The Unexpected Results

May 15, 2008
By Cara Downs, South Barrington, IL

I squeezed my eyes shut, took a deep breath and held the small white stick in my sweaty hands. ‘You have to know’, was the only thought going through my head. This morning when I had finally decided to get out of bed from a night of practically no sleep, I had put on a completely black outfit, including a black scarf that covered my head and the darkest, largest sunglasses I owned. I walked as quickly as I could through the drug store, grabbed what I needed and headed toward the register. Knowing that the test could change everything, I still had to know the results. Driving home from the store seemed to fly by, and when I reached the parking garage I had to convince myself to get out of the car and into the elevator. As the elevator passed each floor, the dings seemed to get farther and farther apart and the elevator seemed to be moving slower and slower. The final ding chimed and the foor rolled open to the 4th floor. I starred down the long off-white walls and listened to the clicking of my high heels as I stepped off the elevator and onto the sparkling clean marble floor. I slid the key into the hole and walked directly to the wooden navy, blue door that blacked the way to the bathroom. Standing in the pearly solid, white bathroom I took one more breath and opened my eyes. Starring down at the tiny white stick, it was strange to think that just one little color could change my entire future; either for better or for worse. As I stood in front of the mirror in shock, I threw the test into the trash can and walked out of my apartment knowing exactly what I needed to do next. Standing in the pearly, solid white bathroom I took one more breath and opened my eyes.
I pushed through the revolving door and the wind overflowed my face. It surrounded my whole body and made my skirt billow below my knees. I joined the mass of people making their way down the sidewalk and crossed the street toward the office building. You could hear people whistle for taxis as they sped by and the squeaking as their tires quickly stopped to pick up their next customer. Even though there wasn’t a designated line, it seemed like common knowledge in the city that you walked on the right side of the sidewalk. When looking carefully you could spot a familiar face in the crowd, anyone from your brother’s best friend to a woman who graduated in the same class as you in high school, but today all the faces seemed like a blur to me. My mind was racing with other thoughts than trying to identify different people I knew in the crowd and I lowered my eyes to the ground so no one could see the worry in my eyes.
As I arrived at the base of the office building I looked up to the top of the building and squinted my eyes as the sun’s bright rays came into view. For some reason the building seemed taller and unfamiliar, even though I usually visited it at least once a week. I took another deep breath and realized that I could no longer stand in the spot I had taken in the middle of the sidewalk because people had begun to carelessly run into me or stare me down with their dark, unforgiving eyes. My black jimmy choo pumps seemed to have sticky glue that kept them stuck to the sidewalk, but I slowly peeled them away and took a large step toward the glass door. My hands pressed against the thick metal bar that unlocked the entrance into the solid black, forty-foot high first floor.
The air conditioning swarmed my body and goose bumps grew on my arms and legs. The nerves continued to pill up the closer I walked toward the elevator, but I knew that they would be worse if I turned around and walked back to my empty apartment. I walked straight through the solid black room filled with black chairs, tables, a long black desk, and all of the people hustling toward the elevator in what seemed to be a uniform in their solid, black suits. Even though the same people were working today as all of the other days that I came to visit, today seemed different. Everyone looked at me like they knew I had done something wrong, they starred at me with judgmental eyes instead of the usual friendly ones. I directed my gaze towards the ground, hoping that without all of the stares, the long walk to the elevator would go by faster.
I pilled into the elevator with two other people. As I stood listening to the haunting dings coming from the elevator as we reached a new floor, I couldn’t help but wonder what the two complete strangers were thinking about. Was it just another normal day for them or did they have something else happening in their lives like I did? Had any of them been in the same position as I was right now? If they had, how did they handle the situation? But more importantly how would HE handle it?
The final ding came and as I looked around the elevator I realized I was the only one still there. Wow I must be losing it! I thought to myself and walked off the elevator leaving my uncertainties behind. The white hall that lead to his solid, black, wooden door seemed brighter and longer than the last time I had visited. From the end of the hall, I could barely see the silver, rectangular plate that hung in the middle, but I knew what it read, James McKinley. The carpet beneath my feet seemed squishy and uncomfortable and as I approached the solid, mahogany desk in front of his office, the tip of his secretary’s head seemed to get bigger and bigger with each step. By the time I was standing in front of her desk, she was still intensely reading whatever she happened to be holding in her hands. I didn’t wait for her to look up or acknowledge my presence I just kept on walking straight through the doors to the office I knew held a man whom I had a lot of explaining to do.
