I got Adam pregnant by mail. He opened my letter and became a father. It was a short letter—a hey-guess-what-no-big-deal letter. I was sitting home alone on a Saturday night watching Terms of Endearment when I scribbled, sealed, and hurriedly delivered his notice of pending parenthood.
Alone on a Saturday night.
Alone and pregnant on a Saturday night.
Pregnant on a Saturday night.
I’d found out a few days earlier and been busy not thinking about it since. The doctor had been a little thrown at my nonchalant, “Oh okay, grand then,” response to the news, although I’m sure he more than questioned my mental state after our visit the week before.
I’d told him I had stomach pains. Short, crampy stomach pains. I diagnosed myself as suffering with gastroenteritis to impress him with my self-awareness and spare him the tests. It was my first time at his office—I was only six months in the country—and I’d already decided that, even though he specialized in infectious diseases (as I’d discovered upon arrival that day), I liked his friendly-neighbor type receptionist Sherri so much that I could overlook the questioning what’s-your-rash glances in the waiting room, and make him my primary physician. He asked me when I’d had my last menstrual cycle as he checked my blood pressure. “Last week,” I told him. And my last bm? “What’s bm?” I asked, sure he was accusing me of a strange drug habit. I was glad months later that I knew the lingo and could promptly deliver the scoop of my kid’s poop at pediatrician appointments. Dr. Disease gave me a quick once-over, asked me to keep in touch with any further cramp-news, and sent me on my gassy way.
I did keep in touch. A few days later, I called Sherri to talk about the weather, and to tell her that I had just noticed in my diary that my last menstrual cycle was not exactly “last week”—it was in fact six weeks ago. I muttered some time-flies funnies and she suggested that I come back for another visit. I knew there and then—at a payphone in the Empire State Building lobby, at 1:35 on a Tuesday, right after eating a bag of sour gummies—that I was pregnant.
I hadn’t consciously lied about my last period. I couldn’t remember the exact date of my last one, but I honestly didn’t think it had anything to do with the stomach oddness. This was pre-Web MD you understand. If I had known, I’d never have gone to the doctor. I’d have stayed in denial a little longer.
I’d stormed over to Adam’s apartment on a Terms-of-Endearment-dysfunctional-family-high at midnight, and managed to fit the big news in his small mailbox. I’d thought about phoning him, but it was his turn to call. We’d been seeing each other for just over six months and lately we’d been taking turns playing it cool, as is often the courting way when moving from one six-month period to another.
I’d considered knitting a pair of booties because my romantic self longed for that old-fashioned subtle announcement (and the old-fashioned happy ending too), but I’m only able to knit hair-bands and I didn’t know if he’d get my hair-band message—pull your hair out of your eyes man and see that I am with child.
So I wrote him a letter.
We had written cute letters to each other on several occasions up to that point, so I’m sure he opened my letter expecting to read another rant on my dislike for Steven Seagal movies.
Two long days passed until Adam called.
Maybe I should have thrown in a mercy Chuck-Norris-is-so-much-cooler-than-Steven-Seagal line in the just-thought-you’d-like-to-know-I’m-pregnant greetings. Knowing him now, I’m assured that he suffered and struggled and hurt for those two days. It might have been a comfort—and a timesaver—to know back then, as I spent much of those two long days dizzy from wishing him freedom and happiness one minute to wishing him suffering, struggle, and pain the next.
We went for a drive to talk about “our situation.” You’d expect hysterics, and tears, and much head shaking in that kind of situation, but our chat was surprisingly calm. Mostly because I was still in denial (the hysterics, tears, and general head-shaking came about three months later—I have very strong denial skills.) I calmly told him that I might move back to Ireland. Or not. I might have this baby. Or not. I might be a cute pregnant woman. Or not. Probably not.
He said that he imagined we’d have a very good-looking kid between us, and we laughed heartily, neither of us able to imagine “our” kid. Then he suggested that we get married and have the baby together. I laughed again. He didn’t. I kept laughing anyway. He said that it would be like an arranged marriage.
That condom had really failed me: not only was I pregnant, but my Baby Daddy was crazy.
As I proceeded to wake him to the reality that I had no intentions of getting married, regardless of my sinful state, I wondered why his suggestion didn’t sound as ridiculous as it should have. Probably because there’d been this incredible chemistry between us from the moment we first met. In fact, I’d most likely become pregnant that first meeting, though we didn’t even shake hands, much less knock boots.
I was getting to know my new roommates in the Heritage bar while we waited on our machine-loads in the Laundromat next door. I was barely “off the boat” as they teased, so they were enjoying my raw observations of New York. We were having a great session and the Laundromat was long-closed when I looked across the bar mid belly-laugh. I met a handsome stranger’s eye and he smiled back at my belly-laugh-contorted grin. “Oooh, who’s that handsome smiley guy over there?” I quietly squealed to my friend. She very discreetly shouted the same question to the barman at the end of the bar who then announced my utter devotion to Adam, and the rest of the borough. I turned and hid my mortified face inside my jacket though Adam likes to say (nice word for lie) that at this point in our story, I flung off my jacket and chased him around the bar trying to pinch his arse. I really didn’t. I know I was far too drunk to chase anything at that stage.
Later, Adam positioned himself beside me at the bar and ever so pepe-le-peu-smooth said, “It seems you know my name [bebe] and I don’t know yours.” “Not at all,” I countered, the way I’d heard it, he was the one asking about me. We volleyed our supposed disinterest back and forth until I said that we’d better get the story straight for our grandkids. Cue Heavenly You-Shall-Name-the-Child-Jesus music.
Inseminating Mary (aka Mother of Jesus) was a much more straightforward task for the Angel Gabriel and his cousin Cupid I’m sure, because I’d be willing to bet that she didn’t give them the wrong phone number as she and her laundry-less friends were being kicked out of the local pub at 3 a.m.
Worry not. These angels are professional matchmakers: Cupid orchestrated another encounter a week later to bring our fated couple back together, and Gabriel called in a few big favors to cut the heat in my apartment and make that winter a severely brutal one.
We waited forever (okay, almost four months but that seemed like forever at 20) to consummate our relationship, so that when the magic finally happened … it was quite effective.
So Adam became Dadam.
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