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If Only (If Only)
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If Only (If Only)
A message to compromise and be accepting on the issue of abortion.
[554 words]
Joseph Robert Herrick
[May 2002]
[email protected]
For Katie (Genres) - [197 words]
My Tree (Poetry) - [334 words]
No Title For This One (Short Stories) - [240 words]
The Eerie Green (Poetry) - [92 words]
If Only (If Only)
Joseph Robert Herrick

If Only

I know about things most sixteen year old girls donít. I know about things most sixty year olds donít. I know about rape.

Most teenagers donít have to make decisions about abortion.
I did.
I had to.
I chose against the baby. Perhaps if it had been my boyfriendís I would have kept it, I donít know. I just couldnít let that sickness fester inside me for nine months. I knew every time I would look at it, I would see his face sneering at me, his lips calling me a whore, his hands holding me down. A person canít live with that.

I didnít understand why people couldnít accept my decision. I told my Priest and he in turn informed me that the church doors would not be Ďfully opení to me if I followed through with it. My parents were worse. My father looked me in the eye and said ďIf you have that aborted you wonít have a roof over your head, and you wonít have your mother and me anymore eitherĒ.

So I kept it.

I couldnít live with walking into school every day and hiding my morning sickness. The girls in the bathroom knew, but none ever offered help, never said a word, they just snickered. If they had known how I got that way and what I was going to do, I doubt they would have laughed.
I constantly felt the shame of knowing no one accepted me. At the gas station the clerk would see me not as me anymore, but as the child who was having a child. No more smiles, no more friendly helloís from passers by. The months seemed to crawl by slower than clouds moving overhead.

The due date came. I walked to the bridge like I did every morning on the way to the bus stop. But my mind was already made up, I knew what I was going to do, yet I still questioned it in my head. I was sick of being looked down on, seen as less than human, they almost had me convinced I was. Being left outside the doorway with a loud slam from society was what broke me. It was what made me do it. I felt like a pregnant alley cat carrying a litter of diseased rats.

No one wants infected rodents in their homes.

So I did it.
I took the easy way through. The simple escape. I stood on the metal railing of the red bridge, held onto the steel wires with sweaty palms, leaned forward, and let go.

They found my body lying stomach down on the railroad tracks four hours later. Bones crushed, skull in pieces, and the baby dead. The paramedics told my parents they couldnít have saved it because its body was in similar condition as mine.

Looking back I donít know if I regret it or not. I know for sure I wouldnít have done it if one of those girls in the bathroom had shown some kindness, or if the gas station clerk had treated me as me, or if a passer by offered to help me carry my bags, or even a comforting smile. I know there would be two more lives in this world if only people hadnít ridiculed me and my situation.

By the way, it was a girl.



"Wonderful tone and character voice. I like the no name 'it can be anyone' affect. Very moving overall." -- Jacob Nesjel, USA, Kentucky.


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© 2002 Joseph Robert Herrick
May 2002

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