LEArNING TO FALL
This is a preview to the chapter LEArNING TO FALL from the book Fly Away Home by Maggie Myklebust.
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“What do you mean, it all worked out for the best?” I asked. “I’m just thinking of you,” he answered.
“Yeah, only sluts get married ‘cause they’re knocked up. We’ll get married someday and it won’t be because you’re pregnant.” The only word I heard was slut and there it was, the reason no one looked me in the eye, the reason no one, not even my girlfriends, talked to me about it, because I was a slut.
Silently struggling with the unbearable emptiness I’d pray every night, to the baby, to God, to the universe or anyone out there who cared, how sorry I was. Feeling there was no one to talk to and needing something to hold on to, I desperately constructed a plan. My plan was to marry Tony and have a baby as soon as I possibly could, a baby no one could take away from me. This would be my redemption.
That terrible summer came to an end, school started and I was glad for the distraction. I was a Senior in my last year of high school, would soon be eighteen and now had a plan for the future. No one had ever suggested or encouraged me to go to college, and I didn’t think an average student like me would be able to go. I always thought I’d find a job and work after graduation, but I could forget that now because Tony hated me working. He liked me to be available and was always saying, “No wife of mine is ever going to work”. I had to get through this last year of school and then I’d cook, clean and raise babies for the rest of my life… ah bliss.
Although the subject of my D. & C. was taboo, there were obvious changes because of it. My parents made no secret of the fact they didn’t like Tony, they tightened up all my curfews and made it clear, “We don’t care how old you are, as long as you live under our roof, you follow our rules”. This didn’t give Tony and I much time together and the more they tried to keep me away from him, the more I wanted to be with him. At Tony’s urging, his brother Will gave me a job at the Burger King restaurant in Brick Town which he managed. I soon quit McDonald’s and started working at Burger King, where I flipped burgers everyday after school and on Saturdays. Will gave me Sundays off, so I could be with Tony all day. The down side was I didn’t work with Ellen anymore.
The only time I saw Ellen, Donna or Annie was at school. We were all in the same first period, gym class, which we’d occasionally skip and spend over at Annie’s boyfriend’s house. Fred was older and already had his own place. While he was busy at work, we’d hang out eating breakfast, discussing school, jobs and boyfriends, mostly the latter.
Donna had a steady boyfriend, Greg, who, like Tony, had graduated the previous year. Ellen was the only one without a steady boyfriend, she preferred to play the field. We had some good discussions round that breakfast table and we’d hurry back to school with some lame excuse for being late for second period.
I worked everyday after school and Tony would pick me up on his way home. We never went out with friends and, except for school, I was completely cut off from them, it was always the two of us and sometimes Goog. I’m not sure how it happened, but little by little the tables turned and instead of Tony pursuing me, as he’d always done, I became the pursuer. I think it started because I had to be home early and was afraid he would go out and meet someone else after dropping me off. To ensure he didn’t, I’d beg him call me when he got back home. I started questioning him about the female customers at his work and one time, while having breakfast at Fred’s house, I made Annie call the station.
“Hi…Tony? You don’t know me but I’ve been in a few times for gas and I think you’re cute. Would you be interested in going out sometime?” Annie asked, in her disguised voice.
and all the others, when you
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