Beads of sweat formed on my lips and brow. My body quaked with pain as I tried to control the impending sounds of embarrassment. Oh, dear God! What did I eat? My stomach churned and gurgled. I arched my feet and pressed my toes hard against the bathroom tiles in hopes to minimize the pain. The baby flipped and kicked me in the lungs knocking the wind out of me. Oh, Lord! Help me not make a fool of myself. It’s not supposed to happen like this. My bowels shifted and dropped, and though I felt relief, I was mortified.
It was my wedding night.
Earlier in the day he had asked me if I could go away with him on a business trip. I knew my mother would refuse. Even though I was of age, I didn’t want to shame her anymore than I already had. I was great with child and fresh out of college. He and I wanted to marry, but my mother asked us to wait. One of us was willing, but the other wasn’t. We switched roles depending on the day.
So Mom gave in on the advice of a friend. “You never keep love apart,” she said. “If they love each other, let them marry” she said. Oh the woes of well-intentioned, uninformed advice! So off we ran to the courthouse to sign a marriage license. While there we found business cards for justices of the peace who could perform the ceremony and within two hours found a gentleman who was willing to oblige. We took our hasty selves down to the local mall, ordered a pair of wedding bands, purchased nice outfits, and drove back to my mother’s house to get dressed.
I found this lovely Chinese collar silk blouse and skirt set. I was never much of a fan of red, but the size 10 skirt fit nicely under my rounding belly. Chinese brides wore red, so why shouldn’t I? It was a sign. This was meant to be. He found a basic white sweater and black slacks, and off we went on a cold February afternoon to our 10-minute ceremony. I was certain he loved me. I was certain that the tear he cried would ensure me and my baby a secure future. I made my vows and meant every one. We paid and thanked the gentleman for his services and off we went on his business trip. Our first night together as Mr. and Mrs. in a small hotel… cheap dinner… no chance in heck at a honeymoon… was divine in every other sense. I didn’t mind what we didn’t have. I didn’t mind because our love was official. I had papers and a ring being made to prove it.
So after our consummation (if that even means anything considering we had so much practice beforehand), my guts began to stir. I. Was. Sick. And I sat on that toilet for a good part of the evening. I showered in shame and cheap hotel soap and climbed my bare, pregnant self into bed to sleep. Good wives don’t do that sort of thing.
The next morning his phone rang with a cheery chick voice on the other end. I ain’t like that heifer. I knew she wasn’t to be trusted. He shared the news and her high-pitched “oh-that’s-so-nice-congratulations” muffled past his ears to mine. It was phony. I knew because immediately after she cheered she began whispering again. I ascertained the following…
He hadn’t told his boys. He hadn’t even told his father.