[This was at the very bottom of my drafts. I never intended to send it out. Dark content follows, naturally.]
My very first impulse, when you asked me if I ever killed anyone, was to point at my neck scar and say gravely, “How do you suppose I got this?” and then spin a tale of a knife fight at the abandoned carousel park. The fight was over a boy, of course, a very unworthy and pouty boy with beautiful tattooed forearms…
Anyway, you might want to sit down and get comfortable and make sure you’re not feeling very emotional, because I am surprising myself and ready to tell you about the time I might have killed somebody.
No one has asked me that question in over thirty years and I have only ever discussed what happened with a handful of people because there is still a remnant of bright pain in the center of the story.
I could say I didn’t kill on purpose, but that’s not true. I killed without the idea that it was killing, which is not the same.
I thought I had to do it to save myself, but that wasn’t true either.
What was true: I was very young and just a little bit pregnant.
You’ve seen Juno, right? Well, it wasn’t like that. The only similarity was that I made the decision by myself. I had the idea that it would be like a bad trip to the dentist and then I’d just get on with my life. It was like a very bad trip to the worst dentist and I did not get on with my life for at least a year.
Maybe the entire family and all of the neighborhood knew, but I doubt it. Some people really enjoy broadcasting their worries, but this is the sort of worry that no one was anxious to bleat out into late-seventies suburbia. Abortion was incredibly common then and there, but it was only spoken of in an abstract political way by the people we knew.
After all these years, I don’t let myself get morose about it. I remember sobbing at the time because I would never get to be president. Actually, I was sobbing because I was such a complete idiot, I didn’t even know who to be sad about.
I had a few friends that wanted to help and they had no idea how to do that. Before the appointment, my grandfather, who had never, ever embraced me, walked up behind me and kissed the top of my head and then walked away without speaking. Two college-girl volunteers held my hands during the procedure while I shook and cried about not ever being president.
It was a stupid and awful experience, but the kindness of just a few people, including Grandma, are the things I want you to know about it.
Always be kind to stupid people, because it’s the right thing to do and because you will be the stupid one someday.
p.s. Pope Francis says I can be forgiven and Bill Nye says I should have the choice. I agree with both of them. Even if you believe that an embryo is not a person because it cannot survive at all alone, abortion feels horrible. Making abortion more difficult and more horrible isn’t only unnecessary, but cruel.
Additional Roe thoughts: I find it odd that no one seems to share my viewpoint. Sure, abortion is murder, maybe, but maybe not. Let’s say for the sake of argument that abortion is definitely murder. Armies do murder for abstract reasons and boundaries and resources and there’s no calling it “maybe not murder.” When a person has a “maybe life” removed from her very real body, could she just declare that her uterus is a sanctified territory and the invader had to go? It doesn’t matter why she wants it out. She is the queen of her own body. If she wants it out because she is a callous and villainous queen, well, okay then. Maybe we should make it easier for her to avoid being a nightmare mommy.
Most people are not psycho killers, thank goodness, but there are still a huge number of abortions. There must be a huge number of reasons, or maybe a few very large reasons to account for the outcomes. Maybe we could focus on things supporting moms. The broke moms, the infirm moms, the moms who don’t have a safe place to gestate one more little creature–all of these moms need love and sustenance for the long haul. Let’s do that.
Let’s also make sure that the moms who want to stop the baby train can stop the baby train. We have all the tools, and in theory we could keep it kind and civil if everyone is working together. Respecting the life that is not a “maybe life” also respects all the life in their future.