Hundreds of Butterflies. Chapter III
Three weeks later, I still hadn't told anyone that I was pregnant. the only people who knew were myself and my three friends, each of whom had tried to convince me to have an abortion. If I'm being honest I wanted to, but I just couldn't. Whether it was my religious upbringing, or just my own conviction, something stopped me from going through with it. I knew that eventually I would have to start telling people, but I was so scared, and still hoping that it was all just some horrible nightmare that any moment I would wake up from.
I couldn't decide who to tell first, my parents or Nicholas. I wasn't exactly sure how my parents would react, but I knew they wouldn't be pleased. I didn't know if they'd shout and scream, or give me the disappointed parent routine, which would involve my mother crying and my father refusing to look at or speak to me for about a month! I couldn't decide which would be worse.
I had already begun to think about my options, I hadn't told Nicholas yet, but I had convinced myself that once he had gotten over the initial shock he'd be pleased. I had worked out that the baby was due around the time that I'd be finishing my exams and Nicholas would be graduating from college, so everything would work out well. I planned to put my name on the list for a council house, I figured that being pregnant would put me pretty high up. I also decided that while I was pregnant I would get a Saturday job, just to save some money until I finished school or the baby arrived, whichever came first. Nicholas could save up his LEA and we could use the money we saved to pay for things like nappies and baby clothes.
Then during the summer, I figured I'd have six weeks to concentrate on the baby while Nicholas worked. I knew there was no way my parents would ever let us live together without being married, and we couldn't get married while I was still at school. So I had got it into my head that the baby and I would live in my bedroom for the first few weeks, then once Nicholas had been working for a while we'd marry during the summer, move into our council house and once September came around I would start college part time. I knew I would get financial help for childcare, as I'd done some research online. I was sure my plans were fool-proof.
I was naive to think that everything would work out and be so simple
The plan I had concocted for myself and my unborn child had got me excited, thinking about having a cute little baby and being married to Nicholas had made me misjudge my parents reaction to the news...
I decided to tell them one afternoon after school, it was almost a month after I found out I was pregnant and I had arranged to go to Nicholas' house that evening, where I planned to tell him too, but for some reason I decided to tell my parents first.
I got home at around four o'clock, and after getting changed, I walked pensively into the lounge and sat silently in an armchair. As I sat there, the realisation that I was about to tell my deeply religious parents that I was pregnant at sixteen dawned on me, and suddenly I was frozen, I couldn't bring myself to avert my gaze away from my knees, let alone speak. So there I sat, staring at my knees, trying to figure out what I was going to say. While my father sat across from me reading a newspaper and my other buzzed backwards and forwards making tea.
It was almost ten minuets before my mother notices my stoicism;
"Rebekah love, are you alright?" she asked with concern in her voice, I sat chewing my bottom lip for a moment before I finally said "actually there is something I need to talk to you both about..."
My mothers face momentarily became devoid of all colour and life, then as if someone had flicked a switch, she smiled breezily and as she turned and rushed back into the kitchen she called back "Oh well we'll talk about it over dinner shall we?.."
I continued to chew my lip until tea time, and as we sat down to dinner and I pushed my food slowly around my plate, I kept repeating to myself in my head over and over: 'So there was something I wanted to talk to you about something...' I kept repeating it to myself over and over, trying to push the words from my head to my mouth. I knew my parents wouldn't bring it up again, my dad philosophy in life was usually, why deal with something when you can just sweep it under the rug, and my other avoided any kind of confrontation on principle. the words 'we need to talk' from me on a sunny afternoon, resounded to my mother in the same way that 'I'm watching you' would to a young woman alone in a house on a dark stormy night, from a stranger on the telephone!
I took a deep breath, and stepping out of my head I allowed myself to speak; "I really need to talk to you guys about something." I heard the words escape my lips before I realised I'd said them, and I fought hard the urge to physically try to push them back down my throat.
A heavy silence hung in the air as my parents slowly finished their mouthfuls and placed their cutlery back on the table, then placing their hands in front of them, fingers entwined, they both looked at me, a nervous smile fixed to each of their faces.
I took a deep breath "Okay," I began "I need to talk to you about something important, but you must promise not to say anything until I've finished, that's very important!"
My mother and father exchanged glances for a moment, then looked back at me and nodded in agreement. I took another deep breath, closed my eyes and forced myself to speak:
"Okay well I met a boy, a -a guy, a while ago, and I really like him, and he really likes me too! And we've been dating for a while..." I looked up to gage my parent's reaction so far, my dad wasn't showing any, but my mum looked obviously relieved, she picked up on my pause and began to gush; "Oh honey that's ok! What's his name? Which church does he go to?"
