Molly is in shock.
She is pregnant, unmarried, and just two months shy of her 16th birthday.
What would Tyrone say?
What would her parents say?
How could she take care of a baby?
What should she do?
She places a hand on her belly. There is a baby growing inside there now.
She lies down on her bed, the same bed where she lost her virginity and conceived this baby now growing inside her. A mess of confused feelings swirl inside her.
Tyrone leaves his seventh period class. Most of the students are going home, some of them head to the library or extracurricular activities. It is a warm day, as summer rapidly approaches.
He catches up with Molly in the quad. The look on her face indicated she is going to reveal some news that he would not like.
"What's wrong?" he asks.
"Uh, well," she says. "Uh, it's nothing."
"Yeah, well, it looks like I'll be going back to my old school next year."
"They're not bussing people anymore?"
"No, just me. I was told that my old school wanted me back, since I did so well on the sophomore team here, so my old school wants me on the junior varsity team."
"Yeah, I guess it's do to with money and stuff. I heard sports and stuff brings in a lot of money for schools."
"I am gonna miss seeing you every day, you know. I remember when I got into that bus the first time, wondering why I had to go through this shit. Even after I spoke to you that first time, I still wanted back at my old school. We need to somehow stay together."
He starts to walk away, to catch the bus, and feels Molly grabs his hand.
"Tyrone, I'm pregnant," says Molly.
Later that night, Tyrone sits at the small desk in his bedroom, looking like he is staring at a textbook. But the content of the textbook is far from his mind.
He had been unusually quiet for dinner, and he told his mom and brothers and sisters that he just had to study, and mentioned that he would be going back to his old school his junior year.
He barely notices the twin-sized bed, the posters with sports stars, the books on the small mini bookshelf mounted on the wall, or anything else.
He only thinks about Molly being pregnant. He had created life within her.
What could he do?
What would he tell his mom and everyone else?
And what would he do about it?
It would be so easy for him to disappear. After all, he is going back to his old school, and he would not have to see Molly every day.
And what could he do for the baby, if Molly decides to give birth? How could he take care of the baby? It was not like Molly and the baby would have to end up on welfare. Molly's family is rich, and Molly herself makes far more money in teen fashion modeling than he ever would if he got a job at Wal-Mart, or even a job waiting on tables at a restaurant a few years later. And there is no way she would let him raise the baby in his hood.
If she has the baby, the baby will already have all of society's advantages. Certainly the baby will have more privilege than Tyrone ever had fifteen years ago. And how would Molly's parents accept him as the father of their grandchild? While most parents were supportive of racial integration in areas like schools and buses and drinking fountains, most would be opposed to the idea of racial integration happening in the wombs of their 15-year-old daughters.
What could he offer?
What kind of father could he possibly be?
Molly is inside her bedroom, partially relieved. She lifts up the hem of her shirt, feeling her belly, which had gotten slightly bigger.
She had figured that it was time to tell her parents. A three-hundred pound obese girl could hide a pregnancy until the baby crawls out. But with her frame, she is already starting to show.
The reaction of her parents was what she had expected, but it still made her flinch and cry. They ranted and screamed about how they raised her better, how she could have forgotten about sex ed, how she broke their trust, and how they so want to cancel her sweet sixteen party in August.
And while she was close to her parents and they supported her in her activities, such as her fashion modeling, she had never placed this kind of demand on them. She would have been in much less trouble if she had been caught with heroin or cocaine, like a few girls from her school.
Would they make her give up the baby or have an abortion? She herself did not know what she would have to do. All she knows is that she might regret what decision she may make.
She still does not have the answers on the last day of school- Tyrone's last day at her school.
"What will you do?" asks Tyrone.
"I..I don't know," says Molly.
"I wish there was something I could do. I mean, I'm too young to get a good paying job. Even working with electronics and shit won't make as much money as you do modeling. I'm sure the baby will have a better life with you."
"Yeah, I guess."
She looks on as he leaves for the bus, leaves the school for perhaps the last time. She wonders if she would see him again.
Memories of her first meeting with him surface and flood her mind.
She still remembers that fateful day, the heat and passion she felt, as he plunged into the depths of her intimacy, awakening feelings she did not know was possible.
And while the life growing inside her scares her and stresses her, it also excites her.
The heat of the day leaves its residue outside at night. The pizza place is not crowded, save for a party- Tyrone's sixteenth birthday,. He is there with his friends and family. A waitress clad in a blue shirt and black miniskirt serves hot pizza with all sorts of toppings. and the meals are laid down on a checkered tablecloth that covers a dining table. The dining room is dimly lit, and neon signs advertising Budweiser and Coors hang on the wall.
There are some little kids running around. Tyrone had met them; they were Roger's nephews. He sees their father scoop them up in his arms. They seem to be smiling, and the children love their father.
