I was just your average teenager. Then I got pregnant.
"I don't know what to do; I'm so scared, Spencer. I'm so sorry. What do we do?"
"I ... uh ... " There was still nothing for him to say. He was petrified.
"Let me come get you," I said. "I'll take you to work. I need to see you."
"I ... uh ... okay," he muttered.
"Okay, I'll see you soon. I love you, Spencer."
"I ... uh ... yeah, I love you too."
When I got to Spencer's house, he was already waiting outside. He stared at me, scared as hell, as he ambled across the street and got into the passenger side of the car. As soon as he shut the door, I grabbed him and hugged him tight. He squeezed me back, and we sat like that for a little while as I cried on his shoulder. As I raised my head, we gazed at each other, and he kissed me gently. I think I noticed a few tears taking form in the corner of his sad blue eyes, but he quickly shifted his gaze to the world outside his passenger window.
As I drove him to Neato Burrito for his shift, I told him about my conversation with the nurse. He listened intently. When the car finally stopped, I took a deep breath and we made eye contact again. He looked frightened, overwhelmed, confused and helpless. After a short silence, he inquired, "Are you pranking me?" Leave it to Spencer to resort to an inside joke.
I smiled for the first time that day. "No, Spencer," I laughed. "I'm certainly not pranking you."
But then it got much more serious. I could tell there were a million thoughts running through his mind, but only one came out. "You need to get an abortion," he insisted.
Whoa. That hit me hard. I'm pro-choice, yet it's a choice that I don't think I'd ever be able to make. I remember having discussions with my two best friends about what we'd do if we ever got pregnant in high school or college, and even before I was "sexually active" I always felt that every child deserves a chance. I felt I was already past that choice, but considering how high the tension was in my car, I felt it best to keep that to myself.
"Spencer, just ... just stop. I don't know, I ... " I trailed off.
"No, Jen, seriously. I can't do this. I can't be a dad. I'm not ready. You're not ready," he stammered. The emotions were overflowing like water through a broken dam. "You have to do it. I--I--we can't. We're 18."
"Spencer, I just found out. We'll figure it out; just don't do this right now," I begged.
"Jen, I'll give you the money," he tried to explain. "It's still just a cell, Jen. If we do that, everything can just go back to how it was and ... "
"No, Spencer. No!" I exclaimed. "It will never just go back to how it was. I'm never going to forget this and neither are you. This is my child. This is our child."
"We are not ready to be parents, Jen! We can't do this! You're crazy!"
"I'm not crazy. Just calm down. We'll figure this all out; I promise. I just found out."
"Fine. I have to go. I guess I'll talk to you later," he muttered.
"Spencer, stop. I love you."
PW's Taste of Philly 2014
Election Day 2014: Tues., Nov. 4