"Mum! Please, I haven't finished." I pleaded, and my mum placed a finger over her lips apologetically.
I began again, "he doesn't go to church-" my parent's faces dropped as if they had been told that someone was dead, I dreaded what was about to happen.
"Anyway, the point is... and you have to let me finish before you say anything but..." I couldn't bring myself to say it. "Look, you have to know, he's a really great guy, he's in college, and he's doing really well! He's so sweet and kind and funny! His name is Nicholas, he's really great..." I trailed off, I couldn't think of anything else to stall. I stared at the table top, trying to push the words 'I'm pregnant' out of my mouth. My parent's had started eating again, obviously the idea of their chicken casserole going cold was far worse than anything I could be about to say.
I screwed my eyes shut "I'm pregnant" I said, almost in a whisper. And for a few beautiful seconds I thought they hadn't heard me, but they had, and it didn't take them long to break their vows of silence.
"WHAT?!" Screamed my father, spraying half chewed chicken allover the table, before I could say anything my mother burst into tears and rushed from the table and into the kitchen.
"How could you be so stupid? Look at what you've done!" My father screamed, standing dramatically, slamming his chair into the table and gesturing at my mother.
"Don't you think your mother and I have already been through enough with your sister? How could you get pregnant?"
"Dad!" I pleaded "you said you would let me finish please." My dad said nothing just stared at me, stony faced.
"Dad," I began "I've made a mistake and I'm so sorry! But you have to know, Nicholas and I, we were careful... We used... Protection."
My father grimaced, as if he was about to vomit. "Rebekah!" He chastised me as if I'd cursed.
"Look dad, Nicholas and I love each other, okay and I've figured out a plan! It'll be hard, but I know I can make it work!" I took a steadying breath, and forcing the quiver out of my voice I began to tell him my plan; "I've worked out that the baby is due just after my G.C.S.E's, that'll give Nicholas and I the summer to find a place and get married. Then next September I'll go to college and do my A-Levels part time, or maybe a more vocational course. It'll be hard, but I'll make it work I promise!"
My father scoffed, "And how exactly is this Nicholas." He practically spat the name "going to support you and your child?"
I smiled, I knew I had an answer for him this time! "He's at college studying to be a mechanic! He'll be fully qualified in less than seven months, and he already has a job lined up at his work experience placement!" I replied proudly,"Dad, I've been stupid, and I know i have to face the consequences, but I'm ready to do that! And I will dad I promise!"
There was silence, and for a few glorious moments I thought that my father was going to agree with my plan. In retrospect, the idea that my father would have agreed with anything I had to say at that point was ridiculous! He would have argued that the sky wasn't blue!
"No!" My father barked, so suddenly I jumped a little. "No, I'm not allowing you to marry some filthy mechanic who isn't even a righteous, God-fearing christian! No!"
"Dad he may not be a regular church goer, but he is a good man, and he loves me! And I love him, very much, we will love this baby, and we'll make it work I promise!"
My father shook his head "No! I will not see you miss out on university and end up with some philistine grease monkey! We'll figure something else out. We could send you away for the summer then get the baby adopted, or your mother and I could raise him as our own. No-one ever need know!" He sounded angry, I knew better than to argue with him when he was like this. Usually, but this was not a usual situation!
"No Dad! I will not give up my baby! I won't!" I shouted before I realised what I was doing. My dad was not used to being told no, by me or anyone else.
"Quite frankly Rebekah, I don't believe this boy loves you at all! I think he told you exactly what he knew you wanted to hear, and you were stupid enough to fall for it! And furthermore, that child," he gestured to my stomach, "deserves parents who will take care of it properly and give it everything it needs! It does not deserve to suffer because you couldn't keep your legs closed!" He was so mean, he spoke with more anger and contempt than I had ever heard from him before. And he touched a nerve. I flipped, I had never spoken out of turn to my parents in my life, I was raised to be polite and quiet and non-confrontational. But at that moment I didn't care about anyone or anything, I knew that if I kept quiet and allowed my father to force me to give up my child, I would never forgive myself. I would always wonder what could have been and I would always be in someone else's shadow. If not my parents, then whichever wife beating, church going doctor my father chose for me to marry.
"Your wrong!" I screamed at my father "Nicholas loves me! And we are going to raise this baby together! I won't let you take my baby away!" I turned and ran out the front door, my father ran after me, "Rebekah! get back here right now!" He shouted after me down the street, but I ignored him. I just kept running as fast as I could!...