I was getting anxious. Kattie had not shown up all day and I was starting to get worried. She had been complaining that she had not been feeling well for the last few weeks so she had her mother get her a doctor’s appointment for around lunch time today. I had planned on picking her up this morning, as I usually do but she had texted me saying she wasn’t going to school, which was completely out of character for her. I had tried texting her several times during the day, earning me some very unhappy glances from several teachers, but got no response So here I sat in Geometry class, not paying attention to Mr. Zimmer and staring at the clock. As soon as the final bell rang, I was out the classroom door, only briefly stopping at my locker to grab my coat and ran out the side entrance to my car.
After weaving my way through the post school traffic, I pull up to the non-descript rambler that sat a few blocks from school that Katie and her mother Barb lived in. Katie’s dad had taken off when she was ten leaving her mom to raise Katie all by herself. They struggled but always seemed to have enough. Sure, Katie had to work to help out but she was making good money out at Lefty’s and was trying to get me a job. I rang the doorbell and waited. Eventually Barb came to the door. “Hi Mrs. Fahey, is Katie around?” Barb just looked at me with a very unhappy mien on her face,
“Yeah Alex, she’s in her room. Maybe you can talk some sense into her.” Barb told me as she took another long drag of her cigarette. As I passed by Katie’s mother, I could smell the Jack Daniels that she had obviously been consuming. I headed down the hall and knocked on Katie’s door.
‘Go away Mom” Katie called from behind, obviously crying. “I’ve made up my mind and you’re not going to change it.” I could hear a mixture of sadness and anger in my best friend’s voice. I knocked on the door again.
“Katie, it’s Alex. Can I come in?” I asked through the closed door. I heard nothing from my friend so I stuck my head in and saw her laying on her bed, curled up in a ball clutching a teddy bear. I instantly moved over to her “Hey what’s going on?” I asked.
Katie just laid there, not saying a word. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I just tried to comfort her the best I could. I rubbed her back for a bit until she finally looked up at me. “It’s over Alex.” She told me.
“What’s over?” I asked.
“My life.” Katie stated before burying her head back in to her pillow. I sat there. How could her life be over? She was sixteen. I asked if she was seriously sick and she told me “uh-uh’ without raising her head. I continued to think. What could cause this reaction. I couldn’t come up with anything. After a minute, it hit me.
‘Are, are you, um, pregnant?” I asked. The answer to my question was a louder stream of crying. I was dumbstruck. I knew Katie had seen a few guys and I knew she was not a virgin, but pregnant? I thought she was on the pill? I asked her that very question. She told me that she had stopped right after school started because it was making her sick, she was in the process of switching doctors too, so she was waiting to get that doctors’ advice. I took a deep breath and asked whose it was.
“Noah Hanson. Remember that Halloween party out at Isabel Franks’? We both were drunk and would up in her parent’s room. Biggest mistake I have ever made. He was an asshole after that and a bigger asshole just now.”
‘You told him?”
“Yes, and he told me it wasn’t his. Then he called me whore!” Katie wailed again. But these comments still didn’t explain Barb’s comment to me. I asked what was up with her mother. Katie looked up at me. “I’m going to have the baby.” She told me with confidence in her voice. That was the issue. Barb wanted Katie to have an abortion. I never had really thought about it, because I never thought it would be an issue that I would be confronted with.
‘I always thought you were pro-choice Kate?” I asked.
“I am.” Katie said. “My choice is to have the baby and give it up for adoption.” I asked what changed her mind and she told me. “I kind of thought I was pregnant and I took a test the other day. I have been thinking about it and I realized I have a life growing inside me. How can I take that away? I know I’m not ready to be a mom, but someone else is so I figured I could work with someone to find a good family. It’s just that my mom doesn’t want me to keep it.” Katie finishes, but then begins yelling. “But she thinks I am going to keep it and she will be stuck being a grandma at 37!” The two of just sit there for a second. Finally, I speak.
“So how can I help?” I ask.
Katie looks up at me. “You don’t have to do anything. I can handle this on my own.”
I look down at Katie and with all the conviction I can muster and tell her “No you can’t. You need help. You will need a coach for birthing. You will need someone to make sure you are eating right and taking the proper vitamins and stuff. I’m here to do that. Katie, you are like my, no wait, you ARE my best friend and if you need help, I’m here. So how do WE get started?” Katie sits up and wraps me in a big hug and whispers a thank you into my ear and tells me that I am her best friend too. She lets go and sits back in her bed. I look at her again and ask with a grin on my face “So do I call you Juno now?” I am met with a punch in the arm and told to shut up which is followed by a laughing snort out of my best friend as she fights back a runny nose. I come up with a line to follow up my Juno comment. “You know the next time I see Noah, I’m going to punch him right in the wiener.”
Katie laughs even harder. “That was the best line of that movie.”
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