[FICTION] Supposed To
She was told this parking garage was a safe distance from her destination. She parked on the third level. In her lap, a phone vibrated. It was Robert. She sighed and slid the red dot of rejection. She had to talk to him. Didn’t she? She’s supposed to talk to him. Was she really? She pushed her head into the headrest and closed her eyes.
She stared at the ceiling. Her mind had been working for an hour already. She finally blossomed out of bed. One minute before her alarm was to awaken her. It was set to play her favorite album. Was it her favorite? It was the most popular CD at the time. Her mom bought it for her. Her alarm went off. American Idiot, the first song of Green Day’s 2004 CD filled her room.
She grabbed her training bra. Two years waiting to fill the cups. Front closure clipped. It didn’t feel right. She ran to the bathroom. She examined herself in the mirror. Holy shit. Boobs. Breasts. Knockers. Hooters. Tits. Melons. Titties. Tatas. They appeared out of nowhere. She didn’t have them yesterday. Everyone else had them. Or, almost everyone else. Locker rooms were display cases. Chesty girls showed them off. Flat-chested girls cowered. Changed shirts covertly. Hiding what was supposed to be.
She considered screaming for her mom. This was one of those moments. Like her period. She was supposed to be excited about that. The pain. The stains. Her mom was. Her mom said it was monumental. Her mom said the flow made her a woman. But getting boobs was bigger. They were bigger. Less messy. What everyone wanted.
No. She wouldn’t tell her mom. She would wait. See if her mom noticed. She ran back into her room. A clean room. Tidy. A little girl’s room. Animal posters. Pink. Pink. Pink. Just like the movies. The room a girl is supposed to have. Her favorite color was green. Green, her dad said, wasn’t a girls color.
She bobbed her head to the music. Dug for her real bra. She found it. She threw it up in the air. Danced to the music. Strapped on the new bra. Found a shirt to accentuate them.
Her phone buzzed. She opened her eyes and looked at it. Robert. A text. Please call me. You have to. Did she? She checked the time. An hour and twenty-eight minutes before the appointment. She should turn off her phone. She should sit outside. The weather was perfect. Instead, she closed her eyes.
Eyes open. Nineteen days since her boobs sprouted. Ryan had a birthday present. Sweet sixteen. Her mom helped Ryan pick out a gift. He was perfect. That’s what everyone said. Ryan got good grades. Ryan’s family was well regarded. Bigger house. Better subdivision. Ryan was on the varsity football team but wasn’t a jock. Not a regular jock because he got good grades. Ryan was handsome. Well, he was normal. Average. Ordinary. But he didn’t have acne, wasn’t fat, and knew when to smile and when to look serious. So, he was handsome. At least that’s what everyone told her. He was nice. Mostly. He had gotten her a promise ring for her birthday. She was happy. She hugged him. They kissed. He eagerly went up her shirt for the new boobs. He was happier about them than her. She was uncomfortable. She was tense. He didn’t stop. She didn’t stop him. She wasn’t supposed to.
He told her that her sixteenth birthday was important and they should really celebrate. He said that with the promise ring, their relationship was more than just a high school thing. It was serious. It was forever. Forever? He told her she needed to prove that she was serious. It was time to do it. She hadn’t thought about doing it. She knew that she was nervous about doing it. She didn’t think she wanted to do it. She told him she didn’t think she was ready to do it. He told her she was. She had boobs! She wasn’t sure. He showed her the condom. He told her it was time and that she was supposed to. She didn’t want to. But she didn’t say no. She wasn’t supposed to. So, they did it. It didn’t take long. Well, it took a little while to put it in. It hurt.
She got home. Her mom was so excited to see her promise ring, the one she picked out. Her dad gave her a hug. Ryan’s quite a guy they both said. She didn’t tell them they did it. She wasn’t supposed to do it. Well, she was supposed to make Ryan happy. Keep him around. They said Ryan was a keeper and she should do what she could to make him happy. But the church they went to, they said not to do it. It was wrong to do it. But the church also said that women serve men. So, she wasn’t sure if they wanted her to do it or not. But she did. After she made her mom and dad happy by telling them how happy Ryan was about the ring she went to her bathroom. It was upstairs. She took a shower. She didn’t cry. She thought she was sore. Down there. But she wasn’t sure. She thought of all the talk around school. The girls that bragged about doing it. The girls that hid their eyes when the subject came up. She knew the girls that didn’t talk about it had really done it. The ones that bragged–they didn’t know.
