Dedicated to: Monique Lay
Mona's venom-filled eyes descend upon me, making me feel the sediments of my transgression.
"So, you're pregnant, aye?" I nod as Mona folds her arms across her chest, and she twists her lips in a manner that reminds me of a fish before she replies, "How many months?"
Mona runs her hand through her luxurious braids saying, "Good for you."
The awkward moment is sponsored by the fact that Mona and I haven't spoken in over two and a half years.
I met Mona in my homeroom when I was a freshman in high school, and in the middle of our sophomore year Mona moved from Indianapolis, Indiana to Sacramento, California because of her father's job.
Regardless of the distance, we stayed in contact. Things went well for a while, and suddenly we found ourselves disagreeing over really petty stuff.
Then Mona's religion came into factor.
Mona is a very religious person, and even though I read the Bible, believe in God, and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior, I am not as devoted as she.
She had an issue with me because I drank, smoked, and had sex. She stated that fornication was a sin, and that drinking and smoking were just plain stupid.
To me she was an alien trying to invade my world, and that she acted as if she was holier than thou.
Please, I witnessed this girl flat out lie to one of our friend's parent for no good apparent reason.
According to the Bible, having sex outside of marriage (fornication) is a sin, but to me as long as you aren't whoring around and dedicated to one partner, it shouldn't be a problem.
As far as alcohol goes, didn't people in the Bible drink wine? Isn't that alcohol? When Jesus gave communion, what represented his blood? Wine.
Due to our differences, we decided to call quits to our friendship, and our other friends were very disappointed.
I didn't give a damn. For once, they got to feel the disappointment I felt for them at times, and I continued to smoke cigarettes, drink various alcoholic beverages, and fuck my boyfriend.
I wish I had listened to her because now I was standing in the living room of our friend Jayme's apartment as a nineteen-year-old-college- freshman-seven-month-pregnant girl feeling lowing than the priests accuse of molesting the young boys in the Roman Catholic Church.
The shame evident on my face is as visible as a pee puddle in bright white snow.
Hands in pocket, I gaze at the navy blue carpet while numerous emotions play on my face: humiliation, grief, misery, embarrassment, and about a million other ones. Meanwhile Mona stands with her arms hanging haphazardly with an unreadable manifestation.
I will be honest, if I had known Mona was at Jayme's place, I wouldn't have come. I knew that she was coming into town for the extended weekend, but didn't know she'd be here today.
Imagine the expression on my face when I knocked on Jayme's door, and Miss Perfect answered the door. Priceless.
To put the cherry on that fucked-up situation milkshake, Jayme isn't even here. Mona informed me that Jayme stepped out for a while and would be back soon.
My first instinct was to leave, scratch that, sprint away and come back at a latter time, but then my ego got the best of me, and I wasn't going to let Mona run me away, so I decided to stay.
I wish I had followed my first instinct.
Fed up with the silence, I finally blurt out, "Go ahead, Mona! Tell me what a fornicating whore I am, and that I got what I deserved!"
"No! Don't 'Lavina' me! Say it! Say 'I told you so.' I know you want to!"
Because Lavina Hopper was an emotional person, I am in full-blown tears. Dropping my purse onto the floor, I scramble onto the sofa and curl into a ball.
Mona moves toward me. "Lavina! Lavina! Stop it! In a few months you are going to be a mother, and this is no way to act. You can't change what's been done. All you can do is move on and prepare for the future."
"Don't you think I know that, motherfucker?!" I yell, and Mona looks a little drawn back as she sits adjacent to me. This was another problem in our friendship. I curse like a sailor, call people everything but a child of God, and sometimes speak to anyone whatever way I please, and , didn't.
The water from my tears smears onto my glasses, blurring my vision, but I don't care.
Even after my rude outburst, Mona continues to speak to me relatively calmly, "Okay, since you know that, you have got to move on. Do you know where you and the baby will live? Will you continue to go to school? Is the baby's father in the picture?"
