Authors: Terri Douglas
Thirty Nine Weeks
Thirty Nine Weeks
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Two complacent little thin
lines stared back at me as I
at them in absolute horror. This can’t be happening, not to me, not now. One day maybe, one day in the future, the faraway distant long time yet future, but not now surely
I was only just beginning to reap the reward
s of all those years of study
and taking exams
This had to be wrong
managed to buy a faulty pregnanc
y testing kit. That’s it, the stupid thing
faulty. There’s no way I could be pregna
nt, it has to be wrong, I haven’t
seeing anyone. The only time
, recently anyway, that
I’d . . . . . was after Gill’s hen night
, a one night stand with
a guy called . . . . .
called . . .
no don’t tell me
, I’ll get it
. . .
. That was
s name was Matt
I grabbed my jacket
and keys and rushed out the door, then rushed back two seconds later and grabbed my purse.
I drove like a maniac to four different chemists and bought two pregnancy testing kits in each, then drove home again at record
Eight tests from different shops should do it and prove conclusively how wrong that first
test must be.
should I do them one by one or all eight as a bunch? Mm
if I do them one by one I might be here for some time as I’
need to pee eight times.
What about four and four? No still too time consuming and I need to know now, as in right now
, this minute
Okay as a bunch then.
I put the kettl
e on to make a large mug of tea. T
hat’s a diuretic right? Tea’s not usually my thing but
box in the cupboard for the monthly
visits from my ever-loving yet eternally disapproving mother who drank nothing but tea, and
desperate situations call for
desperate solutions. I
about Matt. From what I could remember, which wasn’t a whole lot given the
cardi and C
oke haze I was in at the time, he was kind of okay looking
, the other girls seemed to think so anyway, I remember that at least. In fact this whole thing is really all their fault, if they hadn’t thought it was so funny that a stud type like this Matt was trying to chat up a self professed man-hater like me
, and encouraging me to
go for it
, I wouldn’t be sitting here now waiting for the kettle to boil to make myself a cup of strong tea
so that I could
pee on a stick
, or on eight sticks.
I wasn’t always a man-hater, but what woman is? Well lesbians I suppose although they don’t necessarily hate men they just don’t fan
cy them. No I started life, at least
when I got to
as your atypical isn’t love wonderful, and one day I’ll meet
and get married. But that was before Mike t
he liar, and Josh the control
freak, and Ben the womaniser, and last but not least
Alec the done nothing wrong specifically, just your average self obsessed male arse.
There were a few
but they were the significant others that turned me from a
white picket fence
three bedroom semi and
two point five
children not to mentio
cute scruffy dog, to a what do I need a man fo
r as a permanent fixture anyway.
I’m much better off without all that crap.
I mean who needs it? Some bloke telling you how to do everything, or anything, as if you’re five and need a helping hand or guidance with every aspect of your life, while they consistently bollocks things up or manoeuvre their way out the front door to be with their mates, or worse still invite their mates back to
your place to watch twenty two
other blokes that they idolise and envy, and that they’re never going to meet or be like, kick an inflated pig bladder around a large field, whilst sh
outing obscenities at the TV and
guzzling endless cans of beer
lot and scratching their arse
No I decided after the last lo
ser enough was enough, no more serious relationships for me, I Judy Parker have had enough of men and want nothing more to do with any of them, except in a strictly casual sense lasting no more than two or three hours at the most. And that of course is how I’ve ended up
on my own
on a Sunday morning,
peeing on sticks.
I made my tea, leaving the tea bag in for a full five minutes before removing it,
the stronger the better right?
more peeing power. I
added a drop of milk
, and then seei
ng the colour of it added a slurp
more. I sipped the disgusting brew telling myself it was medicine of some sort and that I needed this life saving
to make me go to the loo to prove what I already knew, that there was no way I could possibly be pregnant.