Eyes wide open. She clutched her stomach. She took several deep breaths. Her face dropped. Her hands clutched the steering wheel. She pounded her petite fists on the steering wheel. She stared at nothing. She sighed. Her body melted deeper into the seat. She looked at herself in the rearview mirror. She didn’t hate herself. She smiled at herself. She checked the time. One hour and twelve minutes before her appointment. It would take her fifteen minutes to walk there. She closed her eyes. She rested her head but let her body slouch into the seat. She let out a long, slow breath. She let her eyelids fall.
She popped her eyes open. She had taken a moment to herself. On the couch in the living room. Before her mom got home from work. All by herself. Her mom was worried because Ryan had broken up with her. She wasn’t worried. She was fine. But her mom wasn’t fine. Her mom wanted her to fix it. To put it back together. Her mom said that she couldn’t let things fall apart like that. It was thirty-seven days after the first time they did it and eighteen hours since the fourteenth time they did it. She was glad she wouldn’t have to do it anymore. Ryan said she wasn’t good at it after the sixth time they did it. This made her sad and more uncomfortable. So, then she was worse at it. He said.
Her mom arrived home and told her to get up. Her mom bought her some new clothes. Her mom said the outfits she had were giving the wrong signals. Too boyish. Made her look unseemly. Like her current outfit. Jeans and a t-shirt. Mom didn’t like that. But she liked her jeans and t-shirts. She wanted to tell her mom that she had boobs, so she couldn’t look like a boy. But she didn’t. She thanked her mom for the new clothes. Her mom wanted her to look more like a lady. Her mom said she was beautiful. She wasn’t. She was normal. She was perfectly normal. She wasn’t ugly. There were pretty girls she knew. Beautiful girls. They weren’t normal. They didn’t get good grades. At least not the ones she knew. They didn’t follow rules. They were weird. She wanted to know them. But she was in the drama club. She hated it. Her mom said it was important for college. She was also in the yearbook club. She hated it. Her dad said it was important for college. She wanted to be in the science club. But her dad told her science wasn’t a girl’s subject. So, she didn’t get a telescope.
Phone buzzing again. And again. And again. Voicemail. She clicked to listen. Mom. Delete. As soon as she heard her voice. She turned the phone upside down on her lap. She shook out her shoulders. She checked the time. She had fifty-eight minutes before her appointment. Her eyes melted closed, she leaned onto the steering wheel.
She opened her eyes. It was her graduation. The morning of. Her mom had planned a big event at their house. She didn’t want an event. Her mom was disappointed she didn’t have a boyfriend. Not since Ryan. Not really. Well, she kind of had one. Her mom didn’t know. He just wanted to do it and she was scared and didn’t want to. So, after they did it he never called her again. People whispered about that. But they were always nice to her. But were they really? She wasn’t sure what was real anymore. But she wasn’t supposed to think that way. When she turned seventeen she wanted to stop eating meat. She learned about the animals that they ate. She didn’t like it. They had a dog. She would eat bacon and pet her dog. That was wrong. She knew it was wrong. Her dad said it was normal. Her dad said she had to eat meat. Her dad said she was an American and God gave animals for her to eat. She didn’t like that. But she ate her meat. There would be a lot of meat at the party. And her uncle. The one that touched her when she was nine. Or was she eight? She didn’t remember. It was weird. She couldn’t remember it. Not really. But then sometimes she did. It was wrong. But it was normal. Wasn’t it? Didn’t everyone have some uncle that put their fingers there? Or maybe no one did. Either way, she didn’t talk about it because she wasn’t supposed to. He didn’t touch her anymore after she was ten. Or was it eleven? She couldn’t remember. It happened a few times. She was sure her mom knew. Her mom always patted her on the shoulder after he left. Like she knew.
She was going to college. To be a teacher. That’s what they told her. They said it was a respectable career. She wanted to be a physicist. She didn’t tell anyone that. That wasn’t an option. Not for her. Women didn’t do that. Not real women. Not women that would get married. Have kids. Raise a family. They said she could go to school for something like sociology, psychology, something like that. Her dad said she needed a degree. But it didn’t really matter. She would work as a hobby. She would find a husband. She would find a breadwinner. She wouldn’t need the degree for work. It was just something she was supposed to do.
