Everything in Bridgeport is expensive. I managed to find a studio apartment in my price range. It isn’t much, but I don’t plan to live in it for long.
I used the bulk of my savings to purchase a computer, which I knew I’d need in order to get ahead in the business world in Bridgeport. I could use it to work from home or solve math problems for extra money. I figured the investment would pay for itself eventually.
What I didn’t count on were all of the temptations in Bridgeport. There were so many things to do. One of the more innocent things was going to Butterfly World. It was a huge hot-house that had thousands of butterflies floating around in it. It was lovely. I couldn’t help but think that my outdoor-loving family would have enjoyed it.
I met Ebenezer Caldwell at Butterfly World. I noticed him immediately because he was wearing a suit. He told me he was a musician in the orchestra. We struck up a conversation and he invited me out to one of his favorite jazz bars for a bite to eat. After Jack the Jerk, I was pretty sure I was going to stay away from all men, but something made me get into the car with Ebenezer.
I found myself having a really good time. It might have been the three drinks I had. They were called something silly like a ‘reticulating spline’. I’m not sure what was in them, but they loosened me up and I spent the night learning how to play darts and dancing with Ebenezer. When he took me home, I was a little tipsy, I guess. I invited him up to my apartment.
I am not sure how exactly it happened, but I invited Ebenezer to stay the night, and we ended up in bed together. Unlike being with Jack, being with Ebenezer was sort of sweet. I don’t know that I completely enjoyed it, I mostly felt like I was floating and spinning at the same time. I think the alcohol contributed to that a lot.
In fact, the next morning I got up and was violently ill in the bathroom. Soon after I was done brushing my teeth to get rid of the vomit breath, Ebenezer made some excuses about needing to get sleep for a concert that night. He told me he had had a fun time. gave me a soft kiss on the mouth, and then he was gone.
I never saw Ebenezer again, and I started to really feel sorry for myself. My experiences with men were terrible—Jack in the office nearly got me fired and now I had become an unwitting victim of a one-night stand. Something needed to change. I decided to go down to the fancy salon and get a makeover. I had very little money, but I figured a new look would help me get ahead at work, too. New clothes, new hair style, new attitude—that’s what I wanted.
And for awhile it worked. I got on the subway feeling rejuvenated. I felt like I was no longer the innocent country girl that I had been. Finally I felt like I could take on the city!
But it was all for nothing. The next day I found myself throwing up in the office bathroom. I’d been fighting it the entire subway ride to the corporate office. I went home from work early because I was feeling so sick. But later I felt foolish to have given up a day of work because I started to feel better. I promised myself that I would work extra hard the next day.
But once again I got off the subway feeling queasy. I barely made it to the office bathroom before rejecting my breakfast. Maybe I am doing something wrong with the waffles, I thought to myself. I had burned them two days in a row. Or maybe I was allergic to the subway. I didn’t know. But, since I had gone home the day before I powered through my nausea and finished the day at work. I felt better toward the end of the day, so I was glad I had stayed.
But the next morning I was sick again! I didn’t know what was wrong, though I should have suspected since I’d seem my mom when she was pregnant with both Ronald and Melissa. It wasn’t until one of my co-workers, Lana Albright, asked when I was due, that I finally figured it out.
What was I going to do? I went to the doctor to figure out how far a long I was. The baby could either be Jack’s or Ebenezer’s. The doctor performed all kinds of tests and did an ultra-sound. He found out that I was actually pretty far along in the pregnancy—about 8 weeks. He said it was unusual for me to be experiencing morning sickness this far in. I wanted to smack him when he told me that most women are done throwing up before the second trimester.
But then I remembered how queasy I was before I moved and the time I threw up after Ebenezer and I were together. I must have just ignored the symptoms.
The baby was obviously Jack’s.
I thought about what to do for several weeks. Eventually I realized that I didn’t want to keep the baby. I didn’t want a physical reminder of Jack. I also didn’t really want to be a mother. I don’t dislike kids, but it has been no secret that I didn’t want any of my own, either.
