining Adrian, me and the baby in our house in North Fontana.  I would cook for us.  The baby would cry and I would smile, not minding it at all.  Her cries were a sound I had been waiting and hoping for.  It had taken mountains to be moved and miracles, but she was here.  Finally.

The stick blinked one more time and I said a small prayer in my head.  There are no atheists in Walmart bathroom stalls, especially ones who are looking at a blinking pink stick, hoping for a positive affirmation of the possibility of creating a life at forty-three.  "Look, I know God that I have asked for a lot and you have given me so much," I whispered silently in my head.  "But just give me this too."

The answer came as silent as my prayers and the word stood out sharply in stark definition against the grey background of the digital stick.  "No".

I threw the stick into the silver receptacle and tried to shrug my sadness away.  Stupid stick. I hate Walmart.  It was one thing to sit here and pee on the stick, but I was certainly above crying in a dirty Walmart bathroom stall. Or was I?

No, I certainly was not.

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