I forced myself to drink the whole mug, dumped it in the sink, vowing never to drink the stuff again, grabbed the testing kits and went straight to the loo. As I sat inelegantly
on the porcelain throne
I frantically unwrapped each one throwing the packaging on the floor and held on to my precious sticks waiting. Nothing, nada, no peeing going on whatsoever.
I’d have to wait for the tea to kick in, say maybe twenty minutes. Yes that should do it.
Okay what I need is to do something else
take my mind off the whole thing for at least twenty minutes. I’ll finish off that spreadsheet I’m supposed to be working on and that I promised I’d have done by Monday morning. Yes that’s it. When I started it this morning there was no thought in
my head that two hours later I might
be pregnant, and I’m not now of course, it’s all a false alarm, some kind of sick joke that’s really not funny
. Well maybe after I’ve proved that I’m not pregnant it’ll be funny
, and I’ll look back and laugh at how panicked I was, but right at this moment it’s not in the least
Although if I’m not pregnant then why am I a week late. I’m never late, not ever. I could time my periods almost to the hour never mind the day. So if I’m not pregnant I must be ill, really seriously ill. I mean your periods only stop if you’re . . . . anorexic or . . . . if you’ve got the dreaded big C . . . . or . . .
. but surely
if I had some life threatening not to mention terminal disease of some sort
there would have been other signs other symptoms, wouldn’t there? I must
have the dates wrong, I must have.
I checked the calendar again, it’s a big one on the back of the kitchen door hi
ding from the rest of the world because it’s twelve beef-cake firemen baring their all, that Shelley
who bought it for me,
thought was so funny given my predilection
anti-relationships with anything male.
o I hadn’t got it wrong, this would be the twentieth time I’d checked and counted, and the twentieth time I’d come up with the same answer. I was a week late and there was no getting away from it. Seven days late
had to mean
something, either I was pregnant or I
’d got bubonic plague and the first symptom of both was missing your period
Okay spreadsheet, just stop thinking about pregnant stuff or dire diseases. Relax. Get into work mode and
juggle figures for a bit. When I wasn’t panicking and trying to make myself pee I worked in an accounts office, or the finance department as it had recently been re-named since we’d been taken over. I’d worked at Fishers since just after I passed my first lot of exams six years ago, and had recently been promoted to management accountant for the greeting card part of the group. I still wasn’t sure how we could call ourselves a group when we were just one company and always had been as far as I knew, but the Steadman brothers who’d bought us out, taken over and shaken us all up
had re-named us The Fisher Group
instead of just Fishers
that we all still referred to ourselves as
despite their edict to the contrary.
I looked at my spreadsheet that was supposed to show sales trends for the last three years and wondered idly how I would fit a cot into my tiny one bedroom flat.
Stop it. Forget all that and concentrate on the job in hand. I’d promised Norman Steadman, the
shorter of the two brothers
that you couldn’t tell apart unless they were standing next to each other
, that I’d have these figures by tomorrow morning, and if I hadn’t been distracted by my need to pee on a stick I would have finished by now. Right October, the final figures for
October were . . .
maybe I could put a cot in here, keep the bedroom as it is and wedge a cot in
the living room
This is hopeless.
Okay forget the spreadsheet for the time being. Maybe
watch a bit of telly for a while
take my mind off it
. I closed my laptop and moved
it to the other side of
the settee. I flicked on the telly to be immediately confronted with Rachael giving birth to Ross’s baby. Naturally like everyone else I’d seen most episodes of Friends at least twenty times, including this one, but did it have to be this episode today, right now, when I was trying so hard to avoid the subject of babies or any reference to them whatsoever.
I watched in fascinated horror at how painful it all looked. Even though they were trying so hard to make giving birth funny, and it sort of was, it still looked frighteningly real and bloody uncomfortable. I couldn’t do that, I just couldn’t. Not going to happen, no way.
How long has it been since I last peed? No idea but it has to be at least fifteen minutes since I drank that tea
. I went back to the loo and clutched my sticks that were going to save my life as I knew it and wanted
while I waited.