It was only supposed to be a one night stand. I think to myself as I reach across the cold mahogany desk for the thick stack of forms. I watch the social workers lips as she speaks. She sounds as if she’s talking under water. “Ms. Peterson,” She says. “Are you sure this is what you want?” I wish she would stop asking me that question. It’s all I’ve thought about for the last nine months. “I can’t have a baby,” I say flatly. “And you Mr. Goldman, are you sure you want to relinquish all of your parental rights? You have other options,” Katherine says looking back and forth from me to Riley. He’s sitting next to me gaping at the woman with his mouth open. He looks over at my swollen belly. It’s so big that I have to lean forward to reach the table. He swallows hard. “Yes I’m sure,” He says avoiding Katherine’s gaze.
The day I told Riley I was pregnant was the day I decided not to keep the baby. I never wanted kids but I knew that if I ever changed my mind it would be because I was with a man that I truly loved. I don’t love Riley. In fact looking over at his nervous face I wonder why I ever slept with him in the first place. It wasn’t hard to convince him to give the baby up. This child would be a constant reminder of my short comings, of both of our short comings. We know that a baby would only bond us together and neither of us wants that.
I sign the final documents and slide them over to Riley. He hesitates. “What will happen once the baby is born,” He says his pin hovering over the forms. “A social worker will come to the hospital room and meet with you. She will then take the child to a foster home until we find a family to adopt him or her. I have to tell you that there are a lot of African American children in foster care. It could be very difficult to find a home for your child.” Riley looks over at me and I can see the guilt in his eyes. He signs the paper, pushes away from the table and leaves the room. “Thank you,” I say standing as quickly as I can and following Riley out the door. I wobble out of the room and step into the brisk San Francisco air. Riley is half way down the block when I spot him. I call out his name and he spins around fast. His green eyes are piercing through me.
“Come on Riley don’t be that guy,” I say when I approach him. I’ve told you from the beginning that I was going to give the baby up for adoption.” He shoves his hands in his pocket and shuffles his feet from side to side. “How can you be so nonchalant?” He says. “Can’t someone in your family take the baby?” I’m sure the agency will find someone to adopt her,” I say. I came to the bay area to get away from my family. Everyday someone was asking me what I planned to do once the baby is born. I don’t want them to have to bear the burden of my mistake. “She will be fine. If you’re so worried about her than why don’t you or your family take her?” He looks at me solemnly. “It’s a girl,” He says. His eyes mist a little. He turns his back to me. “You should have had an abortion,” He says as he ambles away. I stand on the sidewalk watching him until he’s out of sight. I didn’t have an abortion because this baby didn’t ask me screw Riley in the men’s room at a Vegas night club. It was my fault I got pregnant not hers. She should at least be given a chance to live.