So… my life in shambles. Well maybe not complete shambles, I mean I am still alive and healthy... per say. But what else would a woman in my condition say about her current situation besides that it seemed almost completely hopeless.
Yes I, Samantha Eloise Matthews was in the delicate condition. Five months into it actually. Most would be completely ecstatic to have made it five months into a routinely normal pregnancy, but I on the other hand, was not.
Most women had a helpful and joyful father to be, standing with them, joining them for ultrasounds and Doctor's appointments. Anticipating hearing the rapid beat of their child's heart. Not my unborn's father. He was out gallivanting with this petite and sexy secretary… oh sorry, executive assistant, while I was left to carry around his deposit for almost ten months. On top of that, he hardly ever called to inquire about the welfare of said child.
No worries though, I fully intend to take him to court for child support. I may have been stupid in my life choices but that doesn't make me completely stupid. No that was actually the least of my troubles.
I am a full figured woman. That's right and I was even before I came into my 'happy' situation. So not only was I knocked up, I am a larger girl so you can imagine the trouble finding a date.
I often find that people stare at me, although trying to look as though they aren't, while riding in elevators or on buses. On an off note there, you've never known rudeness until you're pregnant and have to take the bus… I mean come on; I'm pregnant for god's sake. Instead I see perfectly healthy viral young men sitting, in elderly seats no less, while I stand, laptop and purse in one hand and the other struggling to keep my balance while holding on to the pole. Anyway, back to the subject at hand, they often look at me and I can see the little mousies running in their little heads. 'Is she pregnant or just really fat?'
Most women don't even have to think about maternity clothes until well into month five or six… I on the other hand was wearing those horrible elastic waist pants at three months. Other women at five months have cute little baby bellies, where as I look at my stomach in defeat because all it looks like is a larger version of what I had pre-pregnancy. I keep holding out that at seven months I'll pop like my friends keep trying to reassure me with.
My other problems lie in work and relationships. I'm a contractor at a fairly unknown company which does not offer its contractual employees maternity leave pay. I mean I really don't really like my job all that much but the top up would have been nice.
My job is usually a snore most days. Being a call center representative isn't exactly the hardest job in the world. I get to wear a funky headset, I don't have to dress up in business clothes and I can usually do what I want, including surfing the net, in-between calls. My contract would have ended about three months after I went on maternity leave anyway. I know they would have extended me but I don't know if I would have taken it.
Economy wise, there isn't much out there, even for a college grad such as myself. And relationships… hmpf… non existent on a normal day for a normal person, so for me it was ten times worse. Once a guy found out you were knocked up that was it, he's gone and outta here. See ya people this one's a home run!
"Hey Sam, take a look at this." I suddenly get an email into my in basket and I clicked on the link. As soon as I saw the picture I quickly minimized it. Although we get away with quite a bit, I don't think a supervisor walking by would have appreciated the type of content in the 'You tube' production.
"Judy…" I hissed over my cubicle wall.
"What?" She stood up to look over at me. Her dark nest of hair was mussed from her headset. She took a lot of coffee breaks.
"You can't just send that to people." I said, trying to not have my voice reach the whole floor.
"Why not?" she asked. Her eyebrows rose slightly. She sat down and then I heard the distinctive sounds of her putting her phone on call forward. She walked around to take a seat at an empty desk beside me. She leaned forward in her chair. "That bastard deserves it."
"Judy, I appreciate the fact that your pissed that I've been left alone with my situation but you can't just start spreading stuff like that around the office. He still works at this company."
My Ex boyfriend, yes the father of my child, worked at the same company as me, although not in this building or my department. It would be pretty damaging if the You Tube video got around to too many people and guess who it would come back to… little old innocent me.
"But he should own up to it at least."
"Yes but posting cell phone videos of him diddling his secretary is not going to do anybody any good." I shook my head. "Please, for me take that down."
Judy sighed loudly. "Okay, okay but this isn't over. The little dweeb is going to pay."
"Yes, when I take him to court and he has to pay me loads of money in support."
Judy smirked. She was definitely the cutest of my friends, and the most fiery. Although her hair was a mousey brown, it was short and curly and like I mentioned early, messed up easily, which was why she didn't waste time styling it. She was about five foot even, nearly four inches shorter than I am. Not often I meet people who I dwarf so she was definitely a keeper from the start. Her whole frame was petite too and could often easily get on a bus for student fair. I haven't been able to get away with that since I was in college, where I had to flash my ID in order to pay the smaller amount. Heck, Judy even fit into girls size sixteen clothes and didn't have to pay the tax on it. I wasn't jealous…. But I was damn envious. Besides being small, Judy had a wicked sense of humour and had brought me out of dark foreboding moods on so many days.
