“Claire?” I yelled as took off my coat and tossed it on top of my backpack.
I heard a sniffle come from the tiny bathroom in our dorm room. Pushing the door open, I found her sitting on the shitty yellow tile, surrounded by pregnancy tests with tears and snot running down her face.
“What’s going on? Is this some kind of experiment for one of your classes?” I asked dumbly.
“I drank an entire gallon of milk in less than three minutes and did you know cows don’t take pregnancy tests? A farmer sticks his hand up a cow’s ass and feels around for a little ball of baby cow in her uterus. You have no idea how glad I am that I’m not a cow. No one needs to be up to their elbows in my anus,” Claire rambled as she wiped the tears from her face.
“What in the actual fuck are you talking about right now?” I asked in horror, trying to get the image of an entire human arm shoved up a cow’s ass out of my head.
“No need to fear, pasteurization does NOT mess with the hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or in layman’s terms, HCG. This hormone is produced right after a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of a woman’s uterus and OH, MY GOD I feel like I’m in fifth grade health class all over again and I WANT TO DIE!” she wailed as a fresh set of tears started pouring from her eyes.
Kicking the pile of plastic tests out of the way, I got down on my knees next to Claire and pulled her into my arms. She sobbed and mumbled random facts about sperm and I reminded myself to tell her at a later point to stay the fuck away from the library reference books. No good can come from those things.
I reached down with one hand and picked up a test from the pile and sure enough, a big, fat pink plus sign was right smack in the middle of it. My heart dropped to my toes and I felt like crying myself all of a sudden.
“Maybe the tests are wrong. They could be wrong, right? Women get false positives all the time. I saw it on Oprah,” Claire rambled as she snot all over the shoulder of my shirt. “This one woman thought she was pregnant and when it came time to deliver, she found out it was a giant tumor. Maybe I have a tumor? A tumor masking itself as a baby. Both of them could suck the life right out of me and make me want to die, but I think I’d rather have a tumor. You can remove a tumor and never have to see it again. You can’t do that with a baby, right?”
I tossed the pregnancy test down onto the pile of others and rested my cheek on top of her head. “I hate to break it to you, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a tumor. I don’t think you’d get twenty-seven positive pregnancy tests out of a tumor.”
“Thirty-two,” Claire mumbled. “I took five at the grocery store while I drank the milk.”
We sat on the floor of our dingy bathroom and I let her cry it out for a few minutes before I spoke again.
“Are you going to tell me who the rat bastard is so I can chop off his balls?”
That just started a whole new round of wailing and crying from Claire and I did my best to calm her down, but nothing worked.
“I’m a slut! I’m a dirty, dirty slut! I had a one-night stand at a frat party and I didn’t even get his name! I’m the girl parents warn their daughters about. They’re going to put my face on a billboard telling teenage girls what NOT to do. MY LIFE IS OVER!”
I turned to face Claire and grabbed her shoulders, forcing her to look at me. “Stop it, right now. No one talks about my best friend like that, got it? I shouldn’t have pushed you so much to lose your virginity to the first guy who came along. It’s that douchebag’s fault for not using a fucking condom! We are going to get through this, Claire. You’re going to dry your eyes and stop the girly crying shit. You’re stronger than this! You are a total badass and I am not about to let you wallow in misery. We’re going to get up, get out of this bathroom and go hunt this motherfucker down.”
She nodded her head during my speech, so hopefully I was doing something right. I didn’t even bring up adoption or abortion because even though Claire never ever wanted to have kids, she was definitely pro-life and one of those women who owned up to her mistakes and took whatever consequences came her way, including having a baby.
Jesus Christ, my best friend was going to have a baby.
“First thing we’re going to do is feed you. Have you even eaten anything today?” I asked as I got up from the floor and pulled her up right along with me.
“Are we counting the milk, because I’m pretty sure an entire gallon should be considered its own food group.”
I shook my head at her and she sighed.
“Well, I had seven sticks of string cheese and an entire loaf of bread before I went to the store to buy the tests,” she replied. “Also, we’re out of bread. And string cheese.”
I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and led her out of the bathroom. “I’m going to call Jim and see if he can do some detective work to find out who this guy is. If anything, we’ll just go back to the frat house during the day when there’s a chance of them being sober and see if they know who he is.”
“Just promise me you won’t kick his ass,” Claire begged.
“Why the hell shouldn’t I kick his ass? He knocked you up and never even told you his name,” I argued.
“We were drunk! It’s not like I told him my name either,” she fired back. “He was nice, Liz, really nice. I was the idiot who snuck out of the bedroom the next morning and did the walk of shame out of the house.”