Building Blocks & Abortions

I spent the last four hours at a birthday party for my best friend’s 3-year-old. It was four hours filled with parents, their small children, presents and spiked lemonade. I was the single available best friend who talked to the husbands about their paper houses and to the wives about their children. I’m the good friend who stayed late to help put the pickup trucks away in the chocolate cake. The one who didn’t try to reflect on what could have been in a Starbucks cup before the age of 25. But that shit always comes up in my mind around diaper bags and red Mexican blankets lying in the grass.

A grande size paper cup, filled with urine taken with me on the way to have a procedure.

It was 20 years ago.

My kid would have been 19 years old now.

And I remember that double cup like it was yesterday. I remember the bathroom sink and him, brushing his cracked mirrored cabinet. I remember the questions about if I was ok and the white tile. Driving to that safe place, where protestors were shouting and holding up pink paint. His soft plaid Levi’s shirt, his arm wrapped around my studio with a loft. It was early. 8 a.m. on a Thursday. It was a cold bleak third floor office building and I had to be brave. I remember the sound the volume and the feeling of being too young. I wanted to erase moments from the green doctors room table and my memory and the nurse who asked me if I was plastic. This was the one thing I didn’t tell my mother until after it was over. I was so ashamed. The black vacuum of my past life took all the hope out of my future self later in life, when I meet lab coats and talk about fertility.

The shame I had for not thinking I had a choice or saltines and pain pills washed down with water. I never thought about making a mistake until after. That was very strange. Two days of missing tiny orange dance recitals will make any 19 year old fertile. It made me a 2% statistic of women who get pregnant while missing a hormone helper

And I remember those two years like I remember the back of my hand and the over-priced queen size bed. Those twenty-four months filled with Ralph Lauren sheets, post-it love notes and perfect smiles. Except, I couldn’t imagine my life ending up with a child too young and a boyfriend, as much as I loved him deep down into the cracks of our vintage velour couch, I needed to let him go. He’s got two kids now, and a successful and pretty wife who he met through me the last three months we were together. They’d be the perfect couple, with the age-appropriate offspring to attend my friend’s backyard outbreak of children.

And I don’t think much about regret. I just think about the way things are. I think about how different I may have imagined the green grass when I was younger, as opposed to the tone it is now.

I thought about how I was older than most of these woman at the backyard birthday blowout. How they were in their strange tiny building blocks and I was not. The moms, who were older, were fucking exhausted. They looked like they were buried by their toddlers in the hot sand and left in the sun without water for days. Those were not the yellow balloons I was interested in purchasing. My eggs may be on a timer, but I needed at least a four-week meditation, perhaps in the shade, to think about this.

I was a mess for two days after the procedure twenty million moon years ago. Most of it was spent crying, sleeping and cramping until I sat in the audience for Blue Man Group thirty-six hours later, as if nothing but a simple termination had taken place. Toilet paper and my shameful secret floated above our heads that Sunday afternoon. My only comfort was the brick walls and his hugs. He loved me, in a good way. But the young love-too-mature white teeth kind of way. And I didn’t know how to be loved. Maybe I needed 20 years to figure it out, or maybe just have it bubble back up through a suction cup and performance art.

And I don’t think about regret, but sometimes I do think about those Ralph Lauren curtains and that evil stepmother no longer. For now, I take a breath, put the cake away in a large toy box, and place all the single presents on the picnic table.