She looked at me curiously because of the prolonged silence. It was obvious she had said something to which I hadn't responded in the right amount of time appropriate.
"Sorry?" I asked.
She shook her head. "I swear your bad habits are getting worse with pregnancy." Judy said. "I asked if you were free tonight." She smiled.
"Its laundry night, of course I'm free." I laughed and Judy winked.
We had a long standing joke. For the last three years we had made a habit of making 'laundry' dates on Tuesday nights
"Okay so we'll meet at the mat around seven?" she asked, vacating the desk chair.
"Yup, sounds good."
She winked again before going back to her cubicle. I returned to my email, deleting Judy's email. When I clicked maximized the web browser again, I saw right away that it wouldn't play anymore and held a message that said "this is no longer available, removed by user" Good old Judy, gotta love her.
I found myself at the laundry mat a bit early. Now that my wardrobe was severely diminished, I only had one bag to lug, so I had opted to walk, thinking it would buy me some time but I still only killed about twenty minutes.
One thing I should mention about myself is that I'm never on time. Although it drives me crazy I always end up late for things. I mean, I really do try but something always happens to me. Once I was late for a social function because some lady let her little poodle use my leg as a toilet and I had to change not only my shoes but my panty hose. On my way up the stairs to my apartment I had tripped and managed to bust my lip open. When I finally arrived at the function my lip was swollen, red and scabbed and I had changed my entire outfit. Really… true story.
So needless to say, me showing up early anywhere is a true miracle and should be on one of those shows. There was no one in the mat when I got there and I was relieved because I could throw all my clothes into one oversize washer and save a dollar fifty. It really is a rip off. The extra large washers are three bucks but my one large load, when the mat was full, fit into two of the 'large' washers which were two twenty-five each. Who came up with that logic? Really?
I stuffed it all in, not even caring if my socks were inside out, dumped in a cup of soap and the coins and watched the soapy water fill the glass front. When I was satisfied the damn machine wasn't going to start overflowing on me (yes it has happened to me before… long story for another time) I sat down on the bench and attached my IPod headphones. One of the few luxuries had I had allowed myself to buy. My computer and my IPod. Damn I didn't care if my TV equipment was from when dinosaurs ruled the earth as long as I had something to surf and write with and something else to give me good tunes and I was happily sedated.
Seeing as though the whole mat was empty and the blinds had been drawn on the front windows. The owners of this place were real sticklers about privacy and all that. I guess it was nice because some strange guy couldn't stand at the window and stare at your skivvies. When a particular good song came on, I couldn't help but start to groove a little…I mean who was going to see me anyway right? Besides maybe Judy if she came in but she was used to me.
So imagine the next scene. Me, five months pregnant, getting down in a laundry mat when the volume full blast not able to hear the sound of the bell above the door indicating that someone else had invaded my private dance session. I turned at almost the same moment to be absolutely horrified at the fact that a large, handsome man smiling with amusement at me. I instantly took the head phones off. I didn't know for sure but I would bet a million dollars at that instant my cheeks changed three shades of scarlet.
"Don't stop on my account." He said the amusement still in his voice as he set down his laundry basket in front of one of the washers.
"Ahh." Was all I could manage. I mean, who says anything remotely logical when that embarrassed.
He looked up and then saw my rounded stomach and his smile changed from amusement to one of politeness. He had obviously guessed that I was preggers and not just a fat girl boogying down.
"Sorry." I struggled out.
"No worries. Your secret is safe with me. Although I'm sure the security camera got a good show." He pointed up to the corner of the room where the little green light blinked. Now my embarrassment was ten times worse because now Mr. & Mrs. Gold would be able to view my show.
"The owners are used to me by now." I said, shrugging my shoulders and putting my IPod back in my purse.
"Come here a lot then?"
"Yeah, my girlfriend and I have been coming here for about three years now."
"Oh…" he looked at my stomach again. "Oh…" he said.
"No…" I said, realizing that he just thought that when I said girlfriend it meant actually girlfriend. "My Girl who is a friend. I'm not a lesbian."
