[If you like this IHTM contest entry, comment to that effect below and that will help the writer win the big money. Feel free to critique below too, so we can weigh that in our decision. --Jane]
Last summer, I had gone 6 months without sex and was getting a little restless.
My recent college years had been quite productive on this front but all of sudden I could not get laid. I was getting pretty desperate, but finally I clicked with someone one night. I gave him a ride home and he showed me his questionable movie collection. Then we did it.
I went home, excited to have broken my losing streak. I had finally gotten some action without all the emotional drama that had existed in previous relationships. We didn’t even exchange phone numbers. I felt so cool!
Two weeks later, I missed my period. I wasn’t on birth control but we had used protection, so I was caught off guard. Six at-home tests (I had to be sure!) later, my fears were confirmed. This was problematic for several obvious reasons.
The only information I had about this guy was his first name, Nathan, and the fact that he was in a graduate program at the university from which I had recently graduated. I did what any computer-savvy 22 year old would do and accessed the program roster through my school’s computer system. Through process of elimination, I now had his last name and a listed phone number that I prayed was his cell and not his parents’ house number that he had provided 8 years ago.
When I finally got a hold of Nathan, he did not even bother to ask how I had obtained his number. I was relieved because I didn’t think “Oh, I hacked into your school’s computer system,” was a great way to start this conversation.
After I told him, he immediately insisted that I have an abortion. Luckily I agreed, but I couldn’t help but wonder how I would have dealt with his persistence if I wanted to keep the pregnancy. He offered to pay for half of the cost.
I attended the four-hour doctor consult by myself, because he was busy. I wondered whether this process, which was state law, was put in place in hopes that women would just get sick of sitting there and go home. I was the only one in the waiting room by myself, which made me feel slightly lonely. I mainly wish I had someone there to talk to so I could escape all the ridiculous thoughts going through my head about how I would never have sex again.
Luckily, the girl next to me noticed that I was silently going insane and started a conversation. She told me she was 17 and was in the roller derby! She joked that candy sitting in the waiting room tasted odd because it was laced with birth control. She was there with her grandmother, who seemed kind and encouraging, and I was quite envious of the level of support she had with her decision.
Looking back on it now, it was rather ridiculous that a 23-year-old getting an abortion would be envious of a high-schooler getting an abortion. I couldn’t even imagine what was going through her head.
I left the clinic feeling emotionally drained but still confident that I was making the right choice. Despite my Catholic upbringing, I didn’t feel guilty about it. It was the right choice for me and I was relieved that I was able to make that choice.
After the consult, I texted Nathan and told him when my procedure was scheduled and how much it was going to cost. I made repeated attempts to discuss the logistics over the phone but he consistently would respond to my calls with texts. He could not go with me because he was busy.
With this familiar comment, I was immediately grateful that I was not going to be raising a child with him. He then asked for my address so he could mail me the money for the procedure. He lived about 2 miles away. I could barely contain the anger I felt at this point. I had just sat at the abortion clinic for four hours and all he had to do was put a check in the mail.
Later that evening he texted me to say that he had mailed the money and that he was “glad things were resolved.” Abortion is not one of the many issues that I like to hash out via text. I was at the height of my annoyance with Nathan, who was acting as if we were finalizing lunch plans.
And gosh, I was just so happy he felt things were resolved, especially considering the fact that I was still currently pregnant, had vomited in the middle of the work meeting that day and was experiencing the most mind numbing form of mental anxiety. Our definitions of the word "resolved" were clearly very different.
The next day I checked the mail to see that he had mailed me an envelope without even putting my name on it. Seriously. Because he didn’t know my name. He didn’t ask me for proof of how far along I was, or an itemized bill. He just sent me an envelope full of cash with no name on it. I felt dirty, like I was being paid hush money to withhold some scandalous secret. I wanted to kick him in the face.
The next day, I had a miscarriage. It felt like a rabid vampire bat was let loose in my lower abdomen. I spent the entire day crying, not because I was sad but because I was in that much pain. I didn’t have enough energy left over to form an emotional response. I didn’t say anything to Nathan, I just went to the appointment I had a few days later where they confirmed that I was no longer pregnant and performed the D&C to make sure everything was gone.
Then I went home and went to sleep. I awoke to 14 text messages from Nathan that was basically a series of frantic attempts to confirm that I had actually gone through with the abortion. I texted back the word “Yeah” and never spoke to him again.