It reminds him of his unborn child, now growing inside Molly's womb. He had not spoken to her for months. He had thought that it would be best for him to move on, knowing that the baby would have everything.
Except one thing.
Tyrone remembers that Roger's brother was on welfare around the time they were born. And yet, he stuck by them and his wife, even though he could provide little for them then.
And Brandon's parents were still together, even back when they had far less money. And yet they were still there for their children, not leaving them behind.
He asks the others to excuse him, and walks to a pay phone. He dials a number.
And gets a message that the number is disconnected.
It does not surprise him that the number is disconnected. Molly's parents no doubt cut off her cell phone service after learning she was pregnant.
He wonders how to contact her. Just showing up out of the blue at her front door does not seem to be a good idea.
Later that evening, he gets an idea.
Molly gets the mail from the mailbox outside her house. It is cooler than the intense heat of the past week. She had an ultrasound at a hospital earlier that day, and from what the doctor told her, the baby is doing fine.
Among the envelopes from various companies trying to sell stuff to her and her parents, she notices a cream colored envelope, with her name and address, like those used to send cards.
Going to her room, she opens the envelope. She sees a cardboard card, with a sweet sixteen message. The front of the card has an image of red and white carnations. Inside the card was a printed message wishing a happy sweet sixteen to the recipient.
In addition to that, there is a message written in blue ink, and she reads it.
"Happy sweet 16. I want to be there for the two of you. Tyrone".
Molly places her right hand on her pregnant belly. She had thought he had abandoned her, which would have been so easy as he lives quite a distance away.
Is he willing to meet her? And to be a father?
Molly's sweet sixteen party is held at a banquet room in a country club. The room is decorated with balloons, and tablecloths cover the table.
The guests started out with salad and dinner rolls, with bread, Italian dressing, and blue cheese dressing on the side. Entrees of salmon or tri-tip with sautéed asparagus are served on ceramic plates.
Tyrone speaks with Molly in the reception area outside the room. The reception area has cloth-covered tables. Plates with remnants of hors d'oeuvres such as cubed cheese and sliced smoked sausages sit on the tables.
"The food was good," he said.
"Okay, what about my parents?" asked Molly.
"I'm surprised they even invited me here. I thought they'd get a restraining order or something. I mean, I did get you pregnant and all."
"I wasn't expecting them to even have this party for me. My dad called it a one evening parole." Molly pauses for a few seconds "Did you tell your mom?"
"Yeah." Tyrone had finally been relieved after telling his mom about getting Molly pregnant. There was the screaming and yelling he had expected. "I told her I would not abandon the baby." He looks at her belly. "I can't offer much now, but I can offer me. I can offer a father."
"I don't know. I mean, to raise a baby at my age."
"I'll be there to welcome the baby into the world. That's the least I can do."
"The place looked comfortable," said Molly.
"We certainly had plenty of time to break that stuff in," says Tyrone.
Molly is standing on the balcony outside Tyrone's apartment. The balcony provides a view of a courtyard with a wide variety potted plants. The place is well-kept, if showing wear and tear; some of the support poles have peeling paint.
She had come to meet Tyrone's family. She looked around the neighborhood where he had grown up. She had noticed the little shops and the liquor stores and the family-owned fast food places and diners. The apartment complex has cream-colored stucco walls.
The interior of the apartment looks used. There is a small kitchen in the back, with a small dining table. Pot roast had been served for lunch. Molly had enjoyed herself, even though the surroundings had been more lower scale than she was used to. She did learn quite a lot, such as Tyrone's little brother, Kedrick, being a fan of One Piece, his older brother Lamont working at an oil change place for cars, Tyrone himself once having fixed the old family TV a few weeks ago, which is still working, and his mother talking about raising children. She had told Molly that money will make it easier to buy the things for her baby, but she would have to work just as hard.
Tyrone looks at her. Her face has a little bit more fat than when he first met her, and her red hair is tied in a bun. She wears a blue dress, and a baby bump is clearly visible. It is small now, and will surely get bigger and bigger. Something about that appeals to the boy in a primal sense, even though he knows it is a source of a lot of stress for him and for her.
Memories of that fateful day, when he lay on her, surface. The sight of her nude body, the contrast of skin colors, her female parts wrapped around his male parts, the pleasure of blasting his jizz inside her. It is enough to get him excited.
"How's school?" asks Molly.
"Uh, fine. You still doing modeling?"
"My agent wants to wait until after I've had a baby. I wouldn't be a good role model, being sixteen and pregnant and all."
"Maybe you can be on a TV show."
"You know how many girls like me try to get on that show?"
"A lot, I guess. You do have connections."
Molly places a hand on her baby bump. "Raising a baby is gonna be hard," she says.
"Yeah," replies Tyrone. "You know, thousands of years ago, people used to survive by digging up roots and killing animals with sharp sticks."
"Yeah, I guess," replies Molly.
