It was a normal Monday. Todd, sitting at his desk twirling a football around in his hands, was discussing lunch plans with his coworker, Rachel.
“Let’s try that paleo place that just popped up down the street,” she said.
He winced. His lunches were an opportunity for him to eat terribly considering his dinners mainly consisted of quinoa, barley, and fish he’d never heard of before.
“Eh, fuck it,” he responded. “I might just order in.”
He leaned forward to grab his phone off the corner of his desk. It was turned over so he wouldn’t be distracted by incoming texts or Snapchats. Pressing the side button to reveal his home screen, he saw one text sitting atop a series of ESPN alerts that he’d been meaning to turn off for months.
Unlocking his phone to immediately reveal the message, he saw a cryptic and ambiguous statement that left him wondering what it could possibly mean.
His immediate thought was that he was going to go home to another dog. There had been discussions about giving Sperry a “brother,” but there were no actual strides made that he knew of. His read receipts on, he knew her text deserved an immediate response.
“Can you just tell me now?”
Seconds passed before “…” appeared above they keyboard. Her response came in faster than he anticipated, so he swiped his notifications down in an effort to hide the fact that he had read her text.
“You’ll just have to wait and find out.”
It did nothing but stoke the fire of his imagination. In what began as a simple notification that she had some news, his brain began to count the different ways that her news could possibly affect his life. Had she found a new job? Had she booked a trip? Did she buy new drapes to drown out the sun from their living area? The possibilities were, in all actuality, endless.
But as he sat back in his desk chair, something started to dawn on him. This news couldn’t possibly be bad given that she used the word “exciting” preceding it in her text. This ruled out any type of sickness or death in the family, but it also made him realize that their definitions of “exciting” could be completely different.
And it dawned on him.
He said it audibly. Audibly enough for Rachel to hear him as she was putting her phone in her purse en route to the restaurant she had previously mentioned before.
“Everything alright?” she asked.
“Yeah, yeah, everything’s fine,” he responded while shuffling some papers on his desk attempting to pretend the issue at hand was work-related. “Like I said, go ahead without me. I forgot to do something this morning that I’ll need to wrap up over lunch here.”
Shrugging, she walked away from her desk and said, “Suit yourself,” as she turned the corner.
With everyone in his department out of sight, he leaned forward in his chair. Elbows on the table, hands over his face, he thought to himself, “How can she possibly be pregnant?”
He racked his brain trying to think about the times they’d been intimate over the last month or so. Outside of a few drunken times that he could hardly remember, he was positive that they had been safe and deliberate in their actions to not get pregnant. But when he flashed back to the previous weekend where they’d fought, fear ran through his veins.
“Was she drunk and emotional due to…,” he wondered. “No, that can’t be.”
He thought more.
“But maybe she didn’t even know yet. Maybe she just took the test this morning. Maybe she’s been pregnant since Memorial Day in Napa and we’ve just not known.”
A hailstorm of thoughts ran through his head while he could literally feel sweat building on his brow.
“But we’ve gone out every weekend since then. How would that affect our kid if she actually wants to have one?”
He shook his mouse to wake his computer back up. Opening a new tab, he typed “how long after sex pregnant” in the search bar. Unable to comprehend the information, he came to the realization that knowing these things really didn’t even matter if she actually was pregnant.
Todd looked down at his watch and realized that it had been twenty minutes since she’d texted him and he had yet to actually send a read receipt. In his mind, if this news was this important, he knew he had to formulate some type of response. After all, this could be the mother of his child.
He again unlocked his phone and opened the text, thus sending her the receipt.
Read 12:27 p.m.
His fingers began nervously typing (and deleting) awkwardly phrased sentences that he thought showed too much concern or worry. “She’s ‘excited,'” he thought to himself. “If SHE’s excited, YOU need to be excited, Todd.”
When he finally decided on what to say, he only thought it acceptable to leave work early and hear the news before it took over his entire day. And as he imagined her sitting there waiting for a response, he finally pressed send.
“Alright, taking off a bit early today. Will you be home around two?” .
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