Saturday, 4th September 2004
I was nervous all day. Ok, maybe not all day because I got up at like 1pm, but for the 5 hours before Eliza arrived I was. I like, went through my whole wardrobe trying to find something good to wear and I did my hair and makeup just to pass the time, but come 4pm, I was ready to go. I played piano and pool for another hour after that.
But then I caved.
Not on purpose though.
“Amber, why are you biting your nails?” Dad asked me, “Are you nervous or something?”
I gave him the evils, “What do you think?”
Dad laughed, “She’s probably nervous too, you know. You haven’t seen each other for a long time.”
“I know,” I groaned.
He looked at me and smiled, “I can’t wait to see how much she’s changed. I wonder if she’s still hyper.”
“Doubt it. Probably too fat to move much now,” I mumbled.
“What was that? What do you mean fat?” he asked.
“Nothing,” I said a little too quickly.
Dad put on his stern voice, “Amber. That’s not very nice.”
I couldn’t help but back chat, “You’ll see.”
Hey, he was asking for it!
“So she may have put on a little weight. That’s what happens. That’s life,” Dad said profoundly, “I won’t judge, so you shouldn’t either.”
I scratched my head. So dad says he doesn’t judge huh?
“Ok, so what if I told you that she’s pregnant?”
I watched at dad pulled a strange face.
“Eliza?” Dad chuckled, “No, I don’t think so.”
I nodded, “She’s eight months now.”
The colour literally drained from his face, “Really?”
Dad looked at me blankly for a split second, and then cussed out loud.
Whoa. That was unexpected.
Dad turned his back on me and put his hands on his hips. I have no idea why he was taking it so hard. I mean, it’s not me who’s pregnant. But yeah, it was exactly how I imagined it would go down. Definitely a good idea to give him a heads up. It would have been pretty awkward if he reacted like that in front of her.
Dad turned around and looked at the ground, “Stupid girl!”
“But you don’t judge, remember?” I reminded him, “You said so!”
“I thought she had more sense than that!” Dad said angrily, ignoring me, “What do her parents think about all this?”
“From what she told me, they are excited about being grandparents.”
“What about the baby’s father?” he further interrogated me, “Is he in the picture?”
“Yes, he’s coming tonight too,” I told him.
Dad let out a big sigh, “I need to tell your mother about this.”
Then, he walked off. I followed him to the master bedroom and waited outside while he told mum. I couldn’t exactly hear what they were saying from behind the closed door, but I could hear mum yelling at him.
I really don’t understand what the big deal is. I thought that this would happen if I was the one who was pregnant. Not Eliza. Someone none of us have seen or heard of for years. It was weird. Dad finally came out of the bedroom, completely red-faced.
“How long have you known?” Dad asked me.
Uh oh. Now I’m in trouble.
“Um… since May, “I said as I fidgeted with my hands.
Dad frowned, “Why didn’t you tell us earlier?”
“Well, she asked me to keep it a secret,” I said truthfully, “And besides, it’s her news to tell, not mine.”
“Amber, being pregnant isn’t something you should be hiding from us,” Dad said to me.
I was starting to get frustrated.
“Why should if matter if she’s pregnant or not?” I countered, “You said you wouldn’t judge. But obviously you are right now.”
“This is different-“
“No, it’s not!” I yelled, “Eliza and her family have accepted it, so why can’t you?”
He went quiet.
“Because it could have been you.”
Mum had opened the bedroom door and was staring at both of us.
I was confused, “What are you talking about?”
“You’re not a parent, so you wouldn’t understand,” Mum said firmly.
“Try me,” I baited her.
“Well, when you are in-“
The doorbell rang.
They. Were. Here.
Great timing. Really.
Dad looked at us and then began to walk towards the front door.
“Wait!” I said as I grabbed his arm, “Please don’t say anything about me telling you. I don’t want her to know I told you.”
He looked at me and slowly nodded. I breathed a sigh of relief. The last thing I wanted was for her to hate me for spilling her secret. My heart was going a million miles an hour – I was so nervous. What did she look like? Was she going to sound the same in person as she did on the phone? How would she act when she saw me?
3. 2. 1.
Eliza walked up to me and gave me a big hug. She still looked the same. But taller. And round. It was freaky.
“Wow! Look at you!” Eliza said as she let go of me, “You look so different. But in a good way!”
I blushed and took a good look at her. Ok, I had a good look at her belly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pregnant teenager before, so it was really confronting. She was wearing a black top, so the baby bump wasn’t very obvious at first. But then she turned to the side and bam!
There it was.
The baby bump.
Staring at me in the face.
It’s sooooo weird because she only looks fat from the side. It was really hard not to stare at it all night.
“Omg, is that you Amber?”
I snapped out of my little trance. Eliza’s mum came charging up to me and gave me a huge hug.
“Hi Mrs Sheffield,” I greeted her, not really knowing what to say.
“You look beautiful,” she beamed at me, “I can’t believe how much you’ve grown up. Look Graham, she’s so tall!”
“Hi Mr Sheffield,” I waved at him.
He smiled and waved back. Dad had literally had him cornered, so he couldn’t really come over to say hello just yet. That suited me just fine. Lol.
“And this is Grace.”
Mum carried her over to Mrs Sheffield and Eliza. They both squealed in delight, which frightened her and she started to cry.
“She’s a bit tired at the moment,” Mum said quickly, as she passed her to me.
“You’re a natural,” Mrs Sheffield said to me.
Mum narrowed her eyes at her for a split second, but then it disappeared.
