untitled fiction – part 2

a continuation of a story first introduced here (including disclaimer info).


Part 2

As Jana held the phone to her ear with her left hand, while she tried to peel a banana with her right, she wondered whether she could have predicted this moment.  The moment when she would have to tell the truth in order to cover up a lie.  No, she had not dropped out of school.  But yes, she was going to have a baby.  Could she bring herself to say those words to a woman who had made it plain to her daughter for 28 years — 23 of which were clear in memories; she had blocked out year 8, most of 12-14, and understandably had limited recall of her first year — that she never really wanted to be a mother?  Someone would hardly have to ask about Jana’s birth or even make the slightest mention that they were mother and daughter before Bernice — or “Just call me Bernie, like my dad” — would launch into an unnecessarily harrowing tale of how Jana had entered this world: unexpectedly, on a stormy night, surrounded by strangers, and to a woman who thought she was well past child-bearing age.  “It’s why I never got married,” Bernie would say, often with a martini glass in her hand — there wasn’t always a martini inside.  Sometimes it would be wine, other times juice, and at dinner when Jana was younger and her mother would insist that she drink milk with her meal Bernie would drink hers out of that garnet martini glass.  Thinking about that made Jana smile; she quickly corrected her expression when she caught her face in the mirror and remembered this moment.  This moment was the one in which she would tell Bernie that contrary to what she had said the last time they had talked, which was over two months ago when Jana went to visit her mother for an afternoon, she had not quit graduate school and that she was still quite intent on completing her training as a clinical psychologist.  And not only that, she was pregnant.  And this was the moment she was dreading.  If she gave her mother this piece of information, then the impenetrable wall she had built around her would become weakened.  To tell Bernie that she was, herself, going to become a mother, meant that she was inviting in questions about her life that Jana was not prepared to share.  Jana didn’t want her mother to know that not only had she not followed her advice to “stay single for as long as you can, or at least until you are 35,” she had been in a monogamous relationship with her partner for more than six years.

No, she would simply say that she didn’t know who the father was.  That was something that Bernie could wrap her head around without fear of too much damage to her sense of self.

part 3 – coming soon…

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