LAST EDITED ON 01-28-03 AT 11:53 AM (EST)
This is my very first ever attempt at putting thoughts into writing. The story I've chosen is partly fiction partly biographical. Please be considerate, critiques of the story itself are welcomed however I would please ask that yourefrain from personal judgement regarding the subject matter.
"Baby Killer!!!!!” "Life begins at Conception", "Pro-Life is Pro-Christ". The protest signs bobbed up and down as the angry mob screamed indignities and of sins never to be forgiven. The lump in her throat felt as big as the bulge in her belly that was soon to be disposed of. She mustered all of her courage and imagined herself far, far away. Away from the city, away from the man who insisted upon this, away from herself...
"Okay, we're here. I'll drop you off and come back in about 3 hours?"
She vaguely replied "okay" but it wasn't okay, nothing about this was okay.
"Hey honey, you'll be fine, this is for the best. I'm not ready for another child and you can't even handle the one you have." "You'll be fine, I'll make you some chicken noodle soup when we get home and maybe we can get a puppy." He smiled at her and placed his hand on her thigh. She cringed at his touch and looked away thinking of how much she hated him in that moment.
"Just don't be late to pick me up, I want to get this over with, give me the money.” He peeled off $450.00 in cash, she thought miserably; I guess that is what our baby is worth to him. Oh God, please help me...
Opening the car door quickly she steeled herself against the crowd of protesters gathered as an angry lynch mob in front of the clinic door. An armed guard came forward and with a compassionate smile led her to the inevitable hell that loomed ahead in the broken down building that leered manically above her in judgment.
It was filthy. The cheap, plastic chairs held nameless, faceless women, some shuffling nervously through their purses in search of something to hold onto, others chatted as if this experience was nothing more than a trip to the beauty salon. A junkie vomited in the water fountain permeating the stuffy, stale air with a pungent odor. "I don't belong here,” she muttered under her breath. “Women like me don't belong here, not married women with a child. This is for low-life's and teenage girls” The thoughts scurried in her head like a small rodent and she felt disgusted and ashamed but knew there was no turning back. Her mother’s words echoed in her skull “you made your bed, now you must lie in it”. How true and cruel those words were. She longed for her mother’s cool strength to fill her but alas it eluded her yet again.
She took her number and waited for the woman behind the wire mesh reinforced glass to call her forward. Damn, she had to pee again and that smell was just making the morning sickness worse. After what seemed an eternal wait her number was called and she shuffled forward, not looking at any of the other women perched in chairs all waiting for the same death monger to irradiate the mistakes they made. She couldn’t bear to look at them or have them look at her, she knew their faces would somehow become the faces of the priests and nuns of her childhood years casting stones and damning her soul.
A small, severe looking Puerto Rican woman barked mundane questions at her from behind the glass. The woman behind the glass shot a question at her like an arrow it pierced her numbness and brought her back into the cold reality of this place.
"How many abortions have you had?"
That question insulted and wounded her brain, the word "abortion" conjured up images of dead fetuses in garbage dumpsters, drug addicted prostitutes and scraggly teenage girls with young men anxiously waiting beside them. For a moment she was stunned refusing to acknowledge that this was truly happening. "Uh, I've never had an abortion before" she managed to sputter at the woman. The small Puerto Rican woman behind the glass scribbled something on a form, pushed the sliding metal deposit box at her that contained a thin blue hospital gown and a specimen cup. In a very authoritative manner she ordered "Here, you go take these, go to your left into the bathroom, produce a sample and leave it on the small tray next to the sink. Take off all of your clothes, including your bra and panties and put the robe on. You can leave your socks on if you're cold".
“Yeah lady if you only knew how cold…Numbly, she complied.
The nurse, or what she assumed was a nurse flatly told her that she was 10 weeks pregnant. 10 weeks, 2 ½ months, almost into my second trimester she thought but quickly shut that thought out of her head The stainless steel table was hard and cold beneath her as she lay exposed looking at the devices and instruments that would make this all go away. She fought the urge to bolt, to just leave and go home. She fantasized telling her husband of the precious new life they created and have him joyfully wrap his arms around and celebrate their blessing. But that was just a pipedream. He didn't want the baby, he never wanted a baby and he made it clear that it was her fault it happened the first time, she had ruined his life and he never let her forget it.
