Hilda showed up at my house last night, her eyeballs red and popping out, an obvious sign she’s been crying. I assumed she knew about Stephen’s unfaithfulness, but I didn’t want to assume anything and let her speak first. She asked if we could go out and talk privately; I was reluctant at first, and after checking with mom who was in the kitchen preparing dinner, I had a couple of minutes to spare.
Walking to her car, I remembered the first time I caught her crying: She was in class with Claudia, complaining about Simon’s ex-girlfriend who’s been trying to sabotage her relationship with him for months. When I walked inside the classroom looking for her, she instantly wiped her tears as soon as I stepped in and smiled like nothing happened.
Previous to that, she’d only get watery eyes when she’s really upset, and always made sure not to show any real tears. Being the same, I liked that about her. It showed her resilience and ability to control herself in stressful and tough situations. “Crying in front of people is a bad idea”, she once stridently said to me. “They’ll smell weakness and will stop taking you seriously.” But I guess the closer she got to someone, the more she let her guards down.
We both got inside her car and sat in complete silence. She zoned out for a few seconds, her eyes staring far away into the darkness of the night until she broke down again and cried. I asked her what was wrong and she finally spilled it out: “I’m pregnant.” It took me a few seconds to process what she had just said, and even then I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to laugh, but I restrained myself so I don’t make the situation any worse for her. She said she was around eight weeks into her pregnancy and was undoubtful the baby was Stephen’s. It’s funny how someone’s life can fall apart in such a short period of time. She repetitively complained about her tribulations, and I kept telling her that dwelling was, at this point, wasteful.
Radical acceptance is something both of us often found an extremely hard time to abide by without thinking we’re yielding out of failure. Ever since her and Stephen got together I’ve grown into a bitter, old crone who seethed with jealousy and anger toward both of them for making my life so miserable. I’d become sick to my stomach just being around them, and the fact I had to keep it together every time we hung out felt like torture.
I tried weighing her options together, but all she could see were negative aspects of the situation. She talked about not telling her parents and delaying her move to Paris, as well as different other irrational thoughts. I kept explaining to her that what’s done is done, and that her options were limited, and she kept on missing the point. Although her parents were somewhat conservative individuals who deeply cared about their reputation, they had to know. I couldn’t see how she couldn’t tell them; if she decided to keep the baby, a couple of months down the road, her bump would show. If she decided she wanted to get rid of it, she’ll need her parents’ financial assistance to pay for the procedure as well as someone to drive her to the clinic which was inconveniently located outside of Freiburg.
Throughout her emotional ordeal, I kept myself in check and avoided coming off as patronizing, but when she started acting in a self-fulfilling prophecy kind of way, I started to think that she wasn’t trying hard enough to get out of her situation which definitely came off as unreasonable and a waste of my time. Even then, I couldn’t accuse her of wanting attention because she was indeed pregnant and figuring out whether or not to keep the baby. It was also hard for me to keep the discovery I’ve made of Stephen and Claudia a secret, but I couldn’t bring myself to make her situation any worse. I definitely wanted to deliver the sad news to her, though. Part of me was excited to feed my insatiable appetite for emotional distress, but I thought I’d be wiser for me to indirectly relay proof of her so-called boyfriend’s disloyalty.
Hilda couldn’t make up her mind, but by the end of our conversation, she had gathered herself together. I told her to call me if she needed anything, and got out of her car. Walking back inside my house, I was fascinated by how we suddenly grow a heart without realizing it and only at the expense of other people’s misfortunes. I wouldn’t have cared nor showed compassion or support had Hilda hadn’t been going through her torment. My tender heartedness immediately diminished by the time I got to my room. As I closed the door, I felt a shiver of excitement as I thought of a smart way to end her relationship with Stephen. I signed into my Trevor Domvik e-mail account, attached the photo I took of Stephen and Claudia to a new message and sent it to her.