He laughed because now he was embarrassed. "Sorry… I guess we're even then." He turned from the machine he was at to offer me his hand. "I'm Rockland."
"Rockland?" I asked with eyebrows raised.
"Yeah, Yeah I know. It's a really weird name. Blame my parents. I go by Rock most of the time."
"Well Rock," I took his hand in mine. "I'm Sam."
"As in Samantha?"
I nodded. "Yeah my parents are just stuffy, not weird."
He laughed and I put a hand to my mouth. I hadn't meant to let my mouth run and accidently insult his parents.
"No worries. I know my parents are weird… but you gotta love them. They are great people and I was their only boy."
"So you have a sister then?"
"I'm the youngest." He closed the door on the washer and put in his money and soap.
"I have a sister. She's younger, but only by ten months."
He raised an eyebrow.
"It was a big surprise to my father for sure. My mom goes for a check up with me and finds out she's already pregnant again. Not something you expect after just giving birth."
"So your mom had what, like only a few weeks reprieve?"
"Yeah… needless to say she was done after my sister was born and made my dad get the big V done."
He laughed. "Maybe my parents should have done that."
"I'm sure you love your big family."
"Well being the youngest of 5 women and they're all married with kids. I get stressed on about when I'm joining that club."
"So I guess no takers?"
"No, not yet."
I heard my washer start the rinse cycle and still no Judy. A glance at my cell phone indicated that it was 7:15. It was so unlike Judy to be late for our date.
"Expecting someone?" Rock asked. I looked up suddenly.
"Don't have either."
He raised his eyebrows. "Really?" he glanced at my stomach again.
"Yeah he's an asshole and left me for a prettier, younger and un-pregnant woman."
"Don't be. I'm not. I may not have planned on being a single mother but it does have some benefits."
"I don't have to put with the jerk and I can do what I want in raising my child."
He shrugged. "Don't' take any offence but I always believed that a child should have a father and a mother."
"Me too, but well we can't always control everything in our lives."
"Too true. So how far along are you?" he asked.
"Yeah I know. It's hard to tell if I'm Prego or just fat. I get that a lot."
"No, I was going to say that you were a little farther along."
It was my turn to raise an eyebrow at him.
"I wasn't implying that you were fat or anything." He said, trying to back peddle. "It's just… oh shit."
I started to laugh. "It's alright. I know you weren't meaning to be insulting."
"It's hard to say anything like that around pregnant women. My sisters were all horrible."
"So you have experience?"
"Yeah but I didn't learn anything from it."
I glanced at my cell phone again. 7:20 now. Where in the world was Judy? Not that I needed someone else to distract me from this devilishly de-lish man, but for a girl who is never late I did worry. I picked up the phone and dialed her number.
"Hello?" she answered, sounding out of breath.
"Hi, where are you?"
"Oh." There was a squeak to her voice. "I won't be able to come. I was actually going to call you. Something's come up."
There was a moment of silence that could only mean my small friend was hiding something. "I ran into an old friend."
"Have fun with Rodney and I'll see you at work tomorrow."
Judy laughed. "How did you know?"
"Because I heard that he was coming into town. He only sends every one of his acquaintances a friggin poster card when he does."
"The email wasn't that big."
"I could have fit it on a sign on the highway and the astronauts could have seen it from space."
She chuckled again. "I'll tell him you said hi."
I laughed and hung up.
While I had been chatting, Rock had begun putting more clothes into another washer.
"So I guess I'm stag."
"Friend not coming?"
"No." I was envious of her, On again, off again relationship with Rodney Miller. He was a fashion photographer and wasn't home for very long but Judy didn't want to be permanently attached to him because he was gone for months. Most people thought he was gay but really, it was just the fashion world rubbing off on him. Although I craved a more lasting commitment from a guy, I would be willing to have anything right now.
"Well I can't foresee any one else coming into this place at this time of night, so I guess it's just you and Me." he said.
"I guess so."
"So what do you do?"
"I work at a call center."
He laughed. "I take it that's not what you want to do though."
"I have a diploma in creative writing and business."
"Yeah but you can't really make much money with that."
"Have you ever written anything?"
"I have a few things started on my computer but I've never submitted anything professionally if that's what you mean." I leaned against the counter because my back was starting to protest the long time standing. "What do you do?"
"I'm a podiatrist." He said.
"You don't look like a foot doctor."
He laughed again and I knew it was genuine this time because the smile reached his creamy green eyes. Did I mention that he was completely hot?
