by Suze Allen
I am 21 years old. I just broke up with my boyfriend of 9 years. Bob. B at the beginning. B at the end. And a big fat zero in the middle. I’m in Manhattan, selling the spring/summer clothing lines to reps from all over the country. I have not finished college yet. This was my work study job. Ha! Working full time and just having taken care of my grandmother while she was at Tufts Medical Center getting a quadruple bypass keeps me from my studies. I live on Marlboro Street in Boston. My work pays me a lot of money, a lot for a 21-year-old anyway. It has a lot of perks – cool clothes, great dinners, limo rides to and from the airport but it leaves me empty. I’m a theatre major at Emerson College. I want a life in the arts.
On the plane yesterday, I was super nauseous and swollen. My stomach is all pooched out. This terrifying thought eats at me. What if I am I pregnant? Oh God, Oh God, Oh God NO. At lunch I sneak out to buy a pregnancy test. This would be BAD if I am. Very, very bad. I pee on the stick in a very large bathroom on the 20th floor of a major high rise in the garment district. I sit in the stall feeling like I’m gonna puke. I don’t look at the stick until the requisite 15 minutes registers on the oversized black and white face of my Swatch watch. I’m completely alone in this bathroom. I finally get the courage to look. It is positive. Instead of dread, this feeling of joy rises up unbidden. I walk out of the stall and stare at myself in the mirror. I am grinning like a fool. Because I am a fool. I wipe the grin off my face as I walk to the showroom, as the grim reality sets in. I don’t know what to tell my boss Merle. She and her husband Steve have been trying to have a baby for years. They have tried everything and me, I am suddenly pregnant without wanting to be. The world is fucking weird. I don’t tell Merle when I get back to the showroom. I don’t call Bob. I keep the news to all to myself for now. I can’t have this baby; I’m not ready to be a mother.
Back in Boston, Bob and I go out to dinner to talk. I blurt out, “I’m pregnant!” as our drinks. Arrive. He is not happy. Extremely unhappy actually. He just bought a new Volvo. He loves his new job. We are not together for good reasons, and we shouldn’t get back together because of a potential baby. He tells me he’ll pay for the abortion, but he doesn’t say the word abortion – he says he’ll pay “to take care of it”. He’s a Christian. I excuse myself to go to the bathroom and leave the restaurant before the entrees come.
This is fucked up. I honestly don’t know what to do. I finally tell my best friend. I go to a Planned Parenthood in downtown Boston to “take care of it.” Shit there is a protest. Just my luck. I look pregnant and I am crying, and they know why I am here. “Please get out of my face. I asked you nicely to get out of my face. You think I do this blithely? You don’t know me; this is the hardest thing I have ever done. Stop it! Don’t jostle me! Give me space. Please make a path – please, please, please. Stop yelling at me. Get those pictures of mutilated fetuses out of my face. NOW!” I am too fragile. I can’t take the bombardment. I leave before I get inside the building. Maybe it’s a sign.
Maybe I’ll just have the baby. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do – I’ll have the baby. UGH!!!! I’m so conflicted. Obviously, I am not thinking clearly. Stupidly, I tell my mom and my meme. They are both elated. They want me to move home to Ogunquit and we’ll all three raise this little offspring of theirs. “Theirs.” Ugh. I do come to Ogunquit for the summer. I live in an upstairs room at my best friend’s house above Perkins Cove. My stomach is huge, but I still have time to decide not to have a baby. My whole life flashes before my eyes. My crappy relationship with my narcissistic mother, this too small town and the end of all possibilities. Not to mention the ugly struggle with the father of this fetus. I don’t want to bring an unwanted baby into the world. It isn’t fair to her or me. Yeah, I’ve decided it’s a her. I even named her. Maggie.
Bob has stopped speaking to me except to call and just ask, “Did you do it?” I hang up on him. I lean heavily on my best friend. I cry a lot. I can’t have this baby I tell her. “It’ll just be a miserable situation. A miserable life.” She tells me she hopes I’m not mad but, that she made an appointment for me for an abortion just in case, so it wouldn’t be too late if I really wanted to terminate this pregnancy. Thank the goddesses. What a good friend. I do want an abortion. I am resolved. Finally.
If only it were that easy. I go to York Hospital. I ask to be put under. I am sobbing uncontrollably. They hook me up to an IV. They give me Valium. It makes me crazier if that’s even possible. I can’t stop bawling. I sound like a grieving whale. The kind brunette haired nurse tells me I don’t have to go through with it. She says I can just go home if I want. I say,” No, no, no! Just bring me in – just do it!” They wheel me into a room. I can’t get ahold of myself. They are all so kind. The brunette-haired nurse suggests that we call my ex-boyfriend, that maybe he could help me. We dial his number. He’s at work. I can barely choke out the words. “I’m on the table. For the abortion. And I am freaking out. I don’t wanna do it. I mean, I don’t know if I should do it.” His voice is cold and very distant. “I think it’s the absolute right thing to do, Suze. I’m in a meeting. I have to go.” He hangs up. I am clear now. “Do it.” The anesthesiologist says, “Let’s go to Hawaii” and puts the mask over my face. When I come to, I feel empty. I grieve for months and months, but I know with all my heart that I did the right thing. I made the right choice. Thank the goddesses I had the choice.