Pro-Choice

I begin reading books on tracking ovulation. Andy is skeptical. He says he is willing to wear a condom, but I appeal to the granola side of him, and tell him it'll make us more in touch with nature. The best information is put out by Catholic organizations. Like a good Catholic, I stick my finger up my vagina and learn how to find my cervix. I wipe off a mucus sample every morning. I also learn to chart my morning temperature.
After I do it a while, I become good at telling when I'm pre-ovulatory, when I'm ovulating, and when I'm done. I'm not very good with the temperature chart, because as soon as I wake up, I crawl all over Andy, which makes my temperature artificially high. But I keep a calendar on my wall that has twenty nine days in the shape of a circle, and every day I write down the status of my mucus.

I love my mucus.

Andy keeps worrying, because he never knows where we are in the cycle, and he just has to trust me. "Look," I say, "The worst that'll happen is I'll get pregnant."

"Well, that's pretty bad."

"Then you keep track with me."

I draw a circle calendar in his day runner, in the "important accounts" section, and every day I call up his assistant with mucus adjectives to keep his calendar updated.

Six month later, I get pregnant. It's a similar feeling to the first time I used my hand to make a boy ejaculate. I couldn't believe it really worked.

I scout around for abortion places, and I pick an expensive one since Andy's paying for it. We do a drive by so we know how to get there, and Evangelists have surrounded the place with Bibles and placards and noise.

I look forward to plowing through them the next morning, but the next morning, they're gone. The next morning there are no political outbursts to distract me, and in the waiting room, I start imagining the procedure.

"Andy," I say, "Do you want to play the state game while we wait?"

"What?"

"The game where I say a state and you have to say a state that begins with the last letter of the sate I said."

"No. I don't feel like that now."

"Well what are we going to do while we wait?"

"I don't know." I can tell other games will not interest him either.

We wait. I start thinking about what it would be like to have a baby. We wait a half hour. There are complications with the woman before me. I start imagining all the combinations of complications I could have that would lead to death. Andy assures me that the percentages of death are minuscule. Andy starts imagining the combinations of complications that could lead to me not getting the abortion. I know this is what he's imagining because he keeps saying, "I know this is hard, but at least we know it'll be over today. At least we know it'll be over today." The nurse tells us I'll have to make another appointment because the doctor has to stay with this other woman.

I am relieved. I want to go home and think about the baby. On the drive home, Andy says he's worried that I won't get an abortion. "Don't worry," I tell him, "I'll kill it."

"It's not a person," he says. "When you say things like that, I get worried. It's not a person."

I feel like I've done this so many times.

"We need to make another appointment as soon as we get home."

"I can't do this again. I'm so tired of purging people from my life."

"This is not a person."

"DON'T FUCKING TELL ME WHAT I HAVE INSIDE ME."

We are quiet the rest of the way home. Andy runs a red light.

Andy wants to make an appointment as soon as we get home. I ignore him, and go into the bedroom shutting the door behind me. I don't want to be alone, but being with Andy makes me feel lonely. I fall asleep with my hands on my stomach.

When I wake up it's dark, and I feel like I've missed something, but I can't say what. I think about my friend whose mom wanted an abortion but didn't have the money. I press on my stomach, and I know there's somthing there, but I don't feel it. I lie in bed listening for Andy, trying to figure out what he's doing, where he is. In between sounds, I think about not having the abortion; I want something inside me. I want to stop putting stuff in and ripping it out. But I try to imagine life with me, Andy, and a baby, and I can only see Andy leaving.

I call Andy into the bedroom, and he comes in slowly, like the door's rigged. I tell him to sit on the edge of the bed, and I tell him to make an appointment for tomorrow morning. "But this is it," I tell him. "I'm not aborting anything else, so I want to be really careful. Condom, diaphragm, this will be a lot of work." Andy nods an I-love-you nod. I put his hand inside mine; I hold on tight, and I keep it there.




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