This story touches on rape and abuse, including death threats.
he takes what he wants
It’s my junior year of high school and my period is three weeks late. Two blue lines on a pregnancy test stick indicate that I’m pregnant. I tell no one.
I call and make an appointment at Planned Parenthood. Skip school. Show up thirty minutes early, alone and panicked. As I make my way toward the building, strangers crowd me and shout things that all blur together, but are clearly punctuated with hate.
righteousness and judgment
forcing themselves on me
I make it inside. Check in at the front desk and begin filling out paperwork. When my name is called, I’m escorted to the nurse’s station, where she draws my blood to run a pregnancy test. I’m hoping that the one from Walgreens was wrong.
I sit down with a counselor. She asks an array of questions, explains all of my options in detail. The results are soon ready.
of a word
Unable to imagine gestating his harm, and heeding his threats about telling my family what he’s been doing to me, I schedule a time to return for an abortion.
A little weight lifted, I imagine myself free of him — that he suddenly gives up and leaves me alone. A fantasy, but I feel better knowing that this one part of him will no longer have dominion over me.
things i can control
Three days later I’m back, this time with a friend. Again, thirty minutes early. Again, full of anxiety and bombarded with hostility. I focus on unraveling the bottom of my sweater as a distraction.
The nurse walks me back, has me disrobe, and helps me get as comfortable as possible. The doctor comes in and discusses the process once more. She asks if I’m sure — if I’m ready.
Feet in stirrups. Knees apart. She examines me.
of a grapefruit
our eyes widen
Despite only missing one period, she informs me that I’m about five months pregnant. She says the bleeding in the previous months must have been due to stress. She explains the law and how they can’t help me at this point. She leaves the room while I get dressed.
The counselor comes in and asks if I want to further discuss the other choices I have remaining. I don’t.
fear of the unknown
growing inside me
I can’t focus on what’s going on at this moment. All I can think about is carrying my rapist inside me for the next four months — how every moment he’ll loom.
My heart and mind race with worry about what he’ll do when he figures it out. That he will finally follow through and kill me, and my family.
at my heels
I emerge from the exam room and find my way to the waiting area, where my friend is. He looks up and asks if I’m okay, but I can’t even speak.
As we plod through the crowd, they spew vitriol.
Where exactly is this God they claim to speak for right now?
Robin Anna Smith (she/her/Mx) is an award-winning, Pushcart-nominated writer and visual artist, whose work focuses on disability, gender, and trauma, as well as systems from a neurodiverse perspective. Her work is published internationally, in numerous journals and anthologies. Systems Askew is her first collection (mini-chap) forthcoming from Yavanika Press (2019). Robin is the founding and chief editor for Human/Kind Journal.
Art Amadeo Modigliani Public Domain
This story is part of our Pro-Choice theme. If you are interested in helping support women’s right to autonomy, consider checking out these websites and if you’re able maybe even supporting organizations like these:
Alabama’s Yellowhammer Fund https://yellowhammerfund.org/
Planned Parenthood in the US https://www.plannedparenthood.org/
Alliance for Choice in North and South Ireland http://www.alliance4choice.com/
Marie Stopes International https://mariestopes.org/what-we-do/our-services/safe-abortion-and-post-abortion-care/
and many other pro-choice organizations and charities. We are looking forward to expanding this list as we learn more.