"Yes well I guess guys like me usually end up being either 'Dr McDreamy' or Sports figures right?"
He raised his eyebrows again. I was starting to notice a trend. He did that to get me to answer him without really asking.
"I mean well you could be anything I just never expected a guy that looked at feet all day."
"Well you don't look like a call center person either."
"Thanks," I said with a sarcastic edge to my voice, "That was what I was trying to go for."
This was enough to cause him to break into loud genuine laughter. I chuckled a little too. Laughter could be contagious.
The Radio in the mat, which had previous gone unnoticed until this moment was playing one of my favourite songs.
"Hey Now, Hey now…" I sang lightly with it.
I looked up and realized that Rock had been mouthing the words.
"I like Crowded House." He said, singing the chorus again.
"Me too. I'm an 80's freak." One of my many weaknesses
He smiled and he started to play air guitar which caused me to smile.
We continued to sing the rest of the song until it ended and we both smiled at each other. It was one of those moments you only see in movies, when the lead actress realizes she's met the love of her life and somehow the guy gets the same feeling. My fantasy was interrupted not only by the startling buzz of my washer but by an awful prince song which caused Rock to grimace.
"Not all 80's music was good." He commented.
I only nodded and turned to deal with my wet laundry. Could it really be that after sharing a conversation and a good song had me realizing that maybe this man was a god send? I mean he probably didn't feel the same way, who falls for a girl you meet in a laundry mat? He probably had some weird fetish.
I put my laundry into a dryer and put in my coinage. The dryer was always cheaper for some reason. I guess because it only used electricity whereas the washer used electricity and water. Regardless, it was still the cheapest mat in my neighbourhood.
I turned and Rock was standing, or rather leaning against the counter, watching his laundry flop around in the washer. You had to be careful with that; sometimes the washer could hypnotize you. Really, it happened to a friend of Judy's. They had to have medical people come in and haul him away. Now he has a service do his laundry. True story.
"So besides sitting behind a desk, being jilted by your baby daddy and loving 80's music, what else do you like?" he asked without looking at me.
"I love fast food, in case you didn't notice."
He smirked and turned his head toward me. "Do you always use your weight as an excuse for everything?"
"You shouldn't. I think you're a pretty cool person. I don't even see the weight."
I know he meant it as a genuine comment but it's not really something a fat girl wants to hear. You've got a great personality. I mean… come on.
"Uh, thanks." Seeing now that I had misplaced my thoughts earlier about him being a gift from the heavens I returned to my bag to fetch my smutty romance novel. If I wasn't getting any in real life I could at least imagine some.
"Ug. I'm sorry. I know that was pretty lame." He came to sit beside me on the bench. "I never know what to say to women and I see I'm messed it up pretty good."
"No, it's not. I'm trying to get in your good books and so far I've just insulted you."
"It's okay. It takes a special brand of guy to be genuinely interested in a girl like me."
He shook his head. "There, see your doing it again. There isn't anything wrong with your size."
I smiled to myself and put the book down to look at him. "Let's be honest. You're not attracted to me because I'm a larger woman."
"You're not as large as you think you are, besides your pregnant, I'm sure some of that extra-ness is baby."
Okay so he was starting to turn into an alright guy.
"So what? You are attracted to me?"
He laughed. "Surprisingly yes."
I couldn't help but laugh too. "Surprisingly?"
"Well I never thought that I would feel this way about a pregnant woman."
"So it isn't the plus size that scares you it's the baby?"
He nodded. "I'm sorry if that sounds superficial. I think you're very good looking."
Okay he was turning into a really good guy.
"Not something I expected from a man I met a laundry mat."
I instantly thought of something. "If you're a doctor… don't you have like a big house with your own washing machine?"
He shook his house. "Promise you won't laugh…"
"I'm not making any promises."
"I still live at home."
There is was… the quirk as to why he was still single.
I didn't laugh.
"I know it's pretty lame but well I'm a big Momma's boy."
"I see by your lack of response that this isn't getting me any brownie points."
"Ah… I just never expected…"
"I know. Well everyone has a fault I guess. I can't say no to my parents. All my sisters have moved out and every time I mention finding my own place, my father won't hear of it."
I guess in a way it was noble, I mean he was too sweet to refuse his parents but then again, my mother had balled her eyes out the day I moved out. She had even called me after a week to say that my room was still open if I couldn't handle it.
