Have you ever been hit by memory so hard that your brain falls off its chair and for a moment you have to wonder whether it’s real?
I was barely a teenager, but already filled with angst. I remember this younger version of myself, my hair pulled back in a low pony tail and my teeth looking larger than life.
And then there is this part of that memory, where my friend, someone just as young, just as innocent, tells me that she is pregnant.
“How did this happen?” I remember asking her, knowing she had a boyfriend who was already sixteen years old.
“We had sex. My parents were fighting and I ran out of the house and went to visit him. He comforted me, and then we had sex, and now I am pregnant” she said, her voice, I remember, was filled with fear, “I don’t know what to do, I can’t tell my mom”.
I couldn’t help her, I couldn’t think of anything to say to her, I was still hung up on the idea of sex. At that stage I hadn’t even been kissed.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yes” she said.
“How do you know?” I asked, sure that she had to be wrong, we were children after all.
“I can feel it” she said, and placed her hand tenderly against her stomach, which protruded just a little.
We stopped whispering about it and discussed other things, likely Avril Lavigne, Dragonball Z or Harry Potter. I immediately wanted to tell my own mother, to find out the truth, to get adult advice and then I all the parents in the neighbourhood knew each other.
“Go tell a teacher” I told her, “They will help”.
“No, I can’t”
Weeks passed and we never spoke of it, until one day when she said, “I took lots of tablets last night.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Just tablets I could find at home. I want to lose the baby” she said.
Days went by and we didn’t speak about it, I think subconsciously, I didn’t want to know anymore. It was all too much for my twelve year old brain to process.
The next thing I remember is her telling me that she had lost the baby. I didn’t ask for details and she didn’t offer them. Soon after, she left the school.
Years later, she seems happy, according to Facebook, at least. We don’t talk, we occasionally like each other’s posts, but whenever I see her name pop up, I still wonder whether it was true, whether this young, confused child dealt with something that life changing all by herself, confiding only in her friend who knew even less than she did.
I think about myself now, if someone that young came to me now and told me the same thing, how better equipped I am to deal with it and help her.
I wonder if she’ll read this.
UPDATE: I got in touch with her, as it turns out, it was all a joke. She was silly enough to joke about it and I was silly enough to believe it. Kids!