“Uh, thanks,” I said awkwardly, “I’m sure Eliza will be too.”
Eliza beamed, “Well, I guess it’s pretty obvious that I’m pregnant! I can’t wait to be a mum. Neither can Richie.”
I peered over Eliza’s shoulder and saw a tall boy standing a little away from everyone. She waved at him to come over and she introduced us.
“This is Richard Paull,” she said proudly, “Mrs Atkins, you might know his mother? Ramona Paull? She’s Filipino too.”
“Oh yes, the name sounds familiar,” Mum said politely, “Nice to meet you.”
“You too,” he replied quietly.
“This is Amber,” Eliza directed his focus to me, “We have been friends since we were little tykes.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said as I waved at him.
“Same here. I’ve heard a lot about you,” he said as he looked at Eliza, “It was a long six hour drive.”
“Haha, he’s just joking,” Eliza laughed, “One of the things I love about him.”
I couldn’t believe how open she was with how she felt about her boyfriend! Actually, she was really open about everything. Obviously, the pregnancy came up. But she explained what happened to my parents at the dinner table. You know, how she met Richard, how he reacted to becoming a father and where they went from there. And then her parents started talking about how shocked they were at first, but now that are looking forward to becoming grandparents. I think up until Mr and Mrs Sheffield’s approval of the situation, mum and dad were putting on such a fake front that that melted once they saw how ok her parents were with it.
I think they also realise that Eliza isn’t a stupid girl either. They have a really good plan in place to make sure they can make ends meet. Which is something that most people don’t even think about. They are going to rent a place while they save for a house, and she fully plans to finish year 12 too. They’ve saved up heaps of money and have made a budget and a 5 year plan. That’s like, serious grown up stuff.
I just can’t believe how much she’s grown up! Even when I was talking to her, she sounded so mature. I like, talked to her about school, and hobbies and stuff, but honestly, nothing compares to all the stuff that’s going on in her life right now. She said that her friends have like, abandoned her and even her teachers are giving her a hard time too. Even keeping her relationship with Richard has been a struggle. But they are working through it. And I’m happy that he didn’t leave her and he manned up to take responsibility.
“You know, if I saw you walking down the street, I don’t think I would have recognised you,” Eliza admitted to me, “You look so different. You’ve really blossomed.”
See what I mean about the grown-up talk?
“And I can’t believe you have a little sister now,” she continued, “I always knew you wanted one, so I’m glad you do now.”
I laughed, “She can be a bit of a handful, but she’s not so bad.”
Eliza giggled and rubbed her belly, “I hope this one isn’t too much of a handful. But if she’s anything like me when I was young, she’ll probably be hypo!”
“Hey Eliza,” I started to say, but then I hesitated a little, “Can I touch your belly?”
Her eyes lit up and without saying anything, she grabbed my hand, lifted up her shirt and put it on the front of her belly. I freaked.
OMG IT WAS SO WEIRD!
It was… firm? Very warm too. The skin was really tight too. But I could still poke it.
She laughed, “I can tell you haven’t touched a baby belly before. Wanna know something interesting? My belly button popped last week.”
I pulled my hand away from her belly and looked at her in horror, “What?”
“Oh gosh, your face!” she laughed harder, “It’s a pregnancy thing. Perfectly natural.”
I did a double take of her belly. I could not see her belly button at all. Wow. That’s really freaky. I wonder if that happened when mum was carrying me and Grace. I should ask her.
Actually, no. No. I don’t want to know.
“So, how did the doctor’s appointment go?” I asked her, “Is everything ok with the baby?”
“Oh yup, she’s perfectly fine,” she said casually, “The only problem is that she’s the wrong way around.”
She? Eliza’s having a baby girl? What the hell does she mean by being the wrong way around?
“But… they only come out one way,” I said naively.
“Oh yes, of course. But her head should be at the bottom by now and it’s not,” she informed me, “So that’s why I needed to come down here and get it checked out and see what my options are.”
“So, what are your options?” I asked her, but not really wanting to know the details.
“Well, if she doesn’t move by the due date, I’ll have to have a C-section.”
Finally. Something I understood. I know that mum had one of those when she had Grace. I remember mum saying that it hurt to pee. I really hope that Eliza doesn’t get one – they sound really bad.
“Anyway, enough about that,” Eliza quickly changed the subject, “Have you got a boyfriend?”
I smiled and continued the conversation. You know when you’re having a good time, time just flies by? Well, that’s what happened. I don’t think that I have seen dad laugh so hard since leaving Kal. And mum was having a great time talking to Richard about all things Filipino. I think they worked out in the end that they had mutual friends, so mum was trying to find out how they were all going through Richard.
By the time they left, dad was completely drunk. So was Mr Sheffield. It was actually pretty funny. Both mum and Mrs Sheffield were laughing at them. Eliza and I were laughing at all of them. I’m so happy that she came to visit. And I’m happy that I got to meet her boyfriend too. He was a bit awkward at first, but he’s actually really nice. And I can tell that he really does care about Eliza, which is the main thing. Like, he’s not just staying her because he’s obligated to, but because he wants to. And that’s a really big thing, considering he’s a teenager too.
And I think mum and dad are ok with the whole pregnancy thing too. It was probably initially a bit of a shock to them. But I don’t regret telling them before they came to visit. I think it would have been way worse if I didn’t.
So yeah, it was a really good night. I am pretty tired so I think I’ll call it a night.
I have work tomorrow.
So not looking forward to it.