Who Is Anthony Stephens?

The Life and Death of a College Grad

98. Interview with Catherine D’Amico: Part 14

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26 June 2011

– Good, most days. An ordeal the others.

– I never knew how he was going to react to anything I told him. It’s like, sometimes I’d come to him with some sort of news, simple things, the type of things girls like to tell their boyfriends, you know?

– Like, if something happened to me at work or while I was with one of my friends or whatever, I’d tell him, share it with him. And sometimes he’d just snap.

– Kick me out of his room, not talk to me for hours.

– Other times I’d come to him with something I was sure would set him off, like, talking about his showing at my aunt’s gallery, or asking him about all the stuff that happened to him in Tallahassee. I’d be scared when I approached him because I really wanted to know but I didn’t want to be crucified for asking, you know? But a lot of those times he’d be fine. Talk to me calmly, no anger.

– Not all the time, but a lot of the times. Enough for me to not really ever know whether we were going to have a good day together or not.

– Like I said, I don’t know if he was clinically bipolar or what, but I know that half the time I was with him he made feel like shit. But it was almost worth it, because the rest of the time he’d treat me like a goddess.

– Which is why it was so hard when I found out.

[Cathy sighs] I had no idea what to expect when I woke up that morning. It was like a week before his showing too, and we hadn’t stayed with each other the night before because we’d gotten in a fight about something or other and I stormed out of his motel room all pissed off. Went home and fell asleep watching TV and when I woke up and got out of bed my stomach was crawling, I remember.

– I barely made it to the bathroom in time and I was bent over the toilet, sick for almost half an hour before I could stand and, I mean—I knew what it was. It was pretty obvious at that point.

– There’d been other signs too, pain in my breasts, bloating, all the signs of PMS without the actually period.

– And, I mean, I threw up a lot that first morning. So either that or food poisoning, right? [Cathy chuckles] I went straight to CVS and got two tests, took one, waited, took the other, then laid them both next to each other and just stared at them sitting on the bathroom counter.

– My mind went blank for a minute, and when it recovered I didn’t know what to think about so I just started crying.

– But it wasn’t like how most people would think a girl in my situation would cry. It wasn’t like I was sad or happy, or anything really. I was just… emotional. That’s it. Just emotional. I was staring at the pregnancy test and this rush of emotion I couldn’t label hit me and I just cried and cried until the two little blue positive lines on each test got all blurry, then I sat on the ground and cried some more. [Cathy pauses, staring at the floor deep in thought] I’ve thought about it since then. And I realized I saw so many things in that blue line, some things I didn’t want to see and others I kind of did.

– Tony and I had been together for a year then. And I was in love with him still, which was a plus, I guess. Would’ve been worse to be pregnant with his baby if we hadn’t been together anymore, especially if I hated him.

– But then again, it might’ve been better.

– Then at least I wouldn’t have cared what he thought. But the fact that I did care about this man and yet had no idea how he was going to react to the news of me being pregnant gave me this queasy feeling in my stomach that had nothing to do with the morning sickness.

– I realized then that I barely even knew who Tony was. I only knew what he’d told me, that’s it. No secondhand accounts of his character traits for me to laugh and be like, “I know what you mean, he does that to me too.” No family or friends to get close to and get incriminating info out of. It was Just Tony.

– To Tony, it was always Just Tony. And now I was having Just Tony’s baby. And, sure, I knew things about him, things he hadn’t told me that I’d deciphered from his actions and random conversations and overall demeanor.

– I mean, I knew more than anybody else in Boca knew about, quote-unquote, “Les Palmer.” But that’s not saying very much.

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