"And people back then weren't much older than we are now when they had babies. And yet they managed to raise babies. No air conditionin', no electricity or cars or bathrooms. And then one of them figured out how to plant seeds and grow new plants for food, and another dude.."
"Or lady, it could have been."
"…or lady, figured out how to raise baby animals like cows or goats or sheep for food. And they started with jack shit. And yet, because of them, people now are able to support kids by having their pictures taken or fixing cars and computers. We just have to keep on going, just like them."
Molly wakes up, feeling wet on her upper thighs. She knows what this is from what the doctors had told her in her many visits. It is soon after that she feels a first contraction.
Her parents whisk her to the hospital, her mother reassuring her that it will be okay.
She is in a room with walls painted light blue. Doctors in gowns and caps and masks surround her as she lay in the bed. She hears that her cervix is dilating. Monitors are attached to her via wires. The room looks sterile, but in a warm sort of way.
About forty minutes later, Tyrone arrives. He had been nervous the entire time here, and he barely noticed his surroundings from the time he left to the time he arrives. He looks at Molly, now dressed in a hospital gown. Her hugely pregnant belly is her main feature, and had been for the past few weeks.
After scrubbing his hands, he walks in.
"How do you feel?" he asks.
"It hurts," replies the girl. She feels cramps in her belly. They were subtle at first, and are now plainly obvious.
Molly takes deep breaths. She reflects on the past few months. The growth of her belly as it accommodated the baby, the doctor visits, the glances and stares at school, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the baby shower in her house, with her friends giving her gifts like toys and baby food and diapers and her dad reminding them to keep their legs shut.
For hours and hours her cervix dilates, getting wider and wider. A doctor mentions that the baby's head can be seen. Molly feels more and more contractions.
"AAAAAHHH!" she screams as she feels the most intense set of contractions she has ever felt. The pain is intense, much more than when the veil of her virginity was pierced nine months before. All feeling flows down to her womb. The others in the delivery room reassure her.
"You can do it," says Tyrone.
Molly pushes and pushes hard with her womb muscles, and feels the baby that had been gestating inside her for nine months coming out.
Tyrone looks on. His mouth opens from behind his mask as the baby- his baby's- head emerges from Molly's dilated vagina.
Molly makes one last push, and the baby emerges, crying. A nurse cuts the umbilical cord. Another nurse takes the baby and the new mother reaches out with her arms. She sees that her new baby is a boy.
The new parents look at their new son. He is a shade lighter than Tyrone. Wisps of black hair cover his head. Two plump cheeks frame the face, which has a flat nose. The two eyes are shut. Five tiny fingers emerge from the tiny palms of each tiny hand, and five tiny toes likewise stick out from the tiny soles of the tiny feet.
A nurse holds the baby. A few more contractions, and Molly expels the placenta, which is placed in a plastic box with a biohazard label on it.
"We agreed you will name the baby if it's a boy," says Molly, catching her breath after having completed over twelve hours of labor.
"His name is Kirk," says Tyrone.
Tyrone and Molly welcome the newcomer Kirk into the world. They both know that the hard part has just started.
Tyrone walks up the stairs in Molly's house, on a visit to his son. He needed to relax after those midterms the previous day. He casts aside memories of staying up late, reading books and study sheets, the stress of taking the actual tests.
The nursery looks pretty much as it did the last time he had been here. There are various soft baby toys on the floor. A crib is the centerpiece of the nursery, with a mast arm extending from one corner of the crib, where toys are suspended from the end via strings.
Molly sleeps on a blanket, her red hair spread out in a fan. She wears a white blouse and blue jean shorts. Tyrone notices she is curvier than she was when he first met her. Their son Kirk sleeps next to her, dressed in little baby clothes. He is noticeably bigger than when he was born three months ago.
Tyrone nudges her awake.
"You're here," she says.
"I called ahead of time, and your parents let me in. They're downstairs."
They both know they will remain here to ensure that they do not give Kirk a brother or sister.
"What time is it?" asks Molly, rubbing her eyes.
"That late?" asks the girl. "Wow. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night 'cause the baby was crying."
Suddenly, Kirk starts crying loudly. Tyrone picks him up.
"I'll take care of him," he says. He rocks his son back and forth for a while as he cries, giving him what he can give right now.
Molly looks at him. His features look a little sharper than when they first met. She briefly wonders if being a father caused him to age a little faster.
"Anything new going on?" he asks.
"I'm still trying to get some more modeling gigs this summer," she replies. "Now that I'm not pregnant, I can start again when Kirk is a few months older. And of course there's school."
"Yeah, there's school. And taking care of the baby on weekends, with your parents here, of course. I sure learned how messy it can be."
Already this has changed their lives. And though it has been hard, having to devote their lives to someone else, they do not give up.
How could they?
And through their son, they learned lessons that they could not from school or a book.
And maybe, just maybe, they can be more than just two people who happen to have a child together.
They will just have to take it one day at a time.