Today I experienced a sense of sympathy I have never known before. The sympathy I had may have been unecessary because it seemed that everything was normal and in its place. However, I could not help but wonder and feel concerned for who I saw today.

I went to Qdoba Mexican Grill to see Stephanie and have lunch. She works there as a server (as I did at one time) and we spent her lunch break together. After she prepared my meal (she’s the only one who makes my burrito the way I like it), a sea of people walked into the restaurant all at once and all with great appetites. So I had to wait a while before Steph could finally take her gloves off and eat with me.

Sometime during the rush, a girl walked in who I knew immediately. She was a girl from high school. We graduated the same class and I’d known her since the eighth grade. And suddenly, there she was. The last time I’d seen her was at our commencement when she was dressed in a white gown (as we all were) and sitting with the rest of her friends–the ones who were known for their love of beer and weekend parties. There was definitely something different about her, though. In her arms was perhaps a one or soon-to-be one year old little girl. But it wasn’t the baby in her arms that shocked me… It was the baby in her stomach that caught me off gaurd.

She was pregnant and it seemed fairly obvious that the baby in her arms was hers also. I searched for a ring on her left ring-finger but found none.

I remembered her name is Bri and I found myself staring in her direction three seperate times. The third time, she caught my gaze and I watched as she shifted the baby on her waist and rolled her eyes. The way she did it reminded me exactly of how it was in high school. Specifically of the time she got me in trouble in the ninth grade with my math teacher. Long story, but it involved fake identities and a substitute teacher… And it was all Bri’s fault.

But there she was. One baby in tow and another on the way. She looked at least six or seven months pregnant. There was so much I was thinking, but generally, I didn’t know what to think. I was shocked and confused and very much worried about her.

Steph joined me at my table and we caught each other up on life events. Bri sat with her daughter about two tables away, and neither of us said anything about her. However, when they left, Steph turned to me and asked, “Did you recognize that girl with the baby??” I nodded. She continued, “Bri Percival! Can you believe that?!” I shook my head, “No… I can’t.”

And I still can’t.

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