Tough Decisions- A Short Story

“I’m pregnant.”

She said the words but they didn’t sound real, like a breeze passing over your ear that sounds like a whisper. She repeated them, visibly getting more angry that I was not saying anything. What could I say? What was she expecting from me, from this incredibly mind numbing news.

I know what she wanted; it’s what every woman hopes is a man’s reaction. Well, the one’s who are in love. My current reaction, or lack thereof, must look to be of one contemplating how to get out of this mess. It wasn’t that, not really. I did like her. I think I may even love her. But what do I know about her other than her mother hates me and her sister likes to tell her that I’m “no doubt” cheating on her. This is not going to go over so well with them. Least her stepfather seems to like me. I think.

I don’t even know if I want kids with her. I mean, this wasn’t about having fun. She’s a great woman. But as time progressed she got more annoying, and adding a kid to the mix is only going to make things worse; might even drive me so nuts my eyes will begin to stray. Much like my own father.

She reminds me too much of my mother. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve been told all through childhood I should meet a woman like my mother. But my mom is as annoying as she is, probably why those two get along so well. I’m not too happy about that. It’s fine that they’re cool, but, having similar personalities is just…

She crossed her arms as well as her eyebrows waiting for me to speak, my mouth barely managing to stay closed so as to not utter something I may regret. I need time to make sense of this. She had time to work up the moment to tell me; why can’t the man be given time to digest it. No, women expect us to be aces about the situation while they’ve been sitting a month or so on the information and suddenly spring it on us over our favorite dish. They butter us up with a nice time then wham chaos. Suddenly when a man can’t get his wits about him at the drop of a hat and express his enthusiasm over the news that he will be a father he “ain’t shit.” Sometimes they know he “ain’t shit” but we’re supposed to change for them? What- you cook for us, clean our apartment, throw that ass in a circle, and we’re automatically married?

Outside of the sex part, that shit makes them out like they’re our mothers. Ironically that’s the last thing they want- to be treated like they’re our mothers, I mean- and drill the fact that they’re not into our heads that now that they’re going to become one it’s going to get worse.

I knew this would eventually happen; I’d meet a woman after striking out so many times with my preferred type that the first one who came along seemed like the right kind of “settle down” material I needed until someone who at least looked better came along. She wasn’t the package I’d hoped for but nothing is wrong with hers in the first place. Still, I knew one day I’d get a Latina who’s “a few extra pounds” in their variety of being thick/chubby who resembles my mother pregnant. How am I supposed to be thrilled by this?

“Carlos, fucking say something. I just told you I’m having your baby. The least you could do is act happy. Goddamn men.” She huffed while again crossing her arms, this time tapping her toe against the kitchen linoleum floor.

I’m scared out of my mind. She wants me to be excited and one part of me feels like I should be. I’ve thought about being a father to the kids I’d make with her before. But is this the right time? Women might say “it’s time when it comes” like that makes sense. Then when the kid pops out of their stomach how many men have gotten so freaked out they ditched on them despite the fantasies of fatherhood? How many got as far as holding the sloppy mess, looked into its eyes, knew they felt an overwhelming sense of love for it, but still left?

Fatherless men grow up on the fact that since their father isn’t around it’s their duty to become dads; a man better than those who are absent. Another point that makes no sense while adding an unprecedented level of pressure on us. Sure I don’t want to perpetuate the cycle, but, what if that’s what’s meant to happen? How many times have I looked at her and knew should this scenario ever play out that I’d be ready? Too many to count. Yet look where we are. It’s here, and I’m ill equipped.

Enough of this. I took a deep breath, watched her sudden pause and anticipation, and said-

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