"I have to grow a backbone and tell them I'm leaving. Especially if I plan on my own family one day."
"And I guess you have thought of that."
"Yes, but I haven't really had any serious relationships so my parents don't believe me."
So maybe it's just me, but is it unusual to meet a guy in a laundry mat and before your clothes are done you know most of his life story? He is very good looking. I'm not into those chiseled guys. His face still had some "baby" fat on it and maybe his eyebrows could use a little grooming but his lips were full and sooo kissable. And his eyes… I mean I have never seen eyes that colour. I couldn't even think of something the same colour. They were just a light green that was creamy instead of vibrant. I mean in certain lights I guess you could mistake it for blue. I didn't see much of his body. He wasn't exactly Fabio or anything… but his arms seemed bigger than my legs… being a fat girl I have pretty big thighs. If that was any indication I'm sure the rest of his body was nothing to complain about. And I mean… how many guys would sing a Crowded House song with you? Not many I've ever known. Not even my metro-sexual friend Rodney liked 80's music.
"Well the baby's dad is the only one I've had that I thought was serious…" How much of a mistake was that to believe?
"Maybe he just thought you were easy."
I shrugged. "I should have held out."
"How long were you with him?"
"Six months, then as soon as I mention the P word to him, he splits. Now he and Julia are having a great old time. From what I hear she can't have kids so he's safe there."
He shook his head. "He does sound like an asshole."
"Well if the shoe fits…"
"Need me to rough him up a bit for ya?" he asked jokingly.
"Believe it or not, my friend Judy is the bull dog of my friends."
I laughed and pulled out my wallet. Last year Judy had insisted on getting professional pictures done where they do your makeup and arrange your wardrobe. I had to admit that it had been a confidence booster. I opened up my wallet the picture of me and her. We were standing in the picture so you could obviously see how small she really is. I showed the picture to Rock and he looked at me with a question in his eyes.
"Oh yeah. She once ran down a guy that made a nasty comment about me. He regretted ever saying anything and after she had him down on the ground with his arm painfully twisted in a bad angle did he apologize."
Rock started to laugh.
"I'm not kidding."
"That little thing was able to take down a full sized man."
"Oh yeah. I would say he had to have been at least 6 foot, 220."
True Story… No kidding.
"Wow… well remind me not to piss her off."
I smiled. I took my wallet back from him and glanced at the picture before closing it. I had looked pretty hot in that picture. Most pictures of me I had something in my hand. Why was it that friends always choose to take pictures of you at the most un-opportune times? You know those ones where you have a mouth full of food or your mouth is open? Or you doing some weird ass pose?
The Dryer took that opportunity to buzz to say it was done. My cotton clothes didn't take long to dry. I really did miss the jeans that made by butt look good, or the tops that sucked in my gut. Of course they needed more delicate cycles and had to hang dry. Now, they were carefully packed away in my storage space.
I started to stuff the clothes back in the laundry bag.
"You don't fold your clothes?" he asked.
"Most have to be hung up or ironed anyway." Ha. Like I ironed. If you hung something up long enough in a steamy bathroom it usually started to go straight. Besides, you wear something that's been ironed and five seconds later it's wrinkled again anyway.
"Oh…" he looked disappointed. I guess he wanted to have an opportunity to talk to me more.
"I come every Tuesday." I offered.
I suddenly realized that he hadn't actually answered my question about why he was in a laundry mat. If he lived with his parents at their house, wouldn't they have a washer and dryer?
"Well this really is only a temporary solution. I guess I drifted off in my talking. My parents' machines are in being fixed. My mother told me to wash it manually and hang dry abut I'm lazy."
I laughed. Had he just read my mind?
"Well I could give you my number." I offered. Oh my god… was I trying to make a move. Does it seem wrong for a pregnant woman to want to get it on with a stranger?
Like he would call me anyway.
I pulled out a pad and scribbled down my home and cell numbers and handed it to him.
He took and slipped it into his pants pocket. Hmm, would he remember he put the paper or would it mysteriously end up in the washer and turn into mush?
"I'll call you." He said.
I pulled the drawstring on my canvas laundry bag tight. A little too tight because it rubbed painfully against the skin on my index finger. I bit my lip. I was already embarrassed enough, no need to cry out over something so superficial. I waved at him.
"Nice to meet you Sam."
"You too." And I left. Maybe a little too quickly but the cool air helped my head clear a little. Could it really be possible for a girl like me to get a guy like that?