(Hello friends. Here is month 3. I figure this is mid/late July. Not sure how accurate that follows the musical. Sorry!)
I stood in front of my mirror, tank top pulled up over my chest. I turned to the left, then to the right. I furrowed my eyes, scrutinizing my stomach.
"Hey Ivy, I read online that there's some big singer coming to the Burger Bar, would you want to go- What are you doing?" Peter's voice came from my open doorway behind me. I locked eyes with him through the mirror.
"Do you see it?"
He stood there for a moment, his weight shifting from one leg to another. "Uhm… See what?"
I turned, upset that he obviously wasn't paying attention to me. "This!" I nearly shrieked, jabbing a finger at my abdomen. There, centered behind my hipbones, was a perfectly rounded bump. He stepped forward and crouched down eye level with my belly button. He studied my tummy closely. He lifted his eyes up to mine.
"Can I, is it okay if I touch you?" His question caught me off guard. When we had agreed to this arrangement, we hadn't exactly talked about physicality. Still, I couldn't see anything wrong with it. I gave my blessing and he tenantively placed his hand against my tiny bump.
We stood there like that for a while, me holding up my shirt, him with a hand on my stomach, deep in thought.
"Now that I can see it… it feels so much more real." He whispered, not looking at me.
I smiled. "Not having second thoughts, are you?"
He stood and shook his hand. I pulled my tank top back down. He gently placed a hand on each shoulder. "We'll be okay Ivy. I promise." And with that, he walked out of my room.
I hoped that I hadn't let Ivy see how terrified I was. No, I wasn't having second thoughts, or wanting to run off, but seeing the slight roundness of Ivy's stomach, feeling the taught skin… It was a whole new level of realization. This was happening. This was happening now. In six short, short, months, I would be a father. Well, kind of. A child would be relying on me to provide for it, to love it, to accept it. As I got in the shower, the irony made me chuckle. I, Peter Simmonds, who had barely kissed a girl once in the eighth grade on a dare, although not by any means a virgin, was going to be a 'dad', when I didn't have the slightest idea about the female anatomy, and nor did I want to.
Rinsing the shampoo from my face I refocused on the future. The baby. Was Ivy carrying a boy or girl? What would we name it? Would it be straight, gay, bisexual? Would it be musical, artistic, athletic? Who would it look like? An pray tell, how are we going to explain the fucked up story of its conception and how I came to be its stand in father? What would we do about religion? As I stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around my waist, I resolved not to worry about the last two questions just yet.
Baby steps Peter. Baby steps.
I somehow found myself in the Randall County Public Library. I wander around, brushing my fingers over the spines of the books. I had never been one for reading; I need to be up and moving and doing, but with so much on my mind, the quiet atmosphere and gentle leathery smell calmed me. I rounded the corner and found myself looking through a clear window. Inside was a plump woman sitting in a chair, little kids scattered about her feet. In her hand was 'Oh The Places You'll Go,' by Dr. Seuss. I leaned my forehead against the window and let my eyes fall shut, letting the familiar words wash over me.
"And when you're alone there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on."
Oh Dr. Seuss. Looking back it feels like your words are meant specifically for me. Like you were trying to warn eight-year-old me that the shit was about to hit the fan.
"Excuse me. Are you here to pick up your little brother or sister?" I turned and found the little smiling librarian I had passed upon entering the library.
"Oh no… Just listening. Can you tell me where the pregnancy and parenting books are?" I saw her eyes begin to fill with that all too familiar pitying look. "I need it for my child development class." I added in a rush. I didn't even know this lady, I don't know why I felt the need to defend myself. She nodded and led me to the right section, helping me pick out the best books for my "class." She helped me carry them to check out corner, She issued me a library card, and gave a canvas tote to carry my new books in. When I turned to leave, she put her tiny, wrinkled hand over mine.
"Dear, any time you want to just come in and listen… or even if you need to talk… you can always come to the library." I smiled, and she squeezed my hand. As I walked out into the sunlight, I closed my eyes and basked in the warmth for a moment.
Maybe… Maybe this won't be too bad. Maybe Peter and I can really do this.