Black and white chains from a swing set set against the sky. 
“You are indeed pregnant.” The girl nodded her head, resigned.

She already knew.

Her mother started sobbing. Great, body wracking sobs with tears streaming down her face.

“Mom. It’s just a baby.” The girl rolled her eyes.

“YOU are just a baby!” Her mother snapped back. “I wanted so much more for you..”

To my right there was gleeful male laughter. I turned around to find the teenage boy sperm donor staring intently at his phone giggling over some apparently hilarious YouTube clip.

“Hey!” I snapped.

No response.

“Hey!” I said louder. Giant red headphones covered both ears. 

Still no response.

I slid my wheeled chair over and covered the screen with my hand, causing him to finally tear his eyes away from the screen to meet mine.

“Take off the headphones and turn off the phone or get the hell out of my office.” I almost shouted.

He shrugged, indicating he didn’t understand what the big deal was, but he lowered the headphones to his neck and tucked the phone reluctantly into his pocket anyway.

“That was incredibly disrespectful.”

“Sorry?” He offered defensively but made it clear he didn’t really mean it.

“Not to me. Disrespectful to the mother of your child.” His eyes widened. “Yes, you are going to be a daddy. Pay attention!” 

He was not cowed. In fact, he developed an almost imperceptible swagger. He had marked his territory in her. 

She was his forever. 

Oh, there would be others. Many others. In fact, I had seen this fellow before, dozens of times, at various stages and various ages. This pregnancy had not been accidental as far as he was concerned. It had been a calloused, calculated move. 

I hated him.

In a matter of minutes, he had pulled the phone out of his pocket and was watching something else, though this time without the headphones and he was careful not to laugh.

They were all out the door after we had discussed prenatal vitamins, finding an OB, and the meds that were off limits during pregnancy.

Happy fifteenth birthday.

I could see in the girl’s eyes that she loved him still, somehow, but that would just be a matter of time…


124 thoughts on “Childhood

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