How Mo Met Bob Part Four
The following is a work of fiction
Mo didn’t know what the hell was wrong. One morning, she went in for her shift and was greeted with the overwhelming smell of stale beer and sweaty feet. She asked the janitor if there’d been a spill somewhere that he’d neglected to clean. He said no. She asked every customer who came to her desk if they smelled anything funny. They said no. She sprayed air freshener all over the rental shoe racks. The potpourri and sweaty feet scents wrapped around each other, sucker punched her nostrils, and stirred around in her stomach. Next thing she knew, she was face down in a toilet stall, looking at the eggs and sausage she’d had for breakfast. This went on for three days before Ms. Fran, one of her favorites in the Senior League that bowled every Thursday afternoon, saw Mo leaving a stall, clutching her stomach and said “Oh, I remember that feeling. I couldn’t keep a damn thing down when I was pregnant with my oldest.”
The word “pregnant” sent her right back into the stall.
Back at the front desk, she checked the date. March 15, 1983. Sure enough, her period was three weeks late. “Son of a bitch.” It couldn’t be real. Maybe she was just stressed. Or her cycle was changing. She probably had some stomach bug someone brought into the bowling alley. She wasn’t having anybody’s baby. Even as she repeated the sentence in her head, Mo pulled my phone book out of her purse and looked for her doctor’s phone number.
A week later, Mo sat on the exam table, studying the fresh coat of blood red nail polish that decorated her toes. Red was Bob’s favorite color and when she wore it on her feet, he’d give her toes special attention with his tongue. She couldn’t believe she spent so many years not wanting to screw older men, because good Lord, that man knew what he was doing. Dr. Morgan re-entered the exam room, clipboard in hand. “Well, Monica. Congratulations.”
“Congratulations as in ‘Yay, I’m not pregnant’?”
She frowned. “Oh, well I don’t know. But yes, you are pregnant.”
Gotdammit. A baby. A fucking baby. “How long?”
Dr. Morgan studied the contents of her clipboard. “Looks like about eight weeks.”
Quick math led her back to the middle of January and landed on January 12th. her twenty-eighth birthday.
Bob went all out, arriving at her apartment in the early afternoon, his black 1980 Benz gleaming against the grey air and dingy snow on the ground. She’d watched him from her window and couldn’t believe there was a time when she wasn’t attracted to him. She got excited every time she watched him step out of his car and make his long, easy strides toward her door. He was smiling that day as he walked into her place, arms full of shopping bags. “Try some of this on and see what fits,” he said in his signature cool, even tone as he settled onto her couch. He whipped out a small package and spilled its white contents on the coffee table. By ’83, he’d developed a thing for coke, which Mo didn’t mind. She preferred to be mellow over jumping around like a maniac so she stuck with weed. “Then pack a bag,” he said. “We’re going to Niagara Falls.” Between him being hopped up on coke and her being so turned on by the gifts, it was a miracle they even made it out of the apartment, let alone all the way to Toronto, but she made sure he saw plenty of waterfalls before they hit the road.
Shit. No wonder she got pregnant.
“You’ll be due for a follow-up appointment in about six weeks,” Dr. Morgan said, pulling her back to reality.
Oh, no, the hell she wouldn’t. “What if I don’t—you know…”
The doctor nodded and for a split second, Mo saw judgment in her cobalt blue eyes. “Well, you do have options. I’m gonna give you some literature to look over and have you give me a call when you’ve made some decisions.”
On the drive home, she went over the facts: she was twenty-eight years old. Out of her mother’s house. She made decent enough money. Well, decent for her. She didn’t know about a baby. She liked kids enough and always got a kick out of the way her nine-year-old niece’s eyes lit up when she called for “Auntie Mo.” Didn’t have a husband, but shit, it was 1983. Hadn’t needed a husband to make a baby. Whining about needing one to raise a baby seemed stupid. But what about having a baby with someone else’s husband? Shit, even in her world, that was wrong. How the hell did she explain that to a kid?
How the hell did I tell Bob? Half the reason he and Daisy fell apart was because she up and got pregnant after he said he was done having kids. He’d already had two teenagers: a daughter from his first marriage and a son with a mistress during that marriage. Not to mention he was damn near fifty. What the hell would he do with a baby? Besides, she and Bob, they weren’t good people. Babies were for couples with picket fences and women who did homemaker shit. A kid deserved better than them. Then there was Daisy. How did Mo know she wouldn’t go batshit crazy and try to kill her or something? Or worse, hurt the baby? Was she supposed to walk around the bowling alley all swole up for everybody to see? This couldn’t happen. She had to get rid of it.
To be continued…