“Can I come in?” she looked worried.
“Sure,” I set the book aside and sat up against the headboard. I knew Anna usually talked to Mama when she had a problem, and could only imagine the worst. If it was something she couldn’t tell Mama, it was probably something I didn’t want to hear. “You’re eighteenth birthday is coming up!” I tried to make small talk.
“Yeah,” she sat down at the foot of the bed and looked down at her bare feet.
“Go on, what is it?”
She looked up at me, wondering how I knew that something was up, but didn’t waste any time, “I’m pregnant.”
“You’re what?” I looked at my little sister and felt like crying. We were twenty months apart and had grown up together every step of the way. I saw the pain in her face and wished that I could make it go away. “What are you going to do?”
Anna sat and thought about it for awhile. I could see the anguish in her eyes. “I don’t know.”
“Who is the Daddy?” I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.
“Joe, I guess.” Anna shrugged and fiddled with the quilt at the end of my bed.
“You guess? Anna, this is serious.” I had never even kissed a boy and she was having trouble identifying which guy she had slept with when. I felt like crying, but didn’t.
“It depends on how far along I am…”
“Oh.” I sighed. “We’ll call and get you an appointment tomorrow.”
“Okay.” Anna looked like she had something more to say, but didn’t. “Thanks, Addy.”
“You’re welcome. It will be okay.” And with that she got up and left. We didn’t hug like normal sisters would, didn’t exchange I love yous, and didn’t even get to the root of the situation. Part of me was glad that she told me, but the other part was not prepared to deal with it. I was only nineteen, and was so naïve about the way the world worked even after a whole year in college. I was not the right person to confide in, but now that I knew there was nothing I could do but help her.
“Do you think Anna is acting weird lately?” Mama pulled me to the side after dinner. Maria had made Anna’s favorite meal and Anna had barely eaten a single bite. It was three weeks after she shared her secret with me, and other than helping her get an appointment with a gynecologist I hadn’t heard anymore about it.
“Maybe she is just stressed out. She's about to turn eighteen you know. Maybe she feels old!” I tried to throw Mama off of the scent, but doubted that I was doing a very good job.
“What? Eighteen is still a baby!” Mama probably thought both of her daughters had lost their minds.
“I’m sure she is fine.” I assured her, knowing deep down that she wasn’t fine. Anna was probably a mess. She would have to find a way to tell my parents about the baby, and it would kill her to disappoint them both.
“I hope you’re right.”
Me too, I thought. I realized that it was time for me to check in on Anna instead of trying to forget about it. I headed upstairs and knocked on her bedroom door. “Come in,” she said unenthusiastically.
“Hey,” I sheepishly poked my head around the door, “Can I come in?”
“I said that already.” Anna rolled her eyes.
I ignored her snappy attitude, and sat down at her desk. I would probably be snappy too if I was in her situation. “I wanted to check in on things. Sorry that I didn’t ask you about your appointment.”
“It’s been handled.” Anna didn’t meet me in the eyes.
“Handled?” My heart sank. “Does Joe know?”
“Did he pay for it? He wanted you to do this?” I couldn’t believe my little sister had sunk to an all-time low. Before, my only complaints about her included the fact that she was too pretty, too flirty, too much like Father, looked too much like Mama, and that she always commanded the attention in any room she walked into. Now there was a real complaint to add to the list-- my little sister was a murderer.
“He didn’t want me to, but it is my right as the mother. It is my body that would have had to incubate the damn thing.” I realized by the tone in her voice as she said the damn thing and felt like punching her. She was worried about her flat little belly, her round firm chest, and her pants size.
“He didn’t want you to, yet you did?” I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. My mind was swarming with anger, sadness, confusion, and disgust.
“Joe didn’t know what he wanted. He just saw it as a way to trap me into marrying him.” Anna’s lack of emotion about the situation was infuriating.
“Why didn’t you tell me? I could have helped you decide, Anna.” I should have asked her about it instead of making her deal with it herself. I could have talked some sense into her, or at least talked her into adoption instead of abortion. “You shouldn’t have had to handle this alone!”
“I wasn’t alone, I told Daddy.”
Now it all made sense. She didn’t need someone to talk sense into her, she needed someone to enable her. She knew that I would fight for the baby’s rights, and so she went to someone who would do whatever it took to make her happy. Yet another reason-- as if I needed more-- to dislike Anna and hate Father.
I shook my head and left the room before I gave into my urges to beat some sense into her. Anna didn’t show any signs of remorse and poor Joe was in love with a total idiot! I felt like running downstairs and telling Mama what her beautiful Anna had done, but instead tucked it away in me with the rest of the secrets I was protecting her from. I wasn’t sure how much more room I had left!