Community Advocacy and Support by and for Young Mothers

No Child of His by Julie Cushing

you are riding home in the car of someone you call friend but really isn't, getting in much too late from the most recent party/rave/get-together that undoubtedly required you to exchange money for mediocore memories. your teeth are furry and your makeup is smudged and a mood clings to you like the smell of mud and piss and ash, a mood your limited vocabulary only allows you to name as sad. you worry that something is wrong with you. do your friends feel this too? you feel cheated, there, that's a good word, cheated. you wonder why your life isn't as satisfying as alarmist newsweek articles would have you believe, or if they are right when they say on the next page that the drugs you did are putting holes in your brain and causing horrible deformities in that fetus you are trying your damnedest to forget.

is this all there is? you ask yourself. you broke down the door into the taboo wonderland of drugs, sex, loud music and non-stop fun and it's nothing but a movie set. you buy pills with happy faces on them that rob you of your own natural highs. you do stupid things and the good times are clouded by the come downs, you form alliances with kids who don't even give a shit about themselves, let alone you. you go home days, weeks, months later, hunched over and burnt out. you feel disconnected from nature, which is ironic since you are doing something so primal as carrying a child. your body's biology and desire to propagate the species trumped your brain's ability to judge this as Not The Right Time to become a mom. everything feels so manufactured. you don't measure time by the sun or the moon, days are divided by when you slept last, that is to say, disordered and irregular, decided by what sort of drugs your friends, and maybe you too, have ingested. the substances you put in your body are made in laboratories by men with rubber gloves and cleaned out by cops in Haz Mat suits. drugs are nothing but chemicals that cause reactions in your brain. seratonin, methylenedioxymethamphetamine, dopamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, etc etc etc.

shouldn't happiness be more mysterious than that?

no matter, the residue of cocaine addiction keeps you jumping from one half-processed thought to the next, so you don't have to worry too long. you move from the inside of your body to the outside where the lines seem thankfully less fuzzy.

there is a hand on your thigh, a hand belonging to your "boyfriend." he'd probably think the belonging extends beyond the hand into your thigh, into your body, into everything but that wretched womb. that place where the baby lives, the one that "can't be his" despite the fact that he spills his seed in its doorstep nightly. all of his actions convey ownership, even as he leaves you alone in crowds to go spit out lines and stare down shirts. you don't know why you bestowed on him the title of boyfriend, as he never respected you enough to make anything official, but you have trouble with the idea that he could knock you up and not even be tied down. something about the milk not being exercise in futility. you know already he can run even with that ball and chain.
he leans forward, breathing cigarettes and liquor into you, and you don't turn away when the fingers of smoke threaten to gag you and bring up whatever food you managed to grab as he honked impatiently from the car. your car. the look in his eyes is hungry. you could almost think he loved you right now. at least, the bottom half.

every night like clockwork he plunges his dick into you like a sandpiper digging for food. you lie back and think of england and the only thing flooding you is relief as you feel him come. happy that you've crossed that off your to-do list, that maybe he's sated enough not to run off to another beach, to the acne-pitted hooker that is washed-up at 21 and probably more empty than you are. you hope he won't crawl out of bed later, on a journey to collect diseases to give your unborn child because you are too scared to ask him to wear a condom.
you find counterfeit joy in his rare "doing things for you," things that would occur without question, or not occur, with argument, if he were anybody else. things like remembering to buy crackers with your money at the gas station you drove him to after he woke you up for a slurpee run in the middle of the night. you find misplaced power in pleasing him, in giving him blowjobs or buying him presents. you mistakenly think that if he likes the cigarettes you buy him or the feeling of spurting come down the back of your throat, he must like you too...

you pretend it's strength that keeps you by him, martyr-like, that you are "putting up" with his ways, rather than suffering at his hands. when you are most honest, you see how much your "strength" resembles weakness. "you are nothing special" you tell yourself (an echo of him?) you are just a girl with an asshole boyfriend. that story is common and tired, it's the subtext of every male-female interaction there ever was. he's just mean, you say, it's not like he hits you. you don't even question that you have to first recall if he has.

he has fucked you and curled up as far from you as possible. you think more clearly at night, lying on the bed, couch, floor, back seat of whatever friend (that word again) has let you in. you think about the baby, try and imagine it sleeping in the space between you. you laugh at your brain's little pun, for, despite the fact that you've united sperm and egg, swap bodily fluids on a regular basis, and spend nearly every moment together, there is really nothing but space between you. he only ever expressed an interest in your thoughts when there was a direct line between that and pussy, and even the pussy's lost its value, it seems. you attempt to picture him caressing a downy head, talking about baby smell. it's impossible. you go so far as to think he might be missing the barrier that prevents humans from eating their young. you lay your hand on the flat space of your womb and it feels hot. is this child angry? does it know what you are thinking, that you fear you might hate it, and you know you hate its father? is it using all of it's energy now to try and will itself into your fully waking conscious? you take a chance and place his hand there too. "feel that?" you say, your voice cracking with the emotion you tried to hide. he takes it as an invitation, grabs your crotch roughly, "i feel THIS."

sometimes when he fucks you, he refuses to kiss you. it's an effort to put you in your place, to make you feel like the "whore that you are." he told you once that the world begins when he wakes up and ends when he falls asleep and this sort of narcissism colors everything he does. he probably thinks you got pregnant on purpose, that every woman is jumping at the chance to bear his legacy.

as stupid, as naive, as immature and infuriating as you are there, you know no child of yours will ever call him daddy.