I knew a young woman in college. When I saw her around campus she was always smiling and funny. She tended to stay on the outskirts of crowds but when approached she was fun. When I’d see her at parties she was often drunk. Not just tipsy. Drunk.
We weren’t tight but knew each other well enough that if we saw each other at a party we’d typically meet at the keg at some point, make some sarcastic comments, and move on. But that pretty much sums up most of my interactions throughout my youth. I dropped my punch line and moved on. The moment I speak I’m looking to exit the stage. I moved on.
One night I was making my way out of a party in some dorm and I saw her sitting on the curb. It was actually something of a miracle I saw her at all because she was a little thing huddled between two cars and out of the lamplights. I figured she was getting sick from drinking too much. I figured I’d make a funny comment and move on. I approached her and I was ready with some snarky comment but then I noticed she was crying.
She looked up and tried to make a joke but I interrupted her by asking, “hey, what’s wrong?”
She sat silent for a minute staring down. Finally, without looking away from the ground she told me she was pregnant.
Oh, I said. I honestly had no idea what to say so we sat there in silence for a few minutes. Finally, I sat down.