Pretty thoroughly fiction, based in part on a few events from my life, though I will keep them private. There's no sex in this story; more a relationship entry.
I've never liked the concept of abortion.
Now, before you hit the panic button, let me explain. I'm no religious zealot, looking for a clinic to bomb; neither am I going to hand out pamphlets and scream, "Murderer!" when women walk into them.
For me it's far more personal.
My dad and I never really got along. He didn't even want me, a fact I intuited (I think) pretty early; not until I was about eleven years of age did I really begin to grasp that.
You see, all through my childhood, whenever I did something wrong -- which was pretty much every week -- my dad would say, "Shoulda been aborted, ya little weasel."
Didn't matter what I did wrong, either. It could have been as serious as breaking his beer bottles (yeah, that happened a time or three), as innocuous as not making Little League or Pop Warner. Any infraction, any disappointment, any imperfection:
"Shoulda been aborted, ya little weasel."
I took it in stride, largely because I didn't know what it meant. It was a different generation, years before Roe V Wade, a time when abortion was looked on as shameful and almost never discussed.
I remember the day I found out. Like I said, I was eleven. A friend of mine (Chuck) had an older friend (Billy), one with whom I didn't hang out, sort of a friend-of-a-friend thing; and this older friend had a still older sister who had developed a serious infection after this 'abortion' thing she had, done by 'some guy.'
I asked my Chuck to tell me what happened. I didn't know from abortion, except it sounded kind of like what my dad kept saying to me.
Chuck told me, in terms as graphic as an eleven-year-old could, what it meant.
I vomited. Right then, right there, I puked my guts out.
Chuck was really worried. He asked me if I was okay. I told him I was, but truth be known I was horrified. Not just for the baby this girl had terminated, either. I was supposed to have been treated that way.
My dad had told me so.
Chuck tended to me the best he could, brought me Coke with ice, brought me some Pepto; I thanked him, and put on a mask of okay-ness, and left for home.
I was so pissed at my father, now that I had put together the true meaning behind those hateful words.
I stewed in my anger for a few days, withdrawing from my parents. My mother asked me about it, so which I said as little as possible; Dad was not in the habit of noticing me, unless I fucked up.
It was about a week later when things came to a head.
I did something, I forget what, and he once again muttered that phrase: "Shoulda been aborted, ya little weasel."
I stuck my face toward his and screamed, "Yeah, well you should too, you drunk!"
I woke up a few minutes later; I'd been backhanded so hard I'd been knocked out, and lost a tooth in the bargain.
My father stood over me, shaking a finger in my face. "You don't EVER talk to me like that, you little piece of shit!"
I kicked him in the balls, scrambled up, and bolted out the door, headed for the next-door neighbors, screaming for help. The Saxons were family friends. They saw me, looking like I'd been in an accident, bleeding, my pants soaked in urine; Mrs Saxon sat me on the porch, while her husband retreated into the house.
My father came roaring out a moment later, cursing, screaming; he caught a glimpse of me next door, and charged toward the house. Mrs Saxon held me to her matronly bosom.
My father screamed, "I'm gonna kill you, you little..."
Mr Saxon had re-emerged from the house, brandishing a shotgun. "Touch him," he said quietly, "and I'll blow your worthless skull right off of your corpse." He smiled and aimed the gun.
After a few minutes argument, a police car rolled up. Mr Saxon had alerted them, it seemed. A tall, ex-Marine looking cop got out, assessed the situation, and got, to his satisfaction, the straight scoop.
After a quarter-hour or so, having heard all he likely needed to, the cop pulled my father to one side, far enough away we shouldn't have been able to hear, and said, in a voice we couldn't help hearing: "You touch that boy again," gesturing at me, "I'll take this gun," he held up his service revolver, "stick it up your drunken ass, and pull the trigger. You got that?"
My dad's bravado had slipped a few notches. He nodded. The cop turned, then sucker-punched him, and then broke his nose with the flat of his hand.
To say things changed immediately at my house is an understatement.
My dad still hated me, and more than ever; I now hated him with a white-hot fury. It muted over time, of course, and we learned to tolerate one another, my mother the only thing we had in common.
We danced around through my middle- and high-school years; and on the day after I received my diploma, I took all my meager possessions (I'd accumulated virtually none of the trappings of teen life, having fantasized of this day), piled them in the front yard; and as my dad emerged from the house to go to work, I flipped him off, made a huge display of pouring lighter fluid over my things, and torched the whole pile.
He stared at me with empty eyes, then got the garden hose and put out the fire. Yeah, he'd be late for work. I didn't care.
"Joined the Air Force, asshole. Maybe one day I'll have a kid and beat the fuck out of him, just like my dear ol' DAD!" I mocked.
It was an empty threat. I had no desire for children, because I was so deeply, deeply afraid I'd turn out like him. Still it felt good, as evil as I feel for saying this, to needle him that way.
Before I turned to go, I saw him staring at me, the way one would watch a dream evaporating.
Yeah, I'd won. At what cost?
Didn't matter. Not that day.
I finished a four-year hitch, mustering out as far from my home town as I could; I set up something like housekeeping, having saved all my pennies from the service, having the GI Bill to pay my way through school.
Along the way, over the preceding years, I'd had a few sexual dalliances. Not in high school, mind; I was a virtual loner then, uninterested in girls, unwilling to risk making a baby. Some of my friends and acquaintances had done just that; each time hardened my resolve against.
I'd had a brief affair with a non-com in the Air Force, illegal, of course, a Dishonorable Discharge offense; but no one found out, and we cut things short after a couple of months.
In college, I had some girlfriends from other nearby schools. Two of those colleges, in fact, had something in common. One was Peace College, the other Camden. The saying in town was: You want a wife? Date at Peace. You want a Piece? Date at Camden.
Yeah, I dipped into the Camden pool a few times.
I'd been dating a Peace girl, Kara, for a few months. We'd progressed from casual to semi-serious to serious to sexual, all within six weeks. I'd used protection, all but the couple of times she told me she'd just finished her period, and should be safe.
We continued seeing one another for another month or so; Spring mid-terms had separated us for a bit, after which I thought we'd resume our relationship.
I didn't hear from her until just after graduation.
We were both set to receive our diplomas, two days apart as it turned out, mine first; I got a call from Kara three days later, a Tuesday, telling me we had to meet, it was urgent, and be at the Camden Inn Thursday evening at six-thirty sharp.
Thursday did not come fast enough.
I was in the lobby at five-thirty, pacing, explaining to various concierges and others I was waiting for someone.
She walked through the doors at six-thirty, just as she'd said. She motioned me to a padded bench.
As we sat, she dropped the bomb. "I'm pregnant," she said, with no preamble.
My face froze, I could feel it; then I grinned. "Really? You, we ... I mean, a baby?" I was by now blubbering a little. "We're having a little one?"
There was so much turmoil in my mind, hope and hatred, love and loathing; I didn't know which way to turn.
"I'm having an abortion," she said, flatly, cutting through my reverie.
I sat there, stunned, unable to take in what she was saying. "Kara, this is us, this is our baby, how can you..."
She held up a hand. "Jeff, you have no say in it."
"No SAY!?" I thundered; people stared at us, as I lowered my voice and continued. "No say? It's my child, too, isn't it?"
Kara's face hardened for a moment; she softened, then said, "I can't have this baby now. I'm sorry."