Minding Her Business
We follow a twenty-something female through her weekend in which She examines the age-old question:
Hath Her Birth Control Doth Failed Her?
5:27 am: She rises with a start – before her alarm – at the sound and sight of thunder and lighting. Her mind immediately goes to the image of traffic on the interstate. She rolls her eyes, Perfect – traffic will be a shit show. It’s fine, if She gets on the road by 7:15 She should be in the clear and well on her way to call her boss at 7:30 for feedback on her presentation.
5:28 am: She checks her phone: some rando from Bumble called her at 2:37am. And followed up with a text asking for tit pics. God no. Shut it down.
5:37 am: She hasn’t gotten her period for a sixth day beyond it's due date. Fuck. Okay, this is fine. You only just got that IUD four months ago. This is totally normal…but wait, is it? The last time I had sex with Him, we used condoms…and that was, like, a month ago. AND I’ve had my period since then...I think? She shakes her heads and shudders. Yeah, totally. It’s fine.
6:13 am: As She dries her hair, She feels a tickle of something at her torso: sweat. She’s been perspiring excessively ever since the IUD was placed. She thinks back to her oh-so-loving best girlfriends who teased her mercilessly all through junior high about her proclivity to sweat through absolutely everything. Maybe this IUD hormone transition has sent her back into a quasi-pubescent state? Excellent. What can I wear today that’s business casual but also won’t show inevitable gigantic pits stains?
6:16 am: Her makeup is melting off her face as She applies it.
6:27 am: Okay, what do I need between now and Monday? As She packs for her weekend staying with her best friend, She considers what She’ll need for the unavoidable run-in with her ex, the birthday party that evening, the meeting with her accountant on Monday morning and a potential last-minute client presentation. I can always borrow something from Erin’s closet if I really need to. But can I fit a third pair of shoes in this bag, just in case?
6:55 am: She is nearly finished making breakfast when She thinks What if I get my period this weekend? She jams a handful of tampons in her purse as She laughs to herself, A Boy Scout is always prepared! …Wait no, fuck that – a BOY Scout would fill a bag with Flaming Hot Cheetos, edibles and BandAids. A GIRL Scout would have everything packed for every possible scenario, plus an extra pair of shoes. ALL HAIL THE GIRL SCOUT.
6:56 am: Fuck, I Would kill for A Samoa right about now.
6:57 am: What if I actually don’t get my period this weekend? Suddenly the reality of being a week late hits her. Should I take a pregnancy test?Normally She’d have the wherewithal to talk herself off the ledge, but this morning has left her feeling hapless. There is no possible way: He wore a condom, I have an IUD, and the doctor said it would be effective just two weeks after it’s implanted in November. But what about that whole “ectopic” thing?...
As She stands in the middle of her kitchen, rendered immobile from grasping at scientific straws for her knowledge on the effectiveness of IUDs, She couldn’t help but think: No man has or ever will have to deal with this. No man has ever felt his insides do a giant-drop plummet with the realization he might be growing another human being inside of him. And god forbid She WAS pregnant, what the fuck to do with that reality in a time of unending student loan debt, garbage career options and the very real possibility of losing any healthcare that would have otherwise been a beacon of hope amongst the financial chaos? The anger and injustice of it all causes a nausea-inducing heartbeat in her ears. At just before 7am, it already felt like a morning no guy would ever have.
7:02 am: For the sake of her mental health, She resolves to go to the fucking drug store on her way out of town, just in fucking case. Sorry, Beyoncé, I’d rather not be crazy.
7:23 am: She pulls into the Walgreens parking lot and realizes the breakfast and tea She made herself is sitting uneaten on the kitchen counter. Shit. She scurries inside and buys the test, praying She doesn’t run into anyone She knows, casually throwing in other miscellaneous items along with the e.p.t. box in hopes that the lovely middle aged female cosmetics assistant is none the wiser.
7: 24 am: That’ll be $33.79. Damn, peace of mind is expensive.
7:31 am: As She merges haphazardly onto the highway through the seemingly unending downpour, She remembers the call with her boss. At 72 mph the call connects just as a semi-truck nearly merges into her in the left lane. She wonders to herself why, exactly, She agreed to this call during the height of rush hour? Because you’re a doer, dammit – you’re a woman who gets shit DONE.
7:54 am: The feedback from her boss is positive. God-willing this test isn’t.
8:46 am: She pulls up outside of Erin’s apartment building and She unloads her belongings, the e.p.t. box plummeting into a massive puddle… Fuck. Drenched, in part from the rain and in part from the unyielding hormonal sweats, She barrels through the rain and up the stairs.
8:52 am: Okay, just drop all this stuff right now and take this test. She shakily unwraps the e.p.t. box and goes through the motions. Was that all the way on the stick? Yes, okay, visual confirmation. Two minutes is all it needs...but I’ll give it five.
