We talked without stopping about Kira, the Black girl who wore the belly-expanding jean overalls, and Sharon, the smoker out by the rock who disappeared from school, finally. We weren’t supposed to, the ones who pooled our McDonald’s money to get to $150, who skipped school and lied to our mothers and said it was cramps that kept us home the next day. (Well, it was, but not period ones.)
We knew we shouldn’t talk about them, the girls who waddled, though no one every said not to, but we did, oh we did. They flung their illegal sex in our faces, after all. They advertised their sanctimonious decision down the high school hallways, past the girls stuffing their looks into their lockers, the boys who fell silent at the rebuke: wear the damned rubber, asshole, even if it takes longer to finish.
Still, one and then another of us wondered how Kira had that courage, that placid and self-contained look in her eyes as she refused to look back at us. Sharon missed too many days, an inconsistent messenger, maybe vomiting maybe too exhausted maybe not brave enough. That Black girl, though, with her belly in overalls over in the Art Wing, fingers stained with blue or red paint, an artistic vision shimmering around her like the Madonna, we would never forget her.
Even when we gathered $175 the next time, and $200 senior year, and even when we drove the Pontiac clunker our brother Ken lent us that scraped with a loud screech, the smashed-in bumper against the oversized wheel going over the bump into the Planned Parenthood parking lot, without a boyfriend, just two girls, and lied about how many weeks, we thought of her, the bravest woman we’d ever met.
“Fuck if I’m gonna have a baby,” we said, thinking but not talking of how Kira came back at the beginning of the year, more beautiful than ever. We heard her mother took care of them, her and the baby, we talked though we knew we shouldn’t, though no one ever said not to. She came back older, somehow. Her art won an award, we heard.
Our mothers would never take care of us like that, though we never said, instead we talked about ruining our chances of college, of never graduating, of the shit storm our fathers would rain down on first us, then on the boys, he’d kill us, he would slay us, no the worst thing would be. Them finding out.
But then they divorced anyway, the mothers and the fathers, and would it have mattered? We did not drive them to divorce, it was the cheating and the drinking and the bitter unending hatred that welled up inside our houses and drove us out, drove us out to the party where we drank someone’s red solo cup of we don’t know what and we laughed when Ryan or Dave or maybe was it Slechta locked the door of the bathroom and shut off the light and fucked us and only after did we say, asshole didn’t even use a rubber.
Yeah, even now, that Black girl, Kira, Kara, Kristin, is the one we don’t talk about, only think about when we count down the years and think we could’ve had three grown kids by now. Instead of none.