That Time I Had a Summer Time Entanglement
It doesn't take much to be a decent human being.
The summer of 2008 was an eventful one. I was entering my junior year of college preparing for my role as the incoming student government president. I signed up to be a resident assistant (R.A) for the months of June, July, and August. Unlike previous summers, this one was set up to be a success for a couple of reasons:
I was only taking one class, and it ended during the second week of June, with nowhere else to go, I remained on campus rent-free with no real responsibilities
I had recently discovered that some women found me attractive, but not in the “oh, he’s funny, and could look good if you changed like ten things about him physically and personally” type of way. They found me attractive in the “Stanley looks good and I could, in a reasonable scenario, be happy to hang out with and even have sex with him” type of way. The best example of this was the side relationship I had with Sasha at the end of the spring semester.
There was no reason that Sasha should have been interested in me. But she was, and sure, she had a boyfriend, but he didn’t live on campus, and I didn’t know him. As far as I was concerned, it wasn’t my problem! Our love affair took some time to develop. At first, it was plutonic. I would stop by her dorm, chit-chatting with her and her roommate, eat some of their food, then leave. It eventually evolved into her talking to me about her boyfriend and all of the things he wasn’t doing. Sasha was tall and cute with a soft caramel complexion, a super cute dimple, and cursed like a sailor. In other words, she was the woman of my dreams. I immediately came up with a plan to steal her away from the said boyfriend. The plan was pretty simple. I would shut up and let her vent about how poorly he treated her and after a few weeks of this, she would come to her senses and see that I was a better option.
My plan worked. Sort of. Sasha did “fall for me” but wasn’t willing to break up with her man so that we could be official. Instead, she chose to split the difference; keeping her boyfriend and promoting me to her side dude. Some people might have been offended. I was not. I was far too busy being excited that this beautiful woman was happy about being in my company.
After a couple of weeks of bliss with a dash of back shot mania, and “movie nights,” the semester ended and she went home. That’s when the summer session I mentioned earlier started and I moved on with my life. I assumed that would be the end of our entanglement, at least until the fall semester. It definitely wasn’t.
About three weeks into the summer session, I heard from Sasha again. Her period was late and I was the last person she had sex with. The first thought I had upon hearing this news was that Sasha was mistaken. There was no way this kid was mine. I mean sure, we had a lot of sex, and I can probably count on one finger the number of times we used protection, but I’m sure I pulled out at least once (Never). There was no way she could be pregnant! I asked her for space and then ghosted her for a month.
After no contact for almost six weeks, we decided to meet up and figure out what the next steps would be. I asked her to make the three-hour trip to campus and didn’t offer to help pay her way. Once we were face to face it was obvious that Sasha was as scared as I felt. I tried to be as honest as possible and told her that I was not ready for a child. I listed out all of the things I wanted to accomplish, as well as the ways being a father would hinder me. I must have talked for an hour straight, Sasha listened without interrupting. When I finished, she held my face and said, “ You don’t have to worry about anything, I got an abortion.” I should have been overflowing with relief, but instead, I felt empty. Sasha told me that after I disappeared on her, she decided that having a kid with someone who obviously had no interest in being a father wasn't something she wanted, so she used the money she was saving to pay for an abortion. She didn’t want anyone to know about it, so she went to the clinic by herself.
I don’t think I will ever stop learning from this experience. It’s one of my greatest failures, and something I still feel deep shame over. But if we’re talking about lessons learned, I think the biggest one is simple. Don’t be shitty to people. Ok, sure, I could and should have used a condom, I could and should have not agreed to be with someone who was already in a relationship, but those aren’t the things I regret. I consented to be the third party in a two-person relationship, and Sasha and I consented to not using protection. What I can never get past is the cowardly way I behaved. No matter how old you are, the idea of having a child is scary, I was a 20-year-old kid without a dollar to his name, and no idea who he wanted to be. So yes. I had every right to be afraid.
However, no matter how afraid I was, I didn’t have the right to erase Sasha from the equation and completely center myself. I ghosted her for a month, forcing her to make the decision on her own, and when we finally reconnected, I didn’t bother to ask her how she felt, or what she needed. I made her do all of the emotional, physical, and financial labor to handle the situation. And after all of the ways I failed to show up for her, she still wanted to be with me. I can blame age on some of the mistakes I made with her, but you don’t need life experience to be a decent human being. You just have to try.