I knew that I wasn’t going to abort the baby, though. Despite everything, I was raised in a large family amongst family-oriented parents. I don’t know that I am a gung-ho pro-lifer, but for myself, I felt that it would be killing the child if I was to get an abortion. This left me with adoption or giving the child to one of my sisters to raise.
Samantha and Eddie already had a child, a baby boy named Kennyetta, Kenny for short. They might be willing to take in a second child. Sydney and Calvin also already had a child, Sophia. I probably should give the baby to them, but I dismissed that idea quickly since then I’d have to talk to my dad about it. He still wasn’t speaking to me.
I called Sam and asked her to come visit me in Bridgeport. She was actually pretty excited to come. I met her at the subway station and was surprised to see that she was also pregnant.
“Sam!” I enthused, running up to hug her as soon as I saw her. I was overwhelmed by the emotion of having one of my family with me again.
“Wow, Kindra!” she said after I let her go. “You said you wanted to talk about something important and I can see what it is.”
I was showing a bit of baby bump just like she was. “Yeah,” I said with my head down. I was ashamed.
Sam agreed to let me explain over dinner. I took her to the restaurant that is in my office building. I told her about Jack.
“That’s terrible Kindra! You should have come to one of us after it happened. We would have supported you.”
“I know, Sam. I just wanted to get away. When Ms. Winslow offered me the job here in Bridgeport I jumped at it.”
“I can understand that.” She nodded. “But what are you going to do now? It will be hard to be a single mother here in the city.”
“I know. That’s what I was hoping you’d help me with.”
I outlined my plan to have her and Eddie raise the baby when it came.
“Oh, I don’t know.” Sam shook her head. “I don’t think we have room for three babies. I mean we have one on the way, too…” she hesitated. I could tell she didn’t want to disappoint me.
“It doesn’t have to be you and Eddie,” I said quickly. “What about Sydney? Do you think she’d do it?”
Samantha shook her head again. “Sydney’s got her hands full. She’s practically taken over the farm. Also, she’s having some problems with Calvin. He almost lives at the fire station and hardly ever comes home. Dad keeps threatening to kill him if he doesn’t live up to his responsibilities. Also Melissa is a handful. She took up with this boy named Jose, who has a horrible home life. His dad is an alcoholic and beats him up. When Mom found out about it, she convinced Dad to let Jose live with them. So now the house is full. Mom, Dad, Melissa, Syd and Sophia and now Jose…not to mention Calvin when he’s actually home.”
“Oh,” I said, disappointed.
“I don’t think I can raise a baby,” I admitted. “I don’t really want strangers raising it, either.”
“What about the father”?” Sam asked.
“Absolutely not! I don’t want Jack the Jerk to have any part of this baby! What about Mina, Sam? We haven’t mentioned her and Kristopher.”
“Oh…Mina,” Sam looked down and away. “I don’t know, Kindra. She and Kris are trying so hard to have a baby on their own. I think this would be…I don’t know.”
I hadn’t known that Mina and Kris wanted kids. I hadn’t even considered them because I knew that he had plans to join Doctors Without Borders and she wanted to teach abroad. I didn’t think they wanted to take kids on those trips.
“Maybe Mina would welcome this baby,” I said. “If she’s having difficulty conceiving she may look on this as a blessing.”
“She’d be a much better mother than me! She’d love the baby so much!”
“That’s probably true. But, what if she is sad that she can’t have her own baby. What if she resents it that you can and want to give it up.”
“I don’t think she’ll be like that, Sam. You know Mina. She’s always so good. She thinks of others before herself always. I’m going to call her right away.”
And so I did. Sam went back to Twinbrook and Mina came to Bridgeport the next weekend. She was shocked to see that I was pregnant.
“Oh Kindra! I’m so happy for you!”
I explained about Jack and how I didn’t really want the baby. Mina was as sympathetic as Samantha. She said almost the same thing her twin had, “You should have come to us. We would have made sure that Jack had paid for what he did! Kris, Calvin or Dad would have beat him up for you.”
