Pregnant w/ Dee

I remember the first time I felt my daughter move
Sitting on the tattered basement apartment couch
across the driveway, waiting for my breakfast share of 
banana fritters - a Sunday specialty 
at Tina and Michelle's house
I was probably 
four months

We hung out all the time 
sometimes partying 
through the astronomical night
My friends and me 
with Dee 
in my belly

I shift immediately
upright in my seat 
a hand on my belly
I think she moved
Tina drops the spatula
runs over for a feel
Michelle is there too
We wait expectantly
what else is there to do
Did you feel that ...

Disappointment in stereo

She feels like butterflies 
fluttering their wings
I smile
Tina returns to 
a burnt pancake
not worthy of anyone's plate

I used to have a bachelor pad
at Wellesley and Church
Dad got that apartment for me
At sixteen
Happy to be alone
sleeping on the floor
with my antenna radio 
and shadows for company

I'd walk to work 
the Eaton Center 
in the bedding and bath section
of the department store
Folding flat and fitted percale sheets
bath, hand and washcloth towels
keeping the shelves neat
Helping ladies navigate the floor
(Hmm ... don't men need to sleep)
Becoming a cashier
taking my lunch breaks in the cafeteria 
sitting by myself, watching customers
and employees enjoy themselves
I can't remember why I wasn't in school

Well-meaning adults can still be so cruel
Hello! I see how you look at me
I am not a child! 
You don't know me!

Every day on the way home
walking up Yonge Street
I'd stop for the best 
French croissants 
at La Maison 
on the corner of Gerrard
Or pizza dinners 
from The Big Slice
Food on Yonge
and then ...

I had to leave my bachelor pad
because the smells emanating from the vents
made my morning sickness last all day and night

And as she grew 
those butterflies' wings
gave way to
surprisingly strong
zebra kicks
(Do babies ever break your ribs)

In between
at every stage
I'd reference
What to Expect When You're Expecting
A book my dad gave
I'd hang out in the bookstores
at the library, admiring pictures
of unborn babies
Always excited 
about my next ultrasound
the sights and sounds
Dee's father would accompany me

Then the leases 
to our basement apartments were through
and I found myself
in my last three months
chilling out in
Flemingdon Park
at Sharon's townhouse
Waiting for my one bedroom
on St. Dennis Drive
Adjacent to 
Dee's father 
and family

(not sure how that came to be)

His mom and my mom
and even he - heavily
"suggested" that an 
abortion was best for me

What are you going to do about it?
A single sentence and a killer look
from my mother

Well-meaning adults can still be so cruel
Hello! I see how you look at me
I am not a child! 
You don't know me!

I'm not ready for a baby - said he
(but you're ready to add another girlfriend, I'd bet!)
(there's always time for fun and intercourse that leads to sex)
And when his mother laid eyes on me, she was furious
outrageously angry - like I was ruining her son's life
And mine ... I innately knew Dee and I would be just fine

At some point, the moms got together to discuss the "situation"
and the best they could decide on was ...
a wedding ...
(now that! would ruin my life)
What a disaster that would have been ... imagine me
tying a knot to a boy
an immature man
who runs through women
like how water departs from a sieve
with unapologetic ease

Well-meaning adults can still be so stupid
in their infinite traditional wisdom
Hello! Are you crazy!
What kind of a life would that be!
Are you even thinking of me!

But I didn't care about any of them 
or none of that
I made my decision
long before they knew
A talk with my dad 
got me through
And he never told me 
what I should
or shouldn't do

I was stubborn
and insistent
In the end
their anger 
and disbelief
settled into a

I don't care what you think of me
You never took the time to get to know me

Then finally 
Dee came along
Five days late
Worth the wait

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