Four Letter Word for Promiscuous
Safiya hauled ass out of T.U.G.’s newsroom as soon as Jack took Garner into his glass-encased office. She wasn’t ready to see him. Not yet and not like that, that being her current situation, which was gigantic. She loved her size two body, flaunted it in crop tops and mini skirts. Her gleaming princess crown belly ring was the emblem decorating her ultra-flat stomach. The belly ring was no longer her abdomen’s window dressing. She discarded it a month ago when her belly button popped out. Aside from the weight gain, there was the exhaustion. She was asleep by seven every night and it didn’t matter where she was. She could be at the diner, coffee shop, or the library. Her eyes shut as soon as seven rolled around, which is why she stopped driving at night and taking evening runs. Even now as she waddled down the maroon and slate brick quad a yawn escaped her mouth.
“Safiya!” A voice shouted her name. It wasn’t just any voice. She knew that husky voice. It was the voice that made her say yes when he ask her out. She stopped as she heard his rapid moving feet strike the balmy pavement. She wanted to run but there was no way she was going to get away from her former running partner with a stomach like Santa Claus.
Safiya didn’t turn around. She watched the people stroll passed her, students on their way to class, back to their dorms or to the cafeteria, and faculty chatting with colleagues. She inhaled a heavy anxiety filled breath as she tugged at the white tee sticking to her swollen belly.
“Excuse me.” Garner expressed as he accidently bumped into a trio of professors engrossed in a discussion about grants that would fund their research endeavors. “Safiya!” he huffed as he bounced in front of her.
Garner’s eyes bugged out like a beetle as he studied Safiya stomach like yesterday’s mechanical engineering notes.
“Garner,” Safiya called beckoning his attention. His eyes rolled up, connecting with hers. “You’re hand has healed nicely.” She pointed to his appendage trying to draw attention away from her newly change physical appearance.
“Cut the BS, Fiya!” Garner seethed putting his once wounded hand in the back pocket of his tan cargo shorts. “You’re pregnant.” His other hand tightened around the strap of his messenger bag. “Let’s talk about that.”
“Let’s not.” Safiya ran her hands through her midnight hair pulling it over her shoulder. “This isn’t the place.” She shifted her eyes over the hordes of busy people engulfing them.
“Fine.” Garner took hold of her hand then led her off the even pavement to the grassy plain speckled with students reading, studying, and chatting. He stopped under the shade of a weeping willow. “Isolated enough.” He proclaimed letting her hand drop out of his.
Safiya knew it wasn’t a question so she kept her mouth closed. Instead her chestnut eyes were trained ahead on the weeping willow’s swaying branches. She didn’t want to have this conversation again, not for the third time. The first time she had the I’m Pregnant talk wasn’t with Carter Russell but with Hector Madera. Back then she wasn’t the woman she was today. Back then she was a scared girl hiding in the bathroom, sitting on the side of the tub with tears raining on the pregnancy test that read positive. Five minutes later she sent Hector a text and met him in the park and in that park they decided at eighteen they really didn’t love each other that much. They didn’t share enough love to get married because once word reached their parents of their situation the elders would make them tie the knot. They didn’t love each other enough to decline their scholarships and not go to college. So, she did what she had to do. She went to the bank, withdrew some of that graduation loot and went to the clinic where the doctor withdrew from her something she wasn’t ready for.
“Speak.” Garner snapped his spindly fingers drawing Safiya’s gaze back to him. “Is this why you broke up with me?”
“Yes.” She quickly answered.
“You weren’t going to tell me you’re pregnant?”
Garner gripped his sides staring at her in disbelief, “You were going to have my baby and not tell me.”
“Yes.” She frantically shook her head as his eyes seared into her pupils. “I-I mean no.”
“Which one is it? You were going to tell me or you weren’t,” He held out his hands like the platforms of a scale.
“I…I” Safiya stumbled over the right words to say. This wasn’t pregnancy fog; her heart was in a panic. For two months she cared for him a lot, too much to tell him that she didn’t love him as much as the man that held her heart before him.
Garner sensed her hesitation, “You weren’t going to tell me.” He groaned grasping the top of his head then rubbed them over his slacken face, “This is why you freaked out about my age…baby.” He inched closer to her, reached for her hand. Safiya quickly rested her hands behind her back. “What?” He asked. “I’m not my dad. I’ll take care of my responsibility.” He reached for her hand again.
Safiya stepped back, out of the appeasing shade of the tree and into the vicious heat of the sun. “I know you’re responsible.” She cleared her throat asking God to give her strength. A kick punted against her stomach as the baby inside her shifted. Safiya placed a hand at the base of her belly, “But this isn’t your responsibility.”
Garner shook his head, “You’re not raising my baby without me.”
“I’m not.” Safiya glanced down at her belly then back to him, “This isn’t your baby.”
He blinked erratically. He raised his hand then covered his mouth with it. “What do you mean?” His hand dropped. “How can…” His voice trailed off as his brain pieced together the puzzle she splayed out before him. “You cheated on me.”
“No! God, no!” She exclaimed.
“Then, I’m not following. How is that not my baby?” He pointed to her stomach.
She inhaled deeply, “It was before you.”
He took a step back stumbling over a tree root. He placed his hand on the trunk of the tree regaining his balance. “You were pregnant while we were together. While we were having…. sex” He whispered. “You were pregnant. Damn! Safiya. I guess I wore those condoms for no reason.” Safiya cringed. He continued, “I knew you were an around the way girl but—”
Safiya’s round eyes narrowed, “Come again.”
“An around the way girl, you know.”
“I know what it means. And I’m not easy.”
“I didn’t mean that.” His cheeks began to burn. “I just mean you get around.”
“I. Get. Around.” She blazed like the fiery star in the sky.
“No, not like that. You’re twisting my words.”
“Then say what you mean because you just called me a whore and a slut. Finish the trifecta and just call me a bitch too!” She threw up her hands in surrender before he mouth opened again. “Spare me. Keep it. Don’t say another word. Fuck you!” She roughly combed her hand through her hair. “Shit! I already did that and I regret it. Every minute of it. Fun fact Garner, the last time I faked it. All sixty seconds of it! Adios, Hijo de puta!” She waddled away turning her back on the expletives he shot her way.