Preventing her from further questioning, I unravel from my ball position and shout, "Oh, like you give a fuck about all of that, Mrs. Jesus Christ! You act like you're so fucking perfect, like you haven't did shit wrong! Well, you're not perfect, missy! No one is except, Jesus!" Snot is dipping from my nose and into my mouth, but I can care less. "I bet you are like a steak, savoring in the failure that is me!"
Mona slaps me, and I could kill the bitch. I attack her, pounding her face and yanking her hair.
"Wait, Lavina! Stop!"
Mona struggles with me, but I overpower her. I know that am probably crushing her since I am naturally heavier than her, and the added baby weight makes it worse. Feeling myself getting exhausted, I slam her in the face one last time, before shoving her off of the sofa. I snatch my purse from the floor, fumble through it, and retrieve a razor blade.
"Let's see how perfect you are when I slit your throat."
Mona is lying on the floor, panting, her eyes gazing at the ceiling. Her cocoa brown face is decorated with blood like red makeup from a Halloween mask. Until now, I realize that I have a handful of her hair.
Mona's eyes travel to meet mine, and she says, "Lavina, the only reason I slapped you was to snap you out of your pitiful ranting, but you don't want to throw you and your baby's life away by killing me." She coughs. "To show you how imperfect I am, just last week I stole a pack of gum from the drugstore because I didn't feel like standing in the long line. Last time I checked, stealing was a sin, but I prayed, asked for forgiveness, and moved on with my life. That's what you should do, Vina, because killing me will not solve any of your problems."
Something in her face makes me grasp that she is not as flawless as I deem, and I lower the blade. In that instance she reminds me of a child, craving for her mother's attention. Like a pile of bricks, it hit me how close I was to taking a person's life. Releasing the handful of hair, I slowly slump onto the floor, my back resting against the sofa with my knees up to my chin.
"This is not how I envision my life," I began softly, and Mona mirrors my sitting position a foot away. "I expected to go on to college, become a writer, and travel the world, describing the various things I see. In the midst if it all, maybe I was going to settle down and have a child." I stare down at the lump in my stomach. "This is not my concept for a dream."
"Is the baby's father in the picture?"
"The baby's father is Keenan." Mona knows exactly who Keenan is because we all went to high school together. Keenan and I are high school sweethearts and have been together since a little while before Mona and I ended our friendship. "I wanted to have an abortion, but Keenan begged that me not to and promised that he would take care of our child." I remove my glasses from my face to wipe them with the bottom of my shirt, and Mona hands me the tissue box from the coffee table to wipe my nose while she cleans her bloody face. "The thing is if I would have known that Keenan wanted me to have the baby, I don't know if I would have told him. I might have just had the abortion without his input." I reach into my purse, pull out a sonogram, and pass it to Mona. That was the reason I had come to visit Jayme - to show her my latest sonogram.
"Oh, Vina, that's amazing."
I unloosen my ponytail to scratch my scalp. "We're having a boy. See, there's the little winky right there," I reply, pointing at the picture. "Keenan couldn't be more thrilled, and if I would have killed the baby that would have proven what a horrible person I am." I squeeze the blade in my hand, causing blood to pour out.
"But you didn't."
"But I thought about it. Sometimes I get so stressed out that I ache for a Newport or for some vodka and Sunny Delight. I don't because I don't want to harm the baby." The baby commences to kick. "He's kicking."
"Can I feel?"
"Sure." She places her hand on my stomach, and she is awestricken. Finally she speaks. "I've never stopped loving you, Lavina. Even though we weren't friends anymore, I still cared, worried, and prayed for you."
Oh is all I say.
"And in your time in need is when you require a friend the most. I want to be friends again, Vina."
It is ironic to me that not five minutes ago I almost murdered her, and now she wants to renew our friendship. Concentrating on the blood stained carpet that I know Jayme will be livid about when she returns home, I think momentarily.
What if she wants revenge for what I did? Mona isn't a revengeful person though. She isn't me. She's a good person.
"A hug makes it official."
As we embrace, I have another missing piece for my puzzle of life.