She cried tears of happiness when the + sign came up on the pregnancy test that morning, she had known she was pregnant but chose to wait as long as possible before telling her husband, she wanted to warm him to the idea. In her heart of hearts she knew the child she carried within would never live to take it's first breath. She'd never hold the warm, soft baby in her arms, she'd never see her baby take it's first steps or hear the word "Mommy". He wouldn't allow it; he couldn't allow it because a baby would end the ski trips and nights out with the guys. My GOD, another mouth to feed, someone ELSE he'd have to take care of. Not that they really had to worry about money, he was terrified at anything that veered from “THE PLAN” A baby is nothing more than overhead and that isn’t in “THE PLAN”. Isn’t that what he preaches to her “ A man with no plan is no man” Again, feelings of intense hatred and resentment surfaced, she fought back the tears and yelled at herself "Don't think, don't think"
The doctor, an aging Indian gentleman with a kind face and soothing voice must have noticed the tears streaming down her face,” it will be alright dear, there is no pain...slide down please." She thought, "Yeah right, no pain". The room was overtaken by the sound similar to that of an industrial vacuum, she shook in fear and anger. It just wasn't fair. As the life they created was being sucked out her, her own life came into focus. She saw herself, desperately longing for attention, needing something to fill the hole that seemed to take on it’s own life in her soul. This baby was her personal salvation, the key to fulfillment, the one thing that would finally bring her peace. Her thoughts drifted back to their younger days, before all of the cars and homes and social engagements and responsibilities. Back to the time when they lived recklessly and with abandon. He was so happy then, he loved her, he smiled at her and said the tender words lovers whisper in the dark, he shared his dreams with her and she vowed to never leave him…until that day in April when she found out that life as they knew it was over. A new life was about to begin. Back then he pushed her to have an abortion, he cried and opened the locked door in his heart and shared his fears and inadequacies with her, he had good reasons, he wanted to do the right thing. But by that time it was too late, she had let the cat out of the bag and told her family, her sister wise beyond her years insisted upon the baby and rallied the family, he was outnumbered and less than enthusiastically complied.
He’d always been good to her, honest and strong. She knew that she had deceived him, she had told him it was fine and that nothing would happen, he trusted her and she had lied. She was to blame. She could have said no. She could have just told him “no, it’s my body” but inside she was weak and powerless before him. She always gave into him even if it meant sacrificing herself. He was a good man and he always got what he wanted.
“Okay, you’re all done, I fixed you up real good now.” “Take a seat in the chair, try to rest, the nurse will be by to check on you, once the bleeding has subsided you can leave.”
That was it. “Easy-peasy-japanesey …right on old chap” she thought to herself and giggled. Her insides felt heavy and hot, somehow her feet got her to the row of recliners where she was instructed to relax. Sadness overwhelmed her like a tidal wave “I just want to go home, I just want to go home”. In the recliner she wept quietly so as not to disturb the two broken women on either side of her.
He came with a bouquet of roses and lovingly helped her into the 4 walls they called home. She was drained mentally, physically, spiritually as if part of her own life was disposed of too. He held her close to his chest and stroked her head, he kissed away her tears and for a while they were back at the beginning and for a while it was good. He promised her a puppy and talked of trips they would take and places they would go. She wondered if he felt guilty and ashamed, the look in his eyes was answer enough.
Her baby came to her in dreams, a son so beautiful he glowed with golden curls and big green eyes. Sometimes he ran to her on unsteady legs, toothlessly grinning, calling out to her, arms outstretched. Her breasts would ache to hold him and she would run to swoop him into her arms but each time his face would change and become that of a disfigured, demon endlessly chasing her down empty, run-down hallways, drawing ever closer to devour her.
She screamed helplessly into the night until she was shaken from this lucid state. He would always say the same thing “you were having another nightmare, it’s okay, you’re fine”. He would ask the nature of her terror but she knew better than to answer him honestly. She kept the guilt locked away, a hidden dirty little secret that haunts her in the land of lucidity. Things would never be the same and her internal torment would continue, she glued the pieces back together and pretended that it didn’t matter, but it was lie. It did matter, she was a baby killer and nothing could change it.