I had enough money for a pouch of champion ruby but not enough for the pregnancy tests. We had to rummage through my draws and the ashtray in the Hilux to gather up the shrapnel. Maddy wasn’t happy about any of it, but she was broke as well and just as much at fault. She had her arms crossed and her head rested up against the window in the front seat next to me. The window was cracked just enough so that the smoke from her cigarette slipped out but the drizzling rain didn’t come in. She watched it intently as she blew out thin plumes of grey smoke contributing to the greater atmosphere outside. Her pink lipstick from the night before had clearly been slept in but still popped against the grey scale weather that leaned back against her from the other side of the window. Her mascara was smoky but it suited her short blonde fringe. I liked it that way, she was much too pretty when we would go out, this was a more honest aesthetic and I found it much more attractive. The freckles under her pale blue eyes had a direct effect on the world around them. They would direct sunlight towards them or it always appeared that way to me, as if the sunlight itself was attracted to her cheekbones. She seemed troubled but to a normal amount given the circumstances. It still made me sad to the point where I felt the need to alter her mood. The problem being that if I was to cavalier in my attempts to cheer her up it could have been perceived that I was undermining the severity of the situation. She was coming down off a two-day mdma and alcohol binge at Mardi gras festivities and I was in my usual hungover state. I felt the need to nurture her and tend to her needs the way she did for me whenever I got stuck into the social narcotics. I could never handle the comedowns yet still indulged in them liberally every other weekend. She was needy, neurotic and narcissistic. Beautiful, intelligent but had been told too many times that she was beyond her years. I asked her.
“What would you name this demon spawn of ours if you had to keep it.”
“Why on earth would I have to keep it?”
“I don’t know, just humour me.”
“I don’t delve into hypotheticals Colt you know that.”
“Fuck, alright, what names for children do you like?”
“I don’t know I’ve never really thought about it.”
“Well take a minute and tell me when you finish your cigarette, this traffic isn’t going anywhere.”
The road was soaked in the oil-spattered reflections of light from the crawling river of traffic. Our journey felt more like continental drift than a regular traffic jam. My mind started to wander on the hypothetical of having children. Where would we live? What would we feed it? Would we be a couple? Would we get married? Would I have to get a better job? Would I ever travel again? Would we have to move to some decrepit, gang riddled outer suburb just to afford rent and food for this genetically tormented child? My depression and family history of drug and alcohol abuse coupled with Maddy’s anxiety and stubbornness wasn’t the kindest hand to deal to any conscious life. I lit a cigarette and asked away.
“So what if you are pregnant?”
“Then I will take care of it. Don’t worry Colt you’re not going to end up fathering my children.”
“Hahaha ok then that’s fine with me… Ass.”
“We have broken up and gotten back together so many times it’s obvious we can’t live with or without each other.”
“Something has to give.”
“Yeah well it’s not this. For all your intellect and charm, your pub fights, gambling and depression are not worth it.”
“Whatever we’re nearly there and you’re not pregnant anyway.”
“I know my body asshole.”
We eventually got to the shopping centre after crawling through the thin ruptured streets of Marrickville. We got stuck in traffic again on the way back and by this time Maddy had had enough. She badly needed to pee and never had patience with the vapid intelligence that Sydney motorists exhibited on a daily basis. She had worse road rage than I did but always smiled and laughed after she gave someone a mouthful as if the whole situation was a free forum for comedic abuse. She had the most charming smile and laugh and it always broke my heart knowing that the sound and image would eventually belong to someone else’s ears and eyes. For them to hear and see potentially forever and for me to remember as a memento of misguided love. It was for the best, we were never good together. She came over late and loaded while I was high listening to jazz or I would go to hers in the morning after a night of straight no chaser drinking and make her late for work. We lived miss matched lives, the timing was never right. We were bad socially as well. Always running off somewhere to fuck or testing the boundaries of public affection.
We arrived back at my terrace house. It was dark and devoid of natural light. Maddy raced into the bathroom with the pregnancy tests swinging from her arm in a plastic bag. I stood at the door for a moment and then heard the sound of her peeing and went back to the living room to sit in my armchair. After five or so minutes of chain smoking in my armchair she came out with three plastic strips all with the same smiling face on the little plastic windows.
“Ok, then how much does the abortion cost?”
“I don’t think I can kill a defenceless life form.”
D. R. Holmes