IMR: Prologue: June 22, 1997 -- Sunday, 2:22 p.m.
The Apartment, Waikiki, Hawai`i
Jen called at around 5 p.m., but I was in the middle of a meeting for the paper. She really wanted to talk, so I asked her to call back at 8 p.m. (2 a.m. in Florida).Sunday, 2:01 p.m.
She called ten minutes early, and was upset I wasn't done. When I asked for 10 minutes, she said, "I see how things are going to be." Reference to Ka Leo, where she felt the newspaper was more important to me than her.
We started arguing, and she wanted to give up. I refused to let her hang up, and William, bless his soul, caught on and shooed everyone out of my apartment.
After things calmed down -- I cried a bit, and vowed to her that when push came to shove I always had her as my top priority -- she told me she'd been thinking. She'd been thinking she didn't want to keep the baby after all.
I told her it was okay to change her mind (and she would several times over the next few days). I also said I'd stand by any decision she made. She pointed out, rightfully so, that I should have a say... and that I could be saying what I was to hide behind having to make a decision myself.
I pointed out my last e-mail, and said my inclination would be toward keeping the child. I did acknowledge, however, that on a practical level, it'd be like "inviting a tornado to play in the sandbox."
She was upset that, given how we live, we couldn't give a child the life it deserves. That we can barely feed ourselves.
I assured her that we'd survive either way -- though even now sometimes I'm not so sure -- and said: "So maybe our child won't get into the expensive preschool. So maybe it'll be public school and Goodwill fashion. Our kids will have loving, capable parents. They'll be fine."
She started to calm down, but she also confessed that her stomach did a backflip when I mentioned Goodwill. She said she really didn't want to raise a child that way.
I told her it'd be rough, either way.
The conversation closed with her leaning 70/30 -- yes, I asked for a ratio -- toward aborting the pregnancy. Given that, she also asked that I not tell my mom, which I'd planned to do Sunday. Today, that is.
Although, if we decide to keep the child, I'd rather people know sooner rather than later, I understood her rationale. If the child is aborted, the less people that know the better. The fact of the matter is, in this world, there will always be a stigma to abortion -- regardless of the reasons -- that would be hard to take. Especially for Jen.
On a side note, her dad just e-mailed me. He said he just has a feeling that something's up, that something's wrong. I haven't figured out what to write back, but I e-mailed Jen and asked her to call before I left tomorrow for mom's.
Mom's Place, Mililani, Hawai`i
I'm sitting across from my mom as I write this. Tonight's our dinner, at which I now have absolutely nothing to say.
Jen called at 8 a.m. today. She's now 80/20 the other way -- toward keeping the child.
She said I was right; that the guilt and emotional scars of having had an abortion would be too much for her to take. That she knows herself well enough to know she'd be overwhelmed with guilt, with regret. That if she has to choose between living a life in servitude to a child or living a life wondering what kind of life the child would have had, she'll take the former.
The problem with my tendency to play devil's advocate is that sometimes I do too good a job.
I told her, again, that I want the child, Goodwill fashion or not.
I told her about her dad's letter, and she said she'd take care of it. I think he deserves a response, even if I can't tell him anything. On the plus side, at least it's clear he's thinking the Big Secret concerns Jen's academic status rather than her biological state.
I at least need to start smoothing things between Jen's parents and I. We've talked briefly on the phone, when they answer, but our last serious exchange was a ten page letter telling them that Jen and I were headed our seperate ways. I still don't know what they think of me now.
It was a short call, since it was during expensive hours for the East Coast. We figured, what with the next few nights packed with more paper meetings, that we wouldn't talk again 'til she was back. In the meantime, e-mail would have to suffice.
I met up with William for lunch. We talked about everything and then some, again. While we rationalized keeping the child, William hit on another zinger.
He reminded me that having an abortion could affect Jen's future ability to have children. Further, I realized, given her medical condition, if she has this child it could very well be her last. That's a lot to give up for pride.
With Jen shifting positions every twelve hours, he said he really empathized with me. Judy has been equally wishy-washy as of late, though for other reasons. In that we're comrades in our love for women who -- at least for now -- are very, very lost.
"I guess the road for you and Jen is a bumpy one," he said. "But at least you're on a road."
It's been a rough year for both of us.
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