Evangelical Baby (Memoir, Part Six)
My roommate. who shared expenses for the apartment I was living in, was a girl named Trish. She’d just graduated from college and was slim and athletic. She told me she loved to ski, both snow and water. I could tell she felt sorry for me, pregnant and unmarried, but life was her oyster. I sadly, had landed in the stew.
I remember Trish gathering her bikini and towels one Saturday in July. She was going off with her friends to water ski on Lucky Peak reservoir. When the apartment door shut, I waddled over to the cupboard for a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips, then settled back into the couch with my snack to watch the summer Olympics on TV. That was a happily spent afternoon, eating one greasy chip after another, seeing Olympic divers perform elegant somersaults over the curve of my swollen tummy.
I told my Evangelical mother about the pregnancy right way: (“Oh why didn’t you wait to have sex! You’re wedding night won’t be special at all!”) This, despite the fact my mother had sex with her boyfriend before they got married. I know because I asked and under duress, she confessed. Though I love my mother, I couldn’t ignore the “do what I say, rather than do what I’ve done” mentality. Hypocrisy is a plague for Evangelicals.
My boyfriend still had not told either of his parents. When I was six months along he wanted me to go with him to the farm for a big family dinner. What was I to wear? Fortunately, the tent dress had come into vogue that year, so I strolled into his family’s farm kitchen to greet his mother looking, I thought, rather stylish.
His mother stood next to the kitchen stove wearing a homemade, flower-print dress with an apron tied around the front. She looked tired, maybe from cooking all day. Strands of grey hair which had escaped from a bun at the back of her neck, hung limply around her face. She gave me a tepid smile. My red-painted lips and voguish tent dress evidently did not impress her. After all, I wasn’t a Mennonite, and that soon became the fourth horseman of my apocalypse.