Breadcrumbs

So, about five weeks ago I lost my virginity. It wasn’t anything like I’d expected. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t like what you’d see in the movies—hot steamy raunchy sex like in Mr. and Mrs. Smith; where you both go at it like sex deprived animals, tearing off clothing, bouncing from wall to wall until you both eventually end up naked, and satisfied on the kitchen floor. The kind of sex that you brag to your friends about at school the next morning.

But it wasn’t like that at all. Instead, it felt awkward, and he was nervous, and I didn’t know how I was supposed to move, or…sound. He kept asking me if “it” felt good, and I kept reassuring him that it did, even though it didn’t. It lasted for about six or seven minutes, but it felt longer. Like time had stopped and we were both caught in some spider’s web; our movements forced and unnatural, and we thrusted and twisted until it was all over. He rested over me panting with his mouth open, looking this way and that, trying his best to avoid eye contact.

***

             And today, the stick tested positive. I’m pregnant.

“Shit!”

I place the pregnancy test, and two others, in a hand towel and wrap them up. That’s the third positive result. I turn the faucet on, wash my face, and before I exit the bathroom I flush the toilet.

“That’s the third time you’ve been in there today.” My dad turns his attention away from the basketball game on TV to look me up and down. “You look sick. Like you haven’t slept in days. Everything okay?”

“Yes, Dad. I’m fine. I ate something bad, that’s all.” I conceal the hand towel behind me. He looks through me with his dark brown eyes, hoping to catch a nervous twitch or glance, anything that would give away the lie I was telling. He takes another sip of Coke from his perspiring cold glass filled with ice and returns his attention back to the game. “Well, you need to eat something before you pass out.”

He’s right. I can barely stand let alone talk. My jeans, which are already a size zero, are too big. And my shirts fit baggy, like they would if I wore a boy’s shirt. I must’ve dropped at least fifteen pounds by now. My mom is starting to worry, but eating is the farthest thing from my mind. Then, my mom walks in. With her hair wrapped in a cap, while rubbing cocoa butter on her face.

“Nikki! Look at you! What the hell?”

My mom is just like my dad; they’re both loud, and to the point. When they argue, it’s like two pit bulls going at each other’s throats. Eventually, my dad will admit defeat. But that’s only after my mom threatens to take away his “play time.” They still act like I’m clueless about what that means. But that’s the beauty of having two strong black parents—you’re just as stubborn as them.

“Mom, can we not do this right now. I’m not feeling well.”

“You’re thirteen years old, Nikki. Of course, you aren’t feeling well, you haven’t been eating, and you look like you’re about to pass out.”

“I told her that!” My dad shouts from the couch without taking his eyes off the game.

“Seriously, Mom. Just drop it.”

She gives me a look like the one she gives Dad, and I give her the same look, so she backs off. “Dinner is almost ready, go wash up.” On the way up to my room I discard of the hand towel in the kitchen trash can.

***

             A month goes by, and I’m barely showing any signs of being pregnant. I’ve managed to keep it a secret, but I’m worried about my mom. My dad’s intuition isn’t that great. Every day he steps out on the porch to smoke a cigarette after dinner, and every day there’s one less cigarette in his carton. I started taking two cigarettes a day to calm my nerves. But my mom, she’s like a damn hawk. She’s going to figure it out. She’s still giving me shit about how I need to gain weight.

The other day, my mom caught me hiding food inside a napkin. And this morning, she forced me to step on the scale before I left for school. She flipped when the scale weighed me in at 62 pounds. As I walked out the front door, I could hear my mom crying, and talking to someone on the phone. I can’t keep this a secret for much longer.

***

             Later that night, I lock the door to my bedroom, and stand in front of the mirror. I pinch the fat around my waist and frown. Before bed, I puke in the toilet. The night before I did the same thing. I use a pen because my fingers are too small. But I’m worried my parents will catch on. I don’t know what scares me more—that they’ll flip out when they find out I’m pregnant, or when they realize I’ve been purging intentionally.

At three in the morning I awake in excruciating pain. I rush over to the bathroom clutching my stomach with both hands, and I notice blood travelling down my legs. I collapse on the bathroom floor—the laxatives I took earlier still in my shorts pocket.

***

             That was a week ago, and I’m still here at The Lakewood Ranch in upstate New York, a treatment center for young girls with eating disorders. Things are getting better, but I’m having a hard time coping. My parents visit me almost every day. I love them very much. They saved my life, but I still cry every night. I lost the baby. I stare at my reflection in the bathroom mirror wondering what he or she would’ve looked like. Then, I force myself to vomit.

Photo by Devon Wilson on Unsplash

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