One sunny, clear day a couple of months ago, I was running errands, feeling energetic and cheerful.
I got a phone call from my little sister. (My sister is 29 and lives a couple thousand miles away from me, but we are very close.) She said she had something surprising to tell me. “How would you like…to be an aunt?” she said.
My eyes welled up at the stoplight. “Are you serious?” I asked. I was surprised because my sister was, at the time, training daily to get her black belt in Krav Maga. She hasn’t spent much time talking about a desire for children. Also, she’s in a relationship with a bloke she’s frequently been unsure about. Nonetheless, I felt a surge of happiness on her behalf when she confirmed it was true. “Are you happy about it?”
She told me she was. “You know what’s strange?” I said. “I am very attuned to my cycles and all that, and I’ve been waiting four days for my period.”
“Wouldn’t that be weird?” she said.
“Yeah. But it’s probably just stress or something.”
Inside the grocery store, I called my boyfriend and told him the news. He was also surprised, but seemed positive about it. I didn’t tell him that I myself was purchasing a two-pack of home pregnancy tests.
Back at home in our little one bedroom apartment, he was sitting at the desk doing some homework for a class he’s taking. I walked past him into the bathroom with the little box.
“Are you taking a pregnancy test?” He sounded shaky.
“Yeah. But don’t worry. It’s just to make sure.”
I peed on the little stick, whose tip reminded me of one of those invisible ink markers from elementary school. I put the cap on it and set it on the sink while I waited atop the closed toilet seat, watching it.
The first line appeared immediately. And in only a matter of seconds, a faint second line was starting to materialize. I thought it was my imagination. But a few seconds later, the second line was almost as dark as the first. I referred to the box as a guide. “Two lines = pregnant.”
My heart stopped. I didn’t know how to feel.
I walked outside the bathroom and set the positive test in front of my boyfriend at the computer. Then I began pacing. “Oh my God. What the heck? How?” I was bewildered. My sister had just told me about her pregnancy an hour ago, which was enough of a shock, and now this?
My boyfriend said, “Is this a joke?”
“No,” I said.
“How did it happen?”
“I don’t know!” I felt a spark of happiness but also a flood of terror. I didn’t want to appear too happy, in case he wasn’t happy. For some reason I worried he’d think that I planned this without him, since technically I’m the one who is supposed to be vigilant with charting my temperature and cervical fluid and making sure we use birth control accordingly. I flopped face down on the bed. Then I sat up again and looked at him.
His face looked disoriented for a second, but then a smile broke through. “Well,” he said, “I guess we’re doing this.”
I walked over and hugged him tightly. He hugged me back. Something in me felt like I should apologize, God knows why. I didn’t. I just looked at his gorgeous face and breathed it in, not knowing what to say. Then I got up and poured myself a glass of water.
“I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to finish this homework before I can really process this,” he said, turning back to his books.
I took a picture of the positive test and texted it to my sister with the message You’re never going to believe this.