There was a point, many many years ago now, where I spent a night with a girlfriend and we were both convinced she was pregnant. I say “convinced,” but the correct word to use, the only one that actually explains how it felt at the time, would be “terrified.”
She wasn’t a girlfriend at the time; she was an ex, although we’d get back together after this — as a result of this, really — and the split would be blurred out of our shared story as an awkward, uncomfortable inconvenience. But I remember the night we spent together, neither of us able to sleep, our minds spinning silently, separately, about what it would mean if she really was pregnant.
In retrospect, the details surrounding everything slip away and feel almost fictional. I know there was one night of this uncertainty, this Schrodinger’s Pregnancy, but I can’t remember why, why it was one night and then we’d know: was it that she was late, and we couldn’t get to a store to buy a test until the next day? Had something happened? I genuinely can’t remember. All I remember was that night, the lying next to each other awake and quiet, thinking to myself what if what if what if.
Both of us were still in art school, both of us not ready for the reality of being parents. Looking back, neither of us even had an idea what that really meant despite being uncles and aunts at the time. I spent the night with that hopeful, childish thought that maybe it would all go away and everything would be better in the morning. Surreally, the next day, we found out that she wasn’t pregnant after all; my pleas to the universe being answered.
I found myself thinking of this the other evening, out of nowhere, with the sudden realization that, had things turned out differently, had she been pregnant, that kid would be older than I was when everything had happened on that night. Suddenly, I felt older.