I entered his office and the back wall which was entirely covered in windows had sunlight streaming through so bright I considered putting my sunglasses back on. There he sat in his black leather, swerve chair behind the glass desk pilled with papers and a lab top. James’s desk was the kind where any one stranger looking at it would say was a complete mess, but to him everything seemed to be in perfect order. The small, black holey trash can that sat at his feet was overflowing with white sheets of computer paper and his screen saver held a picture of our trip to Paris with us standing underneath the Eiffel Tower. His aqua blue shirt stood out compared to the primarily black and white surrounding decorations in his office. Before any words were spoken our eyes met from across the desk. His grass green eyes met mine and his mouth slowly formed into a small grin. I wanted to run to the far side of the desk and collapse into his comforting arms and feel the warmth of his lips against mine, but I knew a lot needed to be said before anything like that could happen. Standing there I tried to think of the last time our lips had touched. Two minutes before my flight had left for Tuscan for my sister, Carrie’s bridal shower. Today it seemed like this had been months ago, but in reality it had only been two days earlier. I tried to remember every sensation of our last kiss, knowing that I may never experience them again with the talk I knew we were about to have.
Before I could think words started flowing out of my mouth,
“James, before you say anything I have a couple things we need to talk about.”
His eyes changed from the original happiness to a worried look almost immediately.
“Babe, what’s wrong? Come here.”
He began to rise from his seat to come next to me, but I knew that with him sitting so close to me I would never be able to form the words that were floating around in my head.
“If you could just stay in your seat, over there, I think that this might be a little easier for the both of us.” I stated calmly, even though right at that moment all I wanted was to return to our night in Paris where the picture, featured on his computer, had been taken. Things had been so much easier there, before everything had happened. He immediately collapsed back into his seat and starred at me expectantly. I walked to the chair farthest away from James’s and began telling my story.
“I can only imagine how hard this is going to be for you to hear considering how hard it is for me to tell you. First, I want you to know how much I love you and I hope that we can eventually look past what has happened. When I boarded the plane to Tuscan on Friday night I had no idea I would be returning with news like this; maybe a couple funny stories about my Aunt getting extremely drunk and dancing on the bar or Carrie tripping down the aisle during the rehearsal dinner, but nothing like this. On Saturday night, after the rehearsal dinner all of the bridesmaids went out for a couple of drinks. I only had two and was feeling fine when we all decided to head back to the hotel. Once I had gotten back to my room, the phone rang and I answered to find Carrie crying on the other end. She was blabbing about how Charles was going to be the last man she ever slept with and how she had never once had a one night stand. I agreed to meet up with her down stairs in the lobby and we sat at the bar talking about her concerns about getting married the following week. We ended up having a couple more shots than we should have and woke up the next morning to find out that we had both experienced our first one night stands.”
I realized I had been starring out the window the whole time I had been talking and just now looked over at James. His expression hadn’t changed at all since I had started talking and his eyes looked like they were looking through me, not at me. I waited for some sign that he had heard what I was saying, but nothing came. We sat in silence for what seemed like an hour, but when I checked the clock on the wall, I realized only five minutes had passed since I had first walked through the door and into his office. Slowly his head began to nod and I knew that he was beginning to process the story I had just told him. A small space formed between his lips and he spoke,
“If you want this to still work, it can. What happened in Tuscan doesn’t matter to me as long as you still want to be with me and only me.”
That was why I loved him, he not only knew how to keep a positive attitude in every situation, but he also always seemed to know the right thing to say. At that point I wished we could have hugged and moved on with our lives, putting the whole trip and one night stand behind us, but only I knew that the easiest part of the story had already been told.
“I wish that was the end,” I began, “but I have more to tell you. This morning I bought my third pregnancy test and for the third time since Saturday it tested positive.”
This time I couldn’t even gather enough courage and energy to look James in the eyes. I starred at the floor, the swirling gray and black of the carpet blurred as the tears formed in the corners of my eyes. All of my life I had dreamed of meeting a man like good looking, driven, kind, funny, light-hearted James, and now that I had found him I had messed it all up. The different memories we shared together flashed before me like a movie and I knew this was the last time I might ever get to seem him again. My eyes slowly moved off the ground and I glanced in the direction of James still sitting in his office chair. The tears had overflowed the inside corners of my eyes and flowed down my cheeks. I went to move my hand and wipe them away, but thought that there was no point if more would just fall after the ones there had been wiped away. I watched as James’s shadow grew from the small one sitting in the chair to his regular 6 feet tall profile. I sat motionless, watching the man of my dreams, the man that meant everything to me; walk out of the office and out of my life forever. I bent in half and tears began to flow at twice the speed. With my head hidden in my hands, no one could see my face and I couldn’t see anyone else’s disappointing stares looking back at me. He’s gone forever and he’s never coming back, kept replaying through my mind and just when I thought everything in my life had come to an end, I felt a warm comforting hand touching mine. At this point I didn’t care what I looked like, how much mascara was running down my face and how much snot was half way out of my nose; I slowly raised my head to look into the evergreen eyes that seemed so familiar to me. His mouth began to move for the third time since I had entered the office and to my surprise he said,
“Like I said before, if you want this to work, it can. I’m not going anywhere. We’ll figure this out together.”

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