And then I find it. The tiny T-shirt I bought that night. The one I was going to give to Drew—to announce the big news.
I stare at it and I feel the tears come. I trace my fingers over the letters: FUTURE YANKEES PITChER. And in my head I see that little boy again. My sweet little boy.
The one with his father’s eyes and irresistible smile. The one that will never be. I bring the shirt to my face and inhale. And I swear to God it smells like baby powder.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” My shoulders shake and a monsoon pours down from my eyes. My breaths come in gasps, and I clutch the shirt against me—the way a toddler does with his favorite stuffed animal. “Please . . . I didn’t mean it. I was just scared . . . I wasn’t going to . . .”
I’m not sure who I’m talking to—myself, or my baby, or maybe even God. I just need to say the words, so they’ll be out there and real. So the universe will know that this was never how I wanted things to be.
Delores rubs my back, letting me know she’s there. That she’s behind me, like always. I turn to her. And with my head against her chest, I cry my heart out.
“Oh God, Dee. Please . . .”
“I know, Kate. I know.”
There are tears in her voice too. Because that’s how real friends are—they share your pain. Your agony is theirs, even if it’s not in equal measure.
“It’s okay . . . it’s gonna be okay,” she tries.
I shake my head. “No. It’s not. It’ll never be okay again.”
Delores’s arms wrap around me tight, trying so hard to hold me together.
“Why? I don’t understand. Why did this happen? Drew and I are . . . and now the baby . . . and it was all for nothing. Nothing.”
I told you I’d be asking why again, remember?
Delores smooths my hair down. And her voice is calm. “I don’t know why, Katie. I wish I could tell you . . . but . . . I just don’t know.”
We stay like that for a while. And eventually, the tears die down. I make my way back to the bed and Delores sits beside me.
I look at the little shirt again and shake my head. “It hurts so much.
I never knew anything could feel this bad.”
“Is there anything you want me to do, Kate?”
My eyes leak quietly. And my voice is frail. “I want Drew. I want him here.”
If the world was like it’s supposed to be, he’d be here. And he’d be just as devastated as I am. he’d try to hide it, but I’d know. he would climb into this bed with me, and he’d hold me and I would feel safe, and loved . . . and forgiven.
And he’d tell me that this just wasn’t the right time. But that if I want a baby, he’ll give me a dozen. Drew is really big with the overkill.
And then he’d kiss me. And it would be gentle and sweet. And then he’d say something silly like, “Just think of all the fun we’ll have making them.” And I’d smile. And it would hurt a tiny bit less.
Just because he was with me.
Delores nods and reaches for the phone. But my hand covers hers—stopping her. her eyes look at me with understanding, like she already knows what I’m thinking. And she probably does.
“he’ll come, Kate. You know he’ll come.”
I shake my head. “You weren’t there, Delores. he was . . .
vicious. I’ve never seen him so angry. It was like . . . like he thought I was picking the baby over him. Like I’d betrayed him.”
I close my eyes against the memory. “he’ll be happy. he’ll be glad the baby’s gone . . . and then I’ll hate him.”
And even after everything that’s happened—I’m just not ready to hate Drew Evans.
Delores sighs. And her hand moves away from the phone. “I think you’re wrong. I’ll be first in line to point out what an idiot Drew can be, but . . . I can’t imagine him ever being happy about something that’s hurt you. Not like this.”
I don’t answer her, because the door to my bedroom opens.
And Billy walks in. he looks tired, his face is somber, and I know my mother’s told him.
I shake my head.
“Yeah. I figured as much.” he sits down in the beanbag chair and rubs his eyes. “This is just . . . totally FUBAR. And when really f**ked-up things happen? All you can do is get f**ked up right along with it.”
That’s when I notice the bag he brought with him. It’s supermarket brown, and bulging.
he picks it up and dumps some of the contents out. There’s a few bags of weed, a carton of Marlboro reds, and two bottles of tequila. I stare at the honey-colored liquid. And I think of Mexican music, and warm skin, and midnight whispers with Drew.
I love you, Kate.
I look away. “I can’t drink tequila.”
Like Mary Poppins with her bottomless bag, Billy reaches back in and takes out a bottle of Grey Goose.
And I nod slowly. “Vodka works.”
Have you ever licked the floor of the men’s room at Yankee Stadium? Neither have I. But now I know just what it tastes like.
Yep—we’re hung over. It’s hell. Forget the drones; if the army could unleash this feeling? There’d be world peace for all.
I’m in the office of my mother’s gynecologist. Billy and Delores came along for moral support. See us there? Lined up in the chairs, like three delinquents waiting outside the principal’s office. Delores is wearing sunglasses even though we’re inside, reading a pamphlet about the new female Viagra. Billy’s asleep, mouth open, head tilted up and resting against the wall behind us. My mother’s here too, flipping through a magazine without reading any of the words.