8:53 am: She changes her sweat-stained shirt for a second time, all the while realizing her weekend bag’s contents is that of a Sherpa embarking on a trek up Everest:
- (1) Wool sweater
- (1) Pair of thermal leggings
- (2) Sets of workout clothes (Ha!)
- (7) Pairs of underwear
- (67) tampons
- (1) Banana
- (3) fucking pairs of shoes
8:53 am: She washes her face in preparation to redo her makeup since everything has melted off.
8:57 am: Negative. Totally, completely negative. PRAISE JESUS! She tucks the test into her suitcase on the floor just to be safe and check it again later that night, because it could change right? Like on that one episode of “New Girl,” or was it “Friends”? Then a flash of reason…Did I just place the fate of my reproductive health on mediocre sitcoms? Get it together.
8:59 am: Her phone buzzes as She starts back down the stairs to her car. It’s her ex: “Are you still coming by for your stuff this morning?”
Fuck, it’s 9:00 already?! She told him She would come grab the last of her things from their shared apartment – er, ex-shared apartment – by 9.
9:00 am: Self-consciousness takes over as She checks her reflection in the rear view mirror as She drives toward her recently vacated residence.
9:09 am: She makes awkward conversation with her ex as She quickly collects her things and stuffs as much as She can into her car. She really doesn’t want to have to come back for another round, as her ex has taken on an extremely polarized persona when She’s found herself in his presence: it’s either over-exuberance or utter despair. Today, it was a dose of truly confusing and exhausting over-exuberance. Thank God, it all fits in my trunk – time to get the fuck out.
9:17 am: She parks her car and heads to the train to finally get to work at her favorite coffee shop in the city. Peace, tranquility and dark roast coffee here I come….
10:32 am: An unusually put-together couple is seated at the communal table where She has set up shop for the day. Her headphones in, She realizes they don’t know She can hear everything they’re saying: “Is She really just sitting her working while we try to eat? So oblivious…." "Well, it’s not my fault we got seated at the communal table.” She purposely types louder and takes a phone call.
Please leave, you over-quaffed morons.
1:17 pm: Fielding a call from a client, She is roped in to a mini-crisis in which a vendor threatens both her and her client with legal action. It takes her mind off her own day’s mini-crisis for roughly twenty minutes.
3:14 pm: She uses the coffee shop’s pristine bathroom for a third time. Still no period. What the fuck is going on? In college, when Kelly got her IUD, She talked about how getting your period with one either means you’re pregnant or that something is wrong…so maybe it’s actually good that I don’t have it. Goddammit, it said negative! You’re fine. You’re sweating– like a man–but you’re fine.
6:02 pm: She leaves to meet a male friend for a drink before heading back to Erin’s to get ready for the night. She starts into explaining her frenzied morning of tampons, exes and hormonal perspiration. Male friend laughs along absent-mindedly and orders another round of drinks.
10:37 pm: Back at Erin’s apartment, She checks the test from earlier: still negative. Take THAT, Zooey Deschanel.
10:41 pm: She assesses the items from her suitcase and frowns: I hate everything I packed. Erin senses her unease from across the apartment: “Feel free to grab something!"
Crap, I hope I don’t sweat through Erin’s clothes….
10:44 pm: As She readies herself for their night out her phone lights up and His name catches her eye; her stomach flutters at the thought of kissing him again. She never anticipated being so shaken up by Him, but She can’t help but fantasize about where the night might lead. Erin encourages her to text Him back so they can meet up, because they’ll be out in the same neighborhood for the birthday party, after all.
Erin’s right – what the hell, life is short. I guess this whole “late period” thing is a blessing in disguise after all. Moments later, they set off on their evening.
1:13 am: Their friend’s birthday party is hours of meaningless small talk and one shot of whiskey too many. After a truly uncomfortable run-in with her ex for the second time in less than twenty-four hours (this time he opted for despondence), She and Erin bolt out the back door to meet up with Him and his friends at a bar nearby. They each grab their last drinks for the night and Erin grins her infamous, all-knowing grin at her – a grin only those who know Erin very well can read. She nods at Erin and they laugh. “Dude, it’s totally fine! Head out with Him whenever you want, I’ll grab an Uber back.”
1:46 am: As they finish off their drinks at the bar She feels her gaze lingering on Him for just a little too long. Her stomach flutters again. God, he’s funny. I feel like the more I’m around Him the more I’m attracted to Him…. Erin ends up leaving with one of his friends for late night pizza. Perfect.
2:21 am: She’s at His apartment, and they're kissing. He is so good at kissing her, and She loves how tall He is…and how He combs his fingers through her hair….
2:32 am: “Shit..." he says, "I don’t have a condom. Does that bother you?”
Oh, for fuck’s sake. Another unprepared Boy Scout.