by Casey Fleming
I may or may not be pregnant. Because I may or may not have slept with your best friend in a drunken stupor, and woken up embarrassed but satisfied, two thumb sized bruises penned into my hipbones. I may or may not have nudged him awake then, and done it again. I may or may not have loved him too, the way he smelled like smoke and aloe and whiskey and my 7th grade classroom and the length of his fingers, the way they made me think of train tracks or the scars airplanes sketch into the sky, and the way he had me bent over the bed, bent nearly to broken. I may or may not have seduced him, I may or may not have kissed him first, and I may or may not have given him a blowjob in his kitchen where stale beads of rice dug into my knee bones. I may or may not have done it all because I was mad at you. And so yesterday I might have been squatting over my toilet, naked as the day I was born, peeing onto the end of a blue stick, which, by the way, may be the most humiliating position you can ask a woman to take with her body. I may or may not have been humiliated. Maybe I set the test stick on the edge of the bathtub, or maybe I set it on the edge of the sink, or maybe the windowsill. Whichever way, I might have stared at it and waited. While I waited I may or may not have thought of you, maybe I thought about my mother instead and how she sucks in her nostrils when she disapproves and how sometimes I don’t like her to touch me. Maybe I picked up the phone and called him, even though I had decided not to, and maybe he said, “I can’t handle this right now. I’m trying to write a poem.” Or maybe he said, “I may or may not have pulled out in time.” And maybe I called him a vulgar name—pick your favorite, that’s what I might have yelled into the phone before I slammed it into the sink and it made a loud cracking noise. Or maybe I did something totally nuts, like start picking out baby names: Lila, Aidan, Tess, Eliot or Beckett. Maybe I thought about driving my best friend over state lines to get an abortion when we were 18, and how the next day I went to mass for the first time in years and how the communion tasted like chalk in my mouth, and how the priest had nicked himself shaving that morning and a tiny dot of blood shone bright under his chin, and how I never told her that because I didn’t want her to think I felt ashamed of her. I may or may not have thought that getting an abortion at 18 is acceptable, but not at 30, no way. Maybe I thought of you again, and in particular how after you left I forgot how to be a girlfriend, how I started drinking Guinness and Jameson and got bad tattoos and how it hurts me to look at little children because I want to touch their hair so badly. And I may or may not have then, at 1 minute and 22 seconds, known without a doubt that I wanted a baby more than I have ever wanted anything, even you. I may or may not have put on your old basketball jersey and stuffed a pillow under it and then turned slowly, again and again, in front of the bathroom mirror. I may or may not have thought of Rilke: believe in a love being stored up for you like an inheritance, and remembered that my father thinks I have his mother’s eyebrows, which are hairy and dark and thick and drive me to distraction so I wax and pluck them obsessively even though I loved my grandmother and miss her still. But maybe I felt nauseous then, with only a few seconds left, like that time I went to prom with my friend, Arthur, at his fancy private school and all the other girls had on white gloves and hid their cleavage under couture dresses, but not me, and the way they all stared and stared and never asked me my name. I may or may not have leaned over the stick with my eyes closed, imagining either a blue line or a blue cross—line for not pregnant, cross for yes, yes, yes. I may or may not have opened my eyes, 3, 2, 1, and seen only a wash of blue, like water, like the hill country, like Rothko, like his bedspread, like your eyes, until I could focus enough, finally, to make out a definite shape. And I may or may not have sat down on the icy tile and cried like there was no tomorrow. I may or may not have wept, I mean, and my tears may or may not have been joyful, or sad, or relieved, or terrified; they may have been big, heavy pools in my eyes, refusing to drop, or they may have fallen in lean streaks down my nose and cheekbones. You decide. Because once you told me, “I may or may not love you.” Because when you said it, I looked into your dirt-dry eyes and may or may not have decided to only hear your last two words: Love. You. Because sometimes, my love, it’s simply what we wish would have happened that makes a thing real.