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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 23 page 09

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With my eyes on his back, I recognize a distinctive waddle as he pads off into the distance. I realize that I’ve been completely mistaken. What I thought was a he is, in fact, a very tall, and pregnant, female rabbit. I should really cut the girl some slack, I think. It’s a job. She needs the money and has got to be burning up inside that getup, what with carrying the extra weight and the change in her center of gravity.

“That was weird,” Toby says.

“Definitely,” I agree, not telling him my suspicion about the true gender of the rabbit. “There must be something about all those easter eggs, and about rabbits being symbols of fertility, that made the oversized bunny curious.”

“You’re not even pregnant yet, and everyone’s already trying to get in our business. Crazy.”

“I could be pregnant,” I dispute. “The test didn’t say I wasn’t.”

“It didn’t say you were either.”

I clam up, hoping to prove Toby wrong. I know I’m pregnant – I’ve been off the pill for months, we haven’t been using anything, and I’ve already missed my period. Not to mention I could barely get my waistband buttoned this morning.

Leave it to Toby to put all his stock in a medical test — which is not foolproof in the least.

It was just my luck to pee on the stick and have it show absolutely nothing, drawing a complete blank. Neither positive nor negative. I hadn’t thought to google how to take the test beforehand. It can’t be rocket science, can it? I mean, I am either pregnant or I’m not. There can be no in between.

Toby and I finally get up to the counter and the clerk at the cash register, whose name tag reads “Azalea,” asks Toby the reason for the return. Pulling the plastic stick out of its packaging, he says, “My wife took this test and it didn’t give us an answer. It didn’t give any answer at all.”

Azalea picks the stick up with her thumb and forefinger carefully, so as not to touch the end soaked with urine. She inspects it, then looks for the plus or minus sign or double bars in the window, which remains empty.

“Hmmm... Could be a manufacturer defect.” She is already ringing up the return.

I had wanted to throw the darn thing out and purchase a new one, to make like this isn’t really happening, but Toby insisted on going back. A test should give a result, he said. And this particular test had been far from cheap.

I only go back to the store with him because I’m hoping he thinks the refund can be put to better use at a later date, say, for diapers or formula. He wouldn’t have had any problem going by himself — he’s never minded running out alone at a moment’s notice to buy my feminine products for me.

Azalea hands Toby the money back and looks me square in the eye. “Try first morning urine, it’s undiluted. Or drink about a gallon of sweet tea and hold it till you think you might burst. Then take the test.”

“Okay, thanks,” Toby says, as if he were the one peeing on the stick instead of me. “We’re new at this,” he adds. I cringe, standing next to him. Can we get out of here already?

“I hope you get the result you want,” Azalea says, dismissing us with a wave of her hand and signaling the next person in line to come forward.

Toby, who is a displaced Northerner, chuckles. “Only in the South would they tell you to drink sweet tea. Everywhere else they would just say drink water.”

“At least she was helpful,” I say as we head to the refrigerated section to pick up a half gallon of tea and then circle back to the feminine hygiene aisle to get a new test.

When I wake up the next morning, I make sure not to go to the bathroom right away. I open the fridge, uncap the bottle of tea, and try to drink the entire contents down at once. Then I take Roscoe the dog out for his walk.

When we get back, I am practically in pain. I have to cross and uncross my legs constantly and squeeze my pelvic muscles together hard to keep from peeing myself.

I grab the test from the kitchen counter and head to the bathroom, barely making it to the toilet on time. Once relieved, I stare at the window in the test strip, thinking I’ll have to wait the designated three minutes to read my result.

There’s no need. Within seconds, the plus sign appears, instantly darkening from light pink to deep burgundy.

I shriek and run out of the bathroom and down the hallway, my hand firmly gripping the test. Toby is sitting up in bed when I get in the room. I wave the test in front of his face.

“You’re spraying,” he says. “Lemme look.”

“It’s positive,” I say. I can’t stop smiling. “I’m pregnant. Finally.”

I get under the covers and snuggle up next to him. He wraps his arms around me. A goofy grin spreads over his face. “I knew you were all along,” he says.