Monday, March 25, 2013

Book Excerpt: When Girlfriends Step Up by Savannah Page

It was a beautiful spring Sunday in Seattle. The May sun was shining, the sky a vibrant blue, and all of the flowers in full bloom; the grass, trees, and shrubs were a radiant green, and the fragrant aromas of gardenia and honeysuckle hung in the air. Yet while the great outdoors was singing its cheerful spring song, a dark and heavy cloud had settled in my apartment, and bad news and awkward vibes were raining down. Torrentially. Luckily the storm itself hadn’t lasted too long, but the ominous cloud still loomed overhead. Bad news likes to hang around like that.

For the past several hours I’d been both making amends with my long-time friend, Sophie Wharton (the storm that had settled), and explaining my latest conundrum (that ominous cloud of bad news). Sophie had unexpectedly arrived at my doorstep earlier that afternoon in an effort to repair the friendship both of us had been giving quite a beating since my sleeping with her boyfriend, Brandon. (Yes, I know. Horrible. Really horrible stuff.) I was completely taken aback by her visit, because we weren’t supposed to get together to talk about the elephant in the room until later that week. But Sophie didn’t want another lost minute between us, and, at that time, I couldn’t have needed a friend more.

You see, for the past weekweek-and-a-half or soI’d had the dreadfully awful, sneaking suspicion that I was pregnant (now enter the latest conundrum). Going on two months without a period, a girl knows something’s not right. Especially when the nasty little visitor normally arrives as scheduled month in and month out. Two months—no visitor. Serious problem.

And as daunting a situation it might be to find yourself in when you’re not married or in a committed relationship, or when you’re a single girl, or when your boyfriend will most likely high-tail it on out when he hears the news, it doesn’t get much worse than my case. I’m unlucky in love (something that my best friend Lara Kearns and I sadly have in common, which we often lament together), and I’d made a really bad decision one night. So not only was I a single girl who might have been knocked up, but I was a single girl possibly carrying the baby not of an ex-boyfriend, not even of some John Doe I slipped up with from a bar. No. I could very well have been pregnant with the baby of one of my best friend’s ex-boyfriends.

Six pregnancy tests later, each one as positive as jolly Mister Rogers, the guessing game was over. I, Robin Sinclair, was going to be a mother.

“I still can’t believe this,” Sophie said, pacing my cramped living room. “I still cannot believe this.” The shocking news of my pregnancy was still as true now as it had been just two hours ago when I sprang the news on Sophie.

I sat on the sofa, clutching one of the light yellow pillows that one of my best friends, Claire Linley, had made for me as a housewarming present when I moved into this apartment four years ago.

God, those were the easy times. All any of us had to worry about back then was passing our mid-termsor if that guy from the party last night would call us like he said he would…

“Maybe the test gave you a false reading,” Sophie said, stopping abruptly in the center of the living room. “Those things can be faulty, right?” Her face read of hope. Mine, however, had panic and fear written all over it. I know it did because the churning in my gut and the dryness of my mouth told me that I was making the face of a panicked pig going to slaughter. And the worst thing was that in a few months time I probably would actually look like a panicked pig going to slaughter. I let out a groan and pulled the pillow in tighter to my chest.

“Where’s the kit box?” Sophie walked towards the kitchen.

“There are three of them,” I said, no life behind my words.

With all three boxes in hand Sophie started to read over each set of instructions. She looked determined. That was Sophie—always taking (and needing) control. This was one particular thing, however, over which she would have no control. Neither would I.

“Honestly, Robin,” she said, not looking up from the instruction sheets. “These home kit thingies can be faulty. I’ve read many stories about girls who take these tests and get false positives. It happens a lot. Just pick up a copy of Cosmo and those kinds of stories are all over the place. Or tune in to MTV.”

“Oh forget it,” I said, a hint of life coming back into my voice. “I’ve taken six tests, Sophie. Six. Every single one of them is positive. Who am I kidding?” She looked over at me. “I’m pregnant.”

Sophie took a seat next to me. “I took four of those stupid tests before you got here,” I said. “All of them positive. And you saw for yourself those last two. Positive, positive.”

It hadn’t taken long to break the news of my possible pregnancy to Sophie when she arrived that afternoon to make amends. A girl can’t keep that kind of news to herself, even if the woman with whom she was sharing such news played a difficult role in the whole ordeal. Once the initial shock subsided, Sophie did what I least expected she would do in such a desperately pathetic situation. Instead of running out of my apartment, screaming profanities and calling me every whorish name in the book, she embraced me in a tight hug and promised that everything would work out fine. Then she handed me one of her homemade cupcakes she’d brought over. “Comfort food,” she’d said, as I picked at the sweet frosting.

Then, finally, came the sudden moment of shock for Sophie: One of her best friends was pregnant with her ex-boyfriend’s baby. Damn. She looked fearful for a while, scratching her head and pacing the floor, as if trying to figure out a solution to a problem that had no solution. Then a calm settled once again, and good ol’ Sophie came around. Before I knew it she was whisking me back to the local drug store to pick up another home pregnancy kit because “there is just no way this is possible, Robin. We need to make sure!”

“I’m pregnant, Sophie,” I said, resting my head on her shoulder, limply holding the two most recently positive test strips. “I know it.” I waved around the strips. “You know it. Now what the hell am I going to do?”

After a brief moment of silence, Sophie said, “We are going to take care of this. We are going to figure this out.” She ran her fingers along my back, giving me some relaxing chills. “Robin? I have to ask something.”


“Are you positive it’s Brandon’s baby?”

“As positive as all those damn tests, Sophie.” I sighed heavily, tossing the strips aside. “You know me. Unlucky in love. I’ve been closed for business for a long time. The only misstep was that night with Brandon.” I stopped speaking, not wanting to inflict any more harm on Sophie. Having had a one-night stand with Brandon was enough damage; I didn’t need to draw her a picture of the night’s events.

“Well then, there’s just one thing we have to do for starters,” she said, still running her fingers along my back. “We have to tell him.”

About Savannah

Savannah Page is the author of the continuing When Girlfriends… collection and her travelogue and first book, Bumped to Berlin. When she isn’t writing, Savannah enjoys a good book with a latte and jazz tunes, Pilates, and exploring her home of Berlin as an American expat.

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