Gentle Reader, this piece was written for a pro-choice contest. I haven’t heard back from them at this point, and judging was supposed to have been finished by the first of October, so I submit it to you. It is not a very easy piece to read; there may be certain triggers throughout. I hope that you enjoy it.
October 12th, 1975
What the hell am I going to do? Mother already barely tolerates me – she makes it very clear that I’m adopted. That line’s been drawn between Jake and I as long I can remember – he’s her “miracle baby.” I’ve never been good enough, never fit into this family. I’m not saying she doesn’t love me, but she keeps me at arm’s length.
If I keep this baby, I’ll have someone who belongs to me, flesh and blood. Maybe I won’t be so alone – maybe I’ll finally feel like family.
Why did Todd have to leave? I need him – if he hadn’t talked me into giving in, because he was deploying – couldn’t they send someone else to Korea? If he was here – if he could marry me – maybe that’d be enough for Mother’s “respectable” relatives. The scandal is going to kill her – Todd and I’ve only been on three dates! Here I am, pregnant, when for years she couldn’t conceive – there’s no way out. What the hell am I going to do?
October 20th, 1975
I called Melissa. I couldn’t keep it together – I choked out “please come over” and that was the best I could do. I was shaking and sobbing the whole time I waited- she thought I was just drunk or something, and took her sweet time. I was a mess when she got here, tears and snot all over my face. She cleaned me up, but she couldn’t stop the crying. She curled up next to me, while I told her as much as I could. I tried to keep quiet – Mother was home. Melissa said she’s taking me to a doctor next week. I don’t know if I can do this – what if this is my only shot at having a baby? – but if I have it, I’ll lose my mom. Is this really happening?
October 26th, 1975
On the way there, Melissa and I just couldn’t talk. I couldn’t take it. The nurses, the doctor were sympathetic, and made it as easy as possible. I’m still worried about the appointment next week, but I feel a little better, because, well – as we walked back to the car, I heard that familiar click-clack of heels behind me. Sure enough, it was Mother. I froze – what could I say, walking out of Planned Parenthood?
Then she’s hugging me, and we’re both crying. I try to explain, but she shushed me like always, and starts talking instead. She actually cried, in public, and in broken fragments she tells me why she couldn’t conceive – the reason my brother was such a miracle – when she’d had to have her own procedure done, after the War – her best friend, borrowed tools, a kitchen table – infection, complication, being afraid to see a doctor, in case her mother found out –
Family’s always there for you, when you need them.