Gary Rinsem

Tami Takes A Pill

Written 1976
Apparently Edited Later

Before Tami, a woman I worked with was hospitalized by complications of ortho novum. The pill scared me.

December 1975

Tami and I already had two broken condom scares, both months we'd been together. She mentioned soon after we met that her mother offered to put her on the pill when she was ready. I was ready, two scares was enough. I suggested she talk to her mother.

About a week later there'd been no talk of the pill when Tami appeared next to my desk in English class. She looked miserable and asked for a ride home immediately. We rushed out as the bell rang, starting class. On the way home Tami explained she took her first pill that morning and it made her sick, a common side effect at first. She didn't say it, but I'm certain she spent the previous class hugging a toilet.

At home she laid on the sofa and asked for the kitchen trash can, which I put in front of her. For reasons I don't remember her father came home from work before noon. It wasn't said, I deduced his thinking. He saw my car in the street and expected to find Tami and I in her bedroom with the door closed. He jumped out of his car in the driveway leaving it running with the door open. That's the way it was when I left. Instead of calmly entering from the garage after putting his car away, he burst through the front door loudly calling Tami's name. The house was silent. Hearing an explosion of door and loud voice instantly put me on edge.

I was on my knees holding Tami's hand and talking with her, hoping she didn't get sick, I didn't want to see that. She yelled to her father who needed only a couple steps to see us in the living room. The scene confused him for a moment until Tami explained she was sick and I ditched class to take care of her. A big smile replaced angry expression as he thanked me for looking after his daughter. I felt guilt accepting his appreciation. Tami's condition seemed entirely my fault. Her dad walked me to my car for our first talk. He asked some questions about me and told some bits about Tami. I felt guilty and deceitful.

About a week later we were sitting on the living room floor when her father came home from work. Seeing my car out front didn't bother him. He greeted us while holding a big stack of mail, then went into the kitchen. Moments later be bellowed Tami's name. Usually very kind and calm, her father's voice told her something was wrong. She jumped and ran to the kitchen. I couldn't make out what they were talking about, but Tami looked scared when she rushed back to me. She whispered in a panic that I had to go and started pulling my arm to hurry me. I asked what's wrong and Tami said "He got the bill for the ortho novum. You gotta go now." I wasn't panicked and wasn't moving fast enough to suit Tami. I didn't know what ortho novum was. Tami realized I didn't understand so she clarified by saying it was the doctor's bill for the birth control. Now I understood. The panic became mutual as I rushed out the door. I rattled her window late that night after work. We talked briefly and she assured every thing was fine. It's never been mentioned since, Tami takes care of the birth control problem.