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Wednesday, September 06, 2006 

The Second Line

Today, loneliness for me was standing waiting in the town centre public toilets waiting to see if a second line would appear on the do-it-yourself pregnancy test I’d bought from the local Superdrugs.

Earlier on in the day loneliness had been waking up feeling nauseous and tender at the base of my stomach. It had been looking through my diary and realising that it was the fourth day of getting this exact feeling for the few hours after I’d woken up, and it dissipating sometime around one o clock.

Loneliness was getting out of bed, padding downstairs and dragging The Family Doctor out of the bookcase and looking up “pregnancy” in the index. It was going down the list and saying “yes” to everything on it except vomiting.

Loneliness was going back upstairs and checking my calendar, looking to see when I was last due my period, and finding out that I’m just gone two months late. A lost period is no longer due too much consideration. My weight fluctuates all the time, and last month I was so stressed that when my period didn’t come I was hardly surprised. But it shouldn’t disappear for two months. Specially when I’ve spent so much time on holidays. Specially when there are so many other symptoms.


Relief was shoving the stupid white piece of plastic into my bag and walking out of the toilets. It was walking along with Stacey and finally working up the courage to drag it out and check the results. It was checking that the time had long since elapsed, and the second line being very definitively non-existent.

Relief was sitting eating potato wedges and knowing that the rest of the day was not going to be spent going over and over the pros and cons of abortion, adoption, and having a baby at university.

Relief was being able to think about my ex without following the label with “the father of my child.” Relief was not having to spend hours trying to phone him up simply to tell him those two horrors, “I’m pregnant.”

Relief was throwing the test away an hour later happy in the certainty that that second line definitely wasn’t going to suddenly appear.


Having sex with him again wasn’t a mistake. It was good, it was a relief, and casual sex isn’t a problem if no one gets hurt. The only problem is that what if I’d been wrong? What if I had got hurt? What if that second line had appeared? Then it doesn’t matter how good it had felt at the time. It doesn’t matter that we’d both consented, and were both happy with our separate outcomes. Our decision to be separate entities would have been completely irrelevant as we’d still have been joined by that stupid blue line.

Whatever my final decision, whatever happened to that life inside me, the line would still have been there. In years to come I’d look back and wonder what had happened to that line. I’d either be looking at a kid, I’d have an adoption certificate, or I’d have the mental scar of an abortion.

I’ll have casual sex again. I just can’t promise that I’ll never do it, it wouldn’t be realistic. This time I’m lucky, but next time I’ll be more careful. This time the second line didn’t appear, and now I can only hope that there won’t be a next time.

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About me

  • An albatross can fly for thousands of miles without getting tired. I've always thought that love is similar to flying, therefore we should aspire to be like the albatross.

    I don't know if I can do that. So far I haven't been so lucky. But one day I'll test my wings with someone, and flying won't be so hard after all. Or so painful.
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    * In 2001 one New Zealand fishing boat killed over 300 seabirds in just one trip, while fishing for ling.
    * Each year over 300,000 seabirds are killed by longline fishing.
    * Over the past 60 years some albatross populations have declined by 90%.
    * Annually around 10,000 albatross and petrels are caught in New Zealand waters alone.
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