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Kerrilynn's Secret

As the New Year dawns , Kerrilynn’s friends arrive with her favourite cherry cheesecake. But Kerrilynn is no mood for celebration. What has made her so sad and unhappy? Aiona Byuwek spins a tale that is close to every woman’s heart.

"We heard something."

"Is it true?"

Her two best friends stood in the doorway with enormous smiles on their faces.

It took all Kerrilynn's strength to not shut the door on them. The bitter winter wind blew into the foyer and through her bright pink house-robe. However, instead of dismissing her friends, Kerrilynn pulled the collar of her robe tighter around her neck. It didn't keep the chill out though.

"I don't know what you're talking about, girls."

"Hey now! Don't be shy!" Shaynia leaned on the door frame, which made closing it impossible. "'Cause I knew something was up when you didn't drink at the New Year's Eve party last night." From Shaynia's right hand, a red holiday gift bag dangled seductively.

"I wanted to give it to her!" Lauren snatched the gift bag from Shaynia and shouldered her way inside, past Kerrilynn.

"We brought your favorite. Cherry cheeseca...." Lauren stopped mid-sentence. She set the Safeway shopping bag on the foyer floor, and clasped Kerrilynn's face between her warm gloved hands. "Girl! Have you been crying?"

Kerrilynn glanced at herself in the hallway mirror and was appalled to see her eyes were puffy and red.

"No." She pulled out of Lauren's grasp and fled towards the kitchen.

Lauren followed her. "What's wrong?"

"We woke her up. That's what's wrong! I told you we should have waited until after noon." Shaynia scoffed. "I'm going to use your loo!"

"No! Shay!" Kerrilynn did an about face and almost collided with Lauren in her mad dash to beat Shaynia to the restroom and reached it just as Shaynia was about to turn the doorknob. "Please! I haven't had time to clean it yet." Kerrilynn planted herself between Shaynia and the entrance to the restroom.

"Clean it? We're all women here. There's nothing you've got that I haven't seen." Shaynia pushed past Kerrilynn into the restroom, and then swung the door shut with a click. "Oh My God!"

"What is it?" Lauren's voice sounded even more concerned.

The sound of tinkling and a relieved sigh emanated from the loo. "I needed to pee so badly!" Shaynia shouted from behind the closed door.

Flustered, Kerrilynn hurried away to the kitchen. This time, both she and Lauren reached it without interruption.


"Is something the matter?" Lauren hoped Kerrilynn would open up. What could have set her best friend to crying on New Year's Day?

"I just don't feel too well this morning."

Lauren studied her friend's face. And knew Kerrilynn had lied about the crying. "I know what you're going through. I had the biggest mood swings when I was pregnant too. Remember?"

Kerrilynn nodded.

"Nothing to be embarrassed about, right?" Lauren took the cherry cheesecake out of the bag and set it on the kitchen counter. "Will you look at that? I love how much cherry topping they put on this one!"

But instead looking pleased at seeing her favorite dessert, Lauren saw Kerrilynn's face turn pale white.

Lauren smacked her forehead. "Oh! that's right! I should have known better. Nothing heavy or greasy the first trimester, right? Silly me! Sometimes I'm just so clueless, aren't I?"


In the restroom, Shaynia finished wiping up and flushed the toilet. She didn't know what Kerrilynn was so nervous about. Unlike Shaynia's house which always felt as if it were in constant chaos, Kerrilynn's house was always spotless! But not for long! Pretty soon, she'll be like me! Constantly cleaning up after her kid too. She won't even have time to pee!

Shaynia pulled a make-up wipe out of her purse to touch up her eyeshadow, so she'd be ready for the selfies with her besties that would soon follow. As she flung the used make-up remover pad into the trash, she glimpsed blood.

"What the--?"


"Are you bleeding?"

Kerrilynn turned around to see Shaynia sidling into the kitchen, and from the look on her face, Kerrilynn's fears were renewed. She had seen it. What will I tell her?

Shaynia's usual outgoing and brazen attitude was replaced with a sheepish look. "God, Kerri! Why didn't you tell us?"

Kerrilynn still couldn't think of what to say.

Shaynia embraced her. "I know you wanted a baby so badly. I'm sorry, Kerri. I know how I felt when my period started, after I thought I was pregnant. I felt awful, too."

She thinks I'm menstruating. So, Shaynia hadn't seen what was underneath the bloodied toilet paper that Kerrilynn had hurriedly tossed into the trash right before the doorbell rang. Relief washed through Kerrilynn, only to be followed by such deep sadness, she almost couldn't talk. "I'm sorry, you two. I don't feel so well."

"Of course, hon'." Lauren nodded with sympathy, while she shoved Shaynia out of the kitchen and towards the front door. "We can catch up on girl-stuff later. C'mon, Shaynia."


"Shay!" Lauren's voice was commanding. Shaynia had no choice but to comply.

From the front door, Kerrilynn watched them leave. She waited until Lauren's car turned the corner, completely out of sight, before she went back to the restroom.

Her heart raced. They didn't know. They were her best friends. So why was she unable to find the words to tell them?

She had been pregnant. Had been.

[Note by the Author: Approximately twenty-five percent of pregnancies end in miscarriages, unrelated to anything a pregnant woman did to cause it. Most miscarriages occur naturally due to chromosome problems. Even though it's not their fault, many women find it hard to tell even their closest friends what happened, and wind up sinking into depression from thinking they caused it, even though they didn't. As a result, some women find it hard to grieve, because there are so many expectations and assumptions that every pregnancy will be a successful one, like on television. The truth is that every pregnancy is different, and every woman must learn to treat herself kindly during each one.]

Fountain pen

Aiona Byuwek has lived all over the country from the backwoods of West Virginia, to the snake-filled Mississippi bayou. She now lives and sails where the Skagit and Swinomish tribes are settled.

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