“Nicole, we have heard your story and watched your video. Now it’s your turn to talk. Are you ready to talk with your mother?”
“Yes,” answered Nicole without thinking.
There was loud applause in the studio. People were screaming her name when the tension music started. There was also the sound of a telephone, dialing her mother.
Diiiiitt diiiiit diiiiitt!
Nicole decided there were two less things for her to do now: putting on makeup and calling her mother.
“Hi, Rose, we are calling you from Teen Show. You’re on the air. How are you?”
“I’m well, but I don’t understand why you’ve called me. Is it a wrong number?”
“No, madam. Your daughter Nicole is with us and she wants to tell you something. Will you please listen to her?”
“Hmm…Okay, I’m listening.”
All the eyes, cameras and lights were on Nicole.
“Mom, I’m pregnant!”
She confessed in one breath as if she had stayed underwater too long and needed to breathe as soon as she surfaced.
There were thunders of applause in the studio, but Nicole couldn’t understand what they were celebrating—her being pregnant at a young age or having the courage to confess it on the TV.
Rose was speechless. There was only the sound of her breathing. Nicole began crying.
“Hey, Rose, are you there?” the presenter asked.
“Yes, I am.”
“Do you want to talk with your daughter?”
“Yes. Nicole, who is the father?”
“And I have told you not to have sex without protection. You know the cookie jar in the kitchen?”
“Wait a minute, what is this cookie jar?”
“Well, my mom puts condoms in the cookie jar in the kitchen.”
“An interesting method.”
“I’m sorry, Mom!” Nicole was playing with the napkin in her hand.
“Are you sorry? That doesn’t alter the fact you are having a baby.”
Nicole was now crying on the shoulder of the presenter. Some people in the audience were also crying, their mascara running. Nicole realized why the short woman hadn’t put mascara on her eyes: she must have known everybody here would cry and the audience wouldn’t like looking at black eyes.
“Won’t you help her, Rose? She is very sad and she’s your daughter.”
“No, never. Good luck, Nicole! Find yourself a place to stay!”
Rose hung up. Nicole knew what was coming; she felt a déjà vu. The assistant came in the commercial break and helped her to leave the studio. She was so gentle as if she was treating an old lady, and Nicole was feeling old at that moment.
An African-American girl was on next. Nicole wanted to warn her not to go on, but decided not to. Maybe her mom would forgive her.
“Mom, didn’t you get pregnant at a young age? I don’t even know my father. You went through the same things as me and you told me your story. Our destiny is the same, Mom, so why do you condemn me? Or is this your own punishment?”
Nicole was only able to say these words in her mind. She was a homeless mother now, a homeless home for her baby.
Zeynep Guvenc, HOMELESS