She rubbed her neck with both hands. She grabbed her phone and texted Robert. It’s over. She felt good. She felt a sense of relief. She didn’t care about the repercussions. She thought of herself. She thought of her future. She thought of the world. She closed her eyes. She gripped the steering wheel awaiting the buzz. The relentless request to follow the rules. To do what she is told. To do what she’s supposed to do. She gripped harder, glanced at the time. She had forty-nine minutes until her appointment. She forced her eyes closed tight.
It was her second year of college. Robert was perfect. That’s what everyone told her. He was in graduate school. He was going to be an engineer. He was handsome. That’s what everyone told her. He wore the right clothes. He rooted for the right teams. He drove the right car. He chose the right degree. He had the right job already lined up. She was better at doing it. She practiced some. She talked to lots of girls, women, students that all had figured out how to do it. The main thing they told her was to pretend you like it. They said it’s better and then they like you more. So, she did that. Robert said she was good at it. So, they did it a lot. She could do without it. But couldn’t tell her mom. She still wasn’t supposed to do it. Or was she? She wasn’t sure. Robert didn’t like using a condom. She went on the pill. It was her secret. Her dad liked Robert. Said he was the one. Was he? She wasn’t sure what that meant. He was nice.
It was three days before her twentieth birthday. Robert was taking her and her parents out to dinner. A fancy expensive restaurant. She had mostly stopped eating meat. But she couldn’t tell anyone. She was supposed to eat meat. So, she said she was on a diet. She wasn’t. But that made vegetables okay for her to eat. During dessert, Robert got on a knee and her mom squealed. It was weird. Her dad nodded in approval. They already knew. She would marry Robert. She didn’t really like Robert. He was nice.
She ignored the phone buzzing again. It stopped. Then it buzzed some more and stopped. She chose not to read the texts or listen to the voicemails. She knew he would call her mom and dad. They would know. They might never talk to her again. Was that so bad? She wasn’t sure. She was going to go back to school. She was going to be a scientist. She wanted to discover things. She would say no. She would disagree. She would be a better person. A happy person. Finally. She smiled to herself and checked the time. Thirty-seven minutes until her appointment. She took a deep breath in. She closed her eyes.
It was two days after she graduated from college. There was a party. Her uncle would not attend. She thought that was strange. She wondered why. She didn’t ask. Her mom was proud. Her dad was proud. She would be married in seven days. Her mom picked out the dress. She had tried on hundreds. Her mom picked out the church. She didn’t want to go to a church. Roberts mom picked out the estate, fourteen miles south. That’s where they would celebrate. She really wasn’t excited. But she smiled.
She had already found a job. She would work for a non-profit. A group that raised awareness for something. She forgot what. It didn’t matter. Her dad thought it would be neat. Neat. Her mom said it would be temporary, then rubbed her belly. That was weird.
It had been sixteen months since the wedding. It had been three months since Robert flushed her pills. She sat in her car. She opened her eyes. This thing she would do. This thing would change her. No, it wouldn’t. It would change everyone else. She knew this. She pulled herself out of her car. She meandered through the parking garage for two minutes. She emerged outside. She breathed in, slowly. She marched the 1.2 miles towards the group of people standing outside her destination. There were signs. Bloody posters. They called her names. She turned on her iPod. She put on her sound canceling headphones. Would they try to pull them off? They didn’t. They didn’t because there were people that pushed them away. There were people that had their arms around her. They were strangers. They held her tight. They told her she was brave. They told her she was strong. They were her friends. They were her family. In this moment.
She didn’t understand the problem. She wasn’t special. She was supposed to be happy. She was supposed to want this. Not end it. She was supposed to do this for her Mom. For her dad. For Robert. She was supposed to. But Bridget didn’t really like Robert. Bridget didn’t want this. Bridget still wants a telescope. Bridget doesn’t like her job. Bridget doesn’t like her clothes. Her hair. Her house. Bridget wants something different. Something of her own.
KC Snow suffers from geographical ADD which has resulted in living in a new state every two years totaling nine states. However, Snow may have—finally— settled in central Florida, a place where they say a glass of water placed outside will catch a snake, a gator, and a mosquito. This, of course, is not true because an armadillo usually knocks it over first while chasing a scorpion. Writing, reading, and studying nature—human and non-human—are what consume Snow’s days.