Military School Pregnancy

a nonfiction


Our friends were married in his back yard.
A party that next night, a never-ending,
morphing menu kept alive by those candles
in tin cans caterers use. We got there at 4,
per the invitation, though it didn’t start till
6, per the time-zone change—American to
Mexican. The blurry lines surrounding his
status, solidified that night—though that’d
happened a long time ago, for anyone who’s
known him.

Stuffed with tacos, guacamole, cheese pizza,
Dominican rum mixed roughly into pina
colada mix, we arrived home, to a buffet of
noise—a Christian revival going on in the
park a half a block west, a street fest a
couple blocks south, and a birthday party a
few houses down, our downstairs neighbor’s.
It was either the oldest or the middle, turning
17 or 18, depending. The mariachi band of
cousins and uncles no doubt hired out again.

We kept it simple, on the front porch. Kike
(it rhymes with TK), our cantankerously
jovial first-floor package-holder, patrolman
and informant, juvenile at times, wise at
others—diabetic always—and who we think
is his nephew, our company. We talked
longer than normal, lured into real
conversation by our full bellies and our
early return, and had to suffer the diversity
of this city without the protection our status
and money can usually buy. The 17 year old
was pregnant we found out, some jerk-off
kid at the military school where she goes.
He wanted to pay her to have an abortion—
that’s what Kike said. She said no. Her
father’s hurting. That motherfucker. We’re
all thinking it; Kike is just more vocal.

We get on the subject of Monet, via the
squirrel he named after me, which changed
to Tina when we found it was a girl. Was he
in Florida? How’s he doing? That guy
smoked so much crack, Kike said. That’s
why they had to kick him out of the house.
Sounds like not so well. A few more minutes
and an unopened bottle of Pomegranate
Vodka later, we go upstairs, resuming our
siege of our bedroom’s drab brown. Sea
Glass is it’s new look. Thank you Martha.

This is Chicago in the just-barely fall 2010.
Backyard weddings and the term
interracial beyond obsolete. Street fests
abutting Christian concerts just walls away
from where a family is grieving and
celebrating and singing and drinking. It
seems as if it’s the first time in the world
things could be so shit-complex. But a big
part of me thinks it’s been like this forever.

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