“Ok, I peed on it. Set the timer.”
With those fateful words, Alyssa walked out of her bathroom and stood anxiously next to Eric, who set a timer for two minutes before placing his phone on the table and wrapping her up in a hug. His thoughts sped, seeking to find closure in under 120 seconds, racing against the clock.
“Fuuuuck. This has to be just a scare, right? I mean, we use protection. Or at least, she uses protection. I haven’t used a condom since we became exclusive. But the pill is like 99% percent effective, right? No way I’m that unlucky. Or are my swimmers just that good? Did they beat the goalie against those odds?”
He felt a short burst of pride followed immediately by a wave of anger.
“Damn my athletic genes. Of course I should have been using a condom also. God, I’m a fucking idiot. How many times has this exact scenario been hammered into my head as scare tactics?”
His mind, seemingly operating unencumbered by time and space, flashed back to his 8th grade sex-ed class. He was sitting in the back row of the classroom, doodling on a piece of paper when his teacher’s voice knocked him out of his reverie.
“And that’s why you should always use a condom AND birth control as an ideal form of protection,” said Mr. Lindehoff, the 55-year-old unmarried gym teacher that his public school decided was the best person to teach young boys about sex. “When used together, they can be 99% effective.”
Back in the unfortunate present, Eric’s eyes widened. “When used together? Why am I only remembering that part now? I’ve gone my whole life assuming the pill was a failsafe and now my memory decided to serve up the truth? Why didn’t anyone else tell me about this?”
As if on cue, his mind jumped back once again, serving up a montage of memories. His dad giving him “the talk.” His mom giving him “the talk.” His Freshmen orientation at college giving him a lecture.
“Goddamn it.” Eric thought, resignedly. “Why wouldn’t I listen to all the people that told me about this. Also, why wouldn’t my parents communicate and coordinate so I wouldn’t have to sit through two separate conversations about “my growing body?” Making a teenager listen to both of his parents use the word “intercourse” should be illegal.”
Suddenly, his mind’s eye leapt from the past to the future. “Oh god, my parents. What am I going to tell them? That I knocked a girl up at the tender age of…25? Wait, would they even be that mad? Oh god, would they be happy for me? I mean, obviously the not being married thing isn’t ideal, but I’m pretty sure they had me at around this age. Why is the idea that this could be seen as a blessing rather than a young mistake even scarier? Is it because we would be expected to actually go through with this and do it right? Like, we’re just parents now? Why does 25 seem so young and so old at the same time?”
The analytical part of Eric’s mind immediately started crunching the numbers. He saw numbers swirling around his brain as he added up the costs of diapers, baby food, childcare…and saw those numbers fade as he realized he had no idea how much any of that cost. All he knew was it was expensive. And he was fucked.
But was he? If Alyssa was truly pregnant, did that mean they were going to have the child? Suddenly he realized he had no idea where his girlfriend stood on the subject. He knew she was pro-choice, but he didn’t know what her personal choice would be. He racked his brain, trying to sort through all the memories of the deep conversations they had had as a couple, but nothing stood out.
“I mean, she’s not Catholic, or even very religious, so that’s a good sign.” He pondered. “She, like, goes to church on holidays and occasionally with her more religious friends, but that’s pretty much it. Then again, when her cousin got knocked up a few months ago, she seemed really excited for her. And that girl was, like, 19. Oh fuck. I’ve seen the way she looks at babies. I’m pretty sure she follows a ‘cute babies’ Instagram account. Did she do this on purpose? Has she gone baby crazy? Did she pull the goalie, knowing full well I never pull out?”
Eric took several deep breaths, glancing down at the girl he was holding in his arms. Alyssa looked back up at him with a nervous smile. No, not just nervous. Terrified. Clearly, she was freaking out just as badly as he was. He attempted a reassuring expression and hugged her close. He looked into her eyes, and opened his mouth to tell her that he loved her, and no matter what happened, they would get through it together, when he was interrupted by the scariest sound he had ever heard.
His iPhone chimed quietly on the table, signaling the end of the longest 120 seconds of his life. Alyssa walked to the bathroom while Eric stood frozen, waiting for his fate to be revealed. Suddenly, Alyssa bounded back into the room, yelling with excitement.
A wave of relief crashed over Eric, followed immediately by Alyssa, who jumped in his arms and knocked him backwards onto their couch. Their elation quickly turned to lust as she straddled him and ran her fingers through his hair. Eric heard her gasp quietly in his ear as he kissed her neck, and in one fluid motion, picked her up and walked her into his bedroom. He tossed her down on the bed where she lay, waiting for him, eyes sparkling mischievously.
“Do you have a condom?” She asked in a throaty voice. Eric grinned as he climbed over her.
“Nah, you’re on the pill. We’ll be fine.”