Oh, God No!!, Grace screamed. It can’t be! She began pacing her bedroom up and down with her hands behind her back. She sat on the twin bed with the patched quilt she had had since she was a child. The annoying sun was right in her face, so she angrily drew the shades. “What am I going to do now”, she whispered to herself.
It had only been this morning when her mother had asked her to pick up groceries. While she was at the crowded store, she came across a product, an early pregnancy test. She tucked it at the bottom of her basket, hoping no one would notice.
“Mom, I’m home!” Her mother came out of the kitchen with a stern look on her face. She was a stout woman that wore her graying hair in a severe bun at her nape.
“Grace, where were you?!”, she scolded. I only told you to pick up a few things.
“Yes, mother, but the store was crowded and the traffic awful”.
Grace and her mother went to the kitchen to empty the grocery bags. As she began putting them away, suddenly the EPT dropped to the floor. Grace tried hurriedly to scoop it up, but too late. Her mother picked it up and said,
“What is this?” Her mother’s face turned from confusion to rage. Grace felt like a trapped animal. She’d have to think of a quick response. She came back to reality when her mother asked her once more,
“Grace, I asked you what IS this?”
“Michelle hasn’t been feeling well lately, and thinks she may be pregnant so I.. Her mother put up her hands like a stop sign. “Grace, do not use that term, say “with child or expecting”.
Grace continued, “Of course, Mother. Michelle may be expecting, but wanted to know right away, so I bought this for her.”
“Well, if Michelle were a decent Christian, she wouldn’t need such a sinful thing. This “item” is only for unmarried loose girls who may have gotten themselves in trouble.”
She looked at herself in the mirror as her mother’s words echoed in her head, “for girls that are in trouble”. Well, guess what, Mom, you were right! Here I am unmarried and pregnant, oh, expecting. She had to get out of the house, anywhere just to get away. She couldn’t face her mother right now. Grace couldn’t take the “you’ve sinned against God” speech just yet.
She thought about that night two months ago. She had tagged along with some of the 'fast' girls and planned on rebelling against everything. She went to a night club, began drinking, and the worst thing of all her sins, she was unmarried and had sex.
Gail had begun flirting with the drummer and they wound up in a hotel room. She thought about the evening, the smoke filled bar, the terrible tasting alcohol, the painful sex. It wasn't worth it. As she and Bob walked out of the motel room, he said to her,
"Me and the boys will be on the road. Maybe when I come back, we'll have another good time. See ya."
"Is that it, 'see ya'?!! We just…and now you…"
"We had a good time, that's all. I need to go back to the bar, we need to be on the road."
Her mind came back to the present. She'd never see him again, and her baby would be fatherless. What to do? I'll go ask Michelle!
Michelle and Grace had been friends since childhood. Michelle was three years older. Grace’s mother never liked Michelle because of her parents. Michelle’s parents drank, smoked, never went to church, and sometimes yelled at each other so loudly, she could hear every word they said. And most of them were curse words.
Michelle had her own apartment now, and had gotten away from her ‘sinful’ parents. She couldn’t take their yelling anymore. She thought Grace was so lucky to have such a loving family. Of course, she never witnessed Grace’s mother's constant chastising. The Preston family put on a good act for everyone.
Frantically, Grace rapped on Michelle’s door.
When Michelle opened it, Grace barged in, sat on the sofa and began to cry.
Michelle sat next to her and put her arms around her.
"Michelle! I’m pregnant. No, I’m sorry, Mother says polite girls don’t use that word, they say expecting.”
Michelle was shocked and couldn’t say anything for about five minutes. She snapped out of her daydream and looked at Grace.
“Grace, why?… you’ve always been a ‘good girl’. Who’s the father? I expect he’ll do the right thing, so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.”
“Oh, Michelle, I went to bed with some musician in a bar. I’ll never see him again! This is my problem!
“Okay, hon, let’s think this out. As hard as it may be, you have to tell your parents. No matter what, it’s still their grandchild and perhaps they could help you with the costs. If you want, I’ll go with you.
“No, Michelle, I need to do this alone. Thank you for letting me chew your ear off and cry on your shoulder. Then again, throughout all of our years of friendship, you must have the soggiest shoulder in the world! I’m going right now and get it over with. No time like the present."
“Gracey, is that you, you’ve been gone a long time, where have you been?”
“Oh. I see. What were you doing there?”
“You know, just talking.”
“What types of things has that sinful girl been putting in your head now? Really, you need to be with Christian friends more than……
“Oh, mother, stop it!!! Michelle is more Christian than any of my other supposed hypocritical Christians friends…or parents!!
“Grace! How dare you talk to me like that! I have no idea what you’re talking about. And if Michelle is such a good Christian, like you say, why did you buy that box for her? She’s obviously sinned if she needs to find out if she’s expecting!”
“Mother, get a clue. Why would I buy that for her when she’s just as capable of doing it herself? She would never ask me to do a thing like that! It was my box, Mom, mine! Your little girl has sinned against the Lord, and you’re going to be a Grandma!”
“How could you do such a thing? After the way we brought you up and taught you values, you still sinned like this? Who is the father?"
The father? He is a musician I met at the bar.
“A bar!!!!” You drank alcohol, sinned with a man and now are having his baby, a man you didn’t know?! How many other times….how long have you been doing these things….What is wrong with you!!"
Grace was silent for a while but could feel pressure building and she was a volcano about to erupt.
“Damn it Mother!”
“Grace, your language, don’t you EVER talk to me like that!”
“I’m sorry. For my entire life, I could never do anything the other kids did. I wasn’t even allowed to go to my junior or senior prom, because there would be dancing. When some of my friends wanted to see a movie, I couldn’t go because I was contributing to the sin of Hollywood. If I wanted to go to a party; that was wrong. There was that evil rock and roll. Mother, for my entire life, I was stifled, not allowed to do anything. I began hating the church, you and everything it stood for. So one night I decided I’d had enough. I was going to do every single thing I wasn’t supposed to. I was going to sin like hell!"
“There’s an old saying, Mother, ‘pull the reins too tight, and the horse will buck’. Guess what Mom? I was strangling and the reins were too tight, I couldn’t stand it anymore. Yes, I was wrong to do what I did, and now I have to pay for my foolish actions. You have every right to be angry with me, but I just couldn’t take it anymore.” Grace put her head in her hands and began to cry.
Nine months later:
Grace couldn't take living with her parents so moved in with her best friend Michelle. Although her parents offered to adopt the baby and raise it as their own, Grace couldn't put her child through the life she had led. Together Grace and Aunt Michelle raised their little girl.
Michelle talked Grace into going back to church, just not the one her parents attended. They raised the baby, two Christian Moms. Grace took the baby often to see her Grandma and Grandpa, and while it started out as a nightmare, the baby brought everyone together.
Mary E. Lacey