I got an email from my friend Amanda this morning, with the title of this post as its subject line.
For those of you who are new, or visiting, or forgetful readers, Amanda is one of my best friends. We’ve known each other for ten years, have been on some crazy adventures together, including a 24-hour scavenger hunt one summer and a trip to the next state just to eat in a restaurant; we share inappropriate loves of Saved by the Bell, wine coolers, and Simon Cowell; and we once even shared a “boyfriend.” More recently, we were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings (although her marriage is as strong as mine was short-lived), and have been training together for the Tour de Cure.* Because she and her husband are waiting to have kids until after she’s finished with school and internships for her career as a dietician, she’s the one real-life friend I have who completely understands my dislike of pregnant women and my sometimes half-hearted, yet very real, desire for my own pregnancy.
“Hey Marie and Doug,” her email began. (You know how Gmail lets you see the first line before you even open the message?) “I really wish I didn’t have to write this email right now…”
My pregdar went off immediately, and my heart sank. I opened the email and skimmed it, not even bothering to read whole sentences, just looking for – dreading – that one word.
That one word did not appear. The email was about how Amanda had gotten her dates mixed up and won’t be able to ride in the Tour with me after all, since she’ll be out of town that weekend for her sister-in-law’s graduation. She still wants to train with me, hopes I’m not too upset, hopes she’ll see me Saturday morning to ride as planned. I melted with relief, and decided to quickly write back and reassure her before I had to leave for my Wednesday morning bike ride.
“Oh God, I thought you were going to say you were pregnant.” Send. No mention of the Tour, or this Saturday, or anything else. Yet I feel like the reassurance was adequately conveyed. Like, “Hey, no worries – it could be a lot worse.”
I was reminded of an email I got from one of my
fake blog friends a couple weeks ago, describing an eerily similar situation. My friend had gotten an email from one of her friends that began, “I’m emailing you because I’m uncomfortable telling you this in person.” It went on to explain that the friend had felt slighted about something, and was a little upset.
“How fucked up is that,” my friend asked in describing the situation to me, “that I’d rather have my friend be mad at me than have her be pregnant?”
But this is what it’s come to: us hoping, praying, begging for anything but that. Because I can live without Amanda on the Tour: I can make new friends on the road, or convince one of my boys to drop down from the 100-mile course to ride the 55 miles with me, or sing songs in my head if it comes to it. But I can’t live without Amanda as someone I can bitch to whenever I do get a pregnancy announcement, or whenever I have a pregnant customer ask me to pack her bags really light, or just in general, when I look at the next 17 months (but who’s counting?) of waiting and wonder how I’m going to make it.
I figured I had to tell Doug about the hitch in our cycling plans, so I cornered him in the kitchen. “Hey, I got this email from Amanda this morning,” I began slowly.
“Oh no, is she pregnant?!” he asked.
How fucked up is that?
*An awesome charity ride to raise money for diabetes research. You should sponsor me. Or sponsor Doug. Or my dad. Or my brother. Just sponsor someone so we can erradicate this stupid disease. Thanks 🙂
After a few weeks,
he quit the team,
too often too high
to play safely.
His talent for catching
relegated to the sideline,
he brewed hatred
in a half-empty bottle.
He’s been shooting up
since he was nine,
now five, sometimes six
times a day.
He lives by his needles,
chalky white pills –
sweet, but nothing like candy.
He had no choice,
and now has only one:
live with it.
He’s thrice over-filled
the syringe, but thrice
decided soon enough
that though he has no God,
theirs will have answers,