- come on eileen by dexy's midnight runners (shout out to my mom because that's her name)
Judas Clapp - 20 years old.
June 29th, 1986.
My stomach protruded proudly, a strong sign of my impending motherhood. It was swollen and large, with light stretch marks on the underside and a stretched out belly button. I had gained a lot of weight in these past five and a half months of pregnancy, but I understood that this all meant so much more than trivial matters like vanity did. To me, I could care less about the fact that I had seemingly gotten too fat and couldn’t wear cut-offs and leather jackets anymore or that I cut my long hair short and legally changed my name. None of that mattered. I guess I was sort of a new woman.
I was engaged to be married in the month of July. I had undergone my 20th birthday earlier in the month. I had legally changed my name from Marina DiLaurentis to Judas Clapp (taking my fiancé’s and baby daddy’s last name) and got a new California state driver’s license. It appeared that who I was as person changed entirely in what seemed like less than an entire year. But then again, Judas had always been here. She was always me. I had never been Marina, not even as a child, and felt utterly out of place in my identity. I had a home now, not only in Los Angeles or with Johnny, but as Judas. Judas was my home.
Pregnancy wasn’t easy and in fact, it proved quite the opposite, but there were always the little moments that made it worth it. Like when we went for the first ultrasound and I could see my little bean before my eyes. We decided to wait to find out the baby’s sex and instead surprise ourselves in the delivery room. Or when I first felt the baby kick. Johnny and I had been driving and we were singing along to the radio. It had heard and recognized the sound of our voices.
I was fat, my feet were swollen, my back hurt like hell, and I still had 16 weeks to go until delivery, 2 to 4 weeks on average until my third trimester, not to mention the vibrant array of prenatal testing I still had left to undergo. I read that our baby’s lungs were beginning to develop specific abilities this week. And that the inner ear was completely formed – it could tell its’ positioning inside me, where it was floating, whether it was upside down or not. I had life inside of me and it felt insanely magical and wonderful, despite the struggle of it all, of quitting cigarettes and alcohol, of going to sleep early and waking up on time, being pregnant meant so much to me. So much more than anyone who’s never had a child could ever know.
“How’s the bean doing?” Johnny, my fiancé asked as he passed me in the kitchen, pausing to kiss the top of my head. We had nicknamed our child ‘the bean’ since we had yet to figure out a pair of names (one boy and one girl) for when I delivered and when we went to our first ultrasound, the fetus resembled something of the likes of a lima bean, at least according to Johnny and I.
“Good,” I smiled up at him, rubbing my belly underneath my cotton dress. I motioned towards the fridge before us. “Want me to make you some breakfast?”
Johnny shook his head firmly.
“I have a surprise for you, Jude…” he grabbed my hand and smiled mischievously, which worried me a little bit. I wasn’t a big fan of surprises, at least not when it was something I wasn’t in on. Neither Johnny nor I knew the sex of the baby, therefore that surprise didn’t bother me all too much. He knew something or planned something or was in on something (or whatever) that I wasn’t, and it bugged the living shit out of me.
We moved out of our apartment during the past six months and into a more child-friendly villa right on the beach. Patrick decided to move down to LA permanently to be with us after he found out about the pregnancy, and luckily for me, my father now lived right up the street. Both Phoenix and Slash had come around to the idea of me as a mother – and to Johnny and I as a family. I think that they had finally mended the friendship between them that had grown so rotten before.
I felt Johnny’s hand cover my eyes as he began to lead me through the house. I took a deep, nervous breath, unsure of where he was taking me but decided to trust him. I trusted him. I could hear the sounds of the ocean down the shore when it dawned on me that we had to be in our own backyard patio. He removed his hands dramatically.
Patrick, Phoenix, Slash, all the GNR boys, and all the Bitter Collision boys stood before me, all smiling wickedly. Besides my father and Pho, I hadn’t seen any of them since the initial announcement of my pregnancy had been made. It felt good to be with friends again.
I smiled and hugged Johnny first before running to Pho. She still looked beautiful as ever though she now wore a happy glow. I wondered what had her so happy but decided we’d discuss it later when we had time alone.
“I wanted to throw you a baby shower before you got to the waddling stage,” she explained. I laughed and glanced around the space, decorated with yellow baby designs. I even noticed a cake on the patio table and a pile of presents behind it.
“This is all too sweet, you guys,” I spoke loudly so everyone could hear. “It means so much to me…” I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes thanks to my hormones and at how euphoric it really made me feel.
I had come down to LA what felt like forever ago and here I was, a 20 year old soon-to-be-mother and wife surrounded by amazing people who all loved me for me.
It really did mean a lot.
(type 'you mean everything' if you read it all)