“I just wanted to get out,” I said. “But now I’m going to have a living reminder of that moment all of my life.” I patted my stomach.
“No! The baby is innocent. He or she doesn’t deserve to be connected to such a jerk.”
“I know. But I can’t help thinking of him.”
“That’s awful Kindra.”
I invited Mina to go with me to the doctor’s office. I was having an ultrasound, I explained. I wanted someone else there to see the baby with me. She readily agreed. We went into the office and she held my hand while the doctor’s assistant poured cold goop on my belly. Then the picture flashed up on the screen. The assistant said things like, “Oh, there’s the hands” and “See, there’s the heart”, but I couldn’t really tell what was what in the black and white images that seemed to fluctuate every second. Mina, however, was fascinated. She kept exclaiming and oohing and awing.
“Do you want to know the sex?” The assistant asked.
“Should I find out Mina?” I asked my sister. I could tell that she wanted to know, but I wanted her to make the decision. She nodded.
“It’s a boy,” the assistant said. “See, here’s his little penis.” Mina clapped her hands. “I see it,” Mina said. All I saw was a blur. I nodded anyway.
“This is so exciting,” Mina said as I got dressed. When we left the office she said, “You are so lucky. A boy! He’ll be just perfect, I know it.”
“Mina,” I said. I turned her to face me before we got onto the subway and headed back to my place.
“Sam told me that you and Kris were trying to have a baby.”
“Oh, she did? Well, it’s nothing. We’ve been trying and we’re going to see a fertility specialist…soon.”
“What if you could have your baby now?” I asked.
“Well, I’d be so happy. But it’s been so long. I think one of us is infertile.”
“Mina, I plan on giving this baby up for adoption.”
“No!” she exclaimed in shock.
“Yes. I can’t live with a baby that might end up looking like Jack. It’s going to be a boy, too. I just don’t want to raise a child. Especially not Jack’s child.”
“Kindra, I understand your feelings, but this baby is innocent. He’s not Jack’s. He’s yours.” She reached down to pat my tummy. “Aren’t you, Baby?” she asked my belly.
“Here’s the thing, Mina,” I continued on. “When I was talking to Sam, I told her that I wanted someone in the family to raise the child. No matter what, I don’t think it should suffer. I don’t want it to go to strangers who might treat it badly. I trust my family.”
I took a deep breath. I hoped Mina would agree. “Sam says she and Eddie can’t raise three children. She said Sydney and Calvin are having problems. So…” I let my voice trail off. I could see by her expression that Mina knew what I was asking.
“Will you?” I said.
“You want me to raise your baby?” she asked, shocked.
“No. I want you to raise your baby. I’m just carrying it for you.”
“Oh Kindra!” She collapsed on my shoulder in tears. I hoped they were tears of happiness. Then she looked up and nodded. “I’ll talk to Kris, but I’m sure he’ll agree.”
Mina offered me money to help with all of the medical expenses, but I refused to take it. I told her to use it to buy the baby whatever he needed. Mina went back to Twinbrook, but she came to visit me often during the rest of my pregnancy. As the birth of the baby neared, I went to Twinbrook to stay with Mina and Kris. I made her promise not to tell my parents that I was there. Only Sam knew.
Mina and Kris both came with me to the delivery room. I though having Kris there would be awkward, but it wasn’t. I didn’t really have time to think about him being there. Mina held my hand and Kris counted my breaths. They both helped me deliver their little boy.
Once I was released from the hospital I went back to Mina’s house one last time.
“Have you decided on a name?” I asked Mina. She had wanted to choose the name after seeing the baby. She thought she’d be able to look at him and know what his proper name should be.
“Yeah. Kris and I are going to call him Charlie.”
“Goodbye, Charlie,” I whispered as I hugged the infant before giving him to my sister. I am not ashamed to admit I was crying. I didn’t want to raise a baby, but I did love him. I knew I was doing the right thing for him.
“Welcome home, Charlie,” Mina said as she lay him down in his new crib. She and Kris would be the best parents. I knew it.