I remember sitting in the folding chair at graduation. Wearing the red summer dress I’d gotten for my sister’s graduation two years prior, six and a half months pregnant..and thinking..I’ll be 36 when my son turns 18…and I was sad. Because of all the plans I’d had, I was going to be a marine, see the world..and leave my personal hell so far behind.
Now it was me, that man, and this baby. I had no idea what was going to happen, or if I would make it out alive. In the South, we have shotgun weddings…tradition..and expectation. I was cursed, insulted, used as an example and all kinds of stupid shit. I was ashamed at first..especially when I started showing. I had thankfully escaped the curse of morning sickness so it wasn’t obvious until I was nearly five months pregnant. There was no more hiding that. Oh man did the administration at my high school ever lose their shit!!
I was told that I needed go to the alternative school because I was a distraction. I refused, on the stance that my grades were not suffering and I made up classwork I missed from doctor appointments. I was not sacrificing my education. Once I graduated, I moved away from the town I spent all those years in and life moved on…
..Now it’s that year I thought of..so long ago. It’s a few weeks until I turn 36. We get to this place in life sometimes where we remember those dreams and must take stock of where we are in life at that moment, did we get where we wanted?