What if?

This morning as I sat quietly in my safe home, a home where all my needs are met, living a life of enough and relatively problem-free, I wondered. . .

What if I were that nice young woman who serves you your breakfast or your dinner, and what if:

I am 19. I live in a medium size city in the south. I left home when I was 16, escaping from my drug and alcohol addicted parents and a home that always had a ready supply of both but  lacked in food, love, and kindness. 

I work as a waitress. The breakfast shift in one restaurant within walking distance of my studio apartment, and the dinner shift in another restaurant – the opposite direction of the first, but still within walking distance. I can afford neither the luxury of a car, nor the cost of public transportation. Fortunately, my jobs afford me two good meals a day, so my food costs are very low.

Before, between, and after jobs, I got my GED and am taking online college courses, because I want to some day have a job that pays enough to live decently. I want to get ahead, to have more in life than my childhood provided. Some day, I’d like to marry and have a family, but only when I am able to support myself in a reasonable manner. For now, I make ends meet by living in a small space in a low-rent district. It’s a struggle, but it’s important and I survive.

Now – now all of that is in question. Six weeks ago, walking home from my night job I was grabbed by a man, drug into an alley, and raped. I tried to report it to the police, but they were not helpful, and the man has not been caught. I doubt he ever will be. This morning I learned that I am pregnant, impregnated by a cruel stranger in the cruelest manner I can think of. What do I do? How do I handle this? If I must carry through with this pregnancy, I will lose my jobs. I have no insurance and I cannot afford the medical bills. I fear that if I am forced to keep this child my future will be what my past has been. Poverty, no money for food, no chance to get ahead in this life. I fear I will always remember that night when I see the child. The child, who will end up carrying on this life of no hope – perpetrating it into future children, to more poverty, to darkness and despair.

There used to be a chance to change this chain of events. There used to be medical centers that could help me end this unwanted, dreadful pregnancy. That is not the optimal answer, obviously, but I see no other choice. It would be a hard decision, it is not what I ever saw in my life, but sometimes life just isn’t fair and sometimes hard choices have to be made. Now, that option is gone. The powers that be, most of whom are men who would never have to deal with this situation, have made it impossible to get that help. They have made laws that are cold, uncaring, unreasonable. They have done so they say in the name of the good. In the name of Christianity. This puzzles me, because I have always thought of God, of Christ, as caring, tender, protective. They say they are protecting life – but what I think is they are encouraging the continuation of my life as a child. Laying that life on the shoulders of babies and children who should never have to live with neglect or abuse and hunger. Are they there to support these babies, to help the unwilling mothers? No. They are behind the fences of their community – the fences that protect them from life in my neighborhood. 

How dare they?! What can I do? How do I go on? Help me. Please. Help me.

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About Carol

I'm me - nothing unusual, just me. Widowed, 2 grown children who are my best friends, 1 dog, retired, loving being retired. I am woman, I am strong.
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12 Responses to What if?

  1. Powerful. No offense to the many caring men I know here, but ‘men’ will never ever get it. The terror of that situation. When I was a young woman, my situation was similar (my parents weren’t addicts, but my home life was stressful). I lived hand to mouth, doing jobs, sometimes any job, just to earn some money so I could hopefully improve my situation. I was lucky, because sometimes I’d get home after dark, and have to walk blocks from the bus stop. But Salt Lake wasn’t dangerous (then), and I carried an invisible shield with me, a gift of sorts from my earlier life. I looked like I’d fight and probably hurt someone who dared to attack me. Crazy trumps lust every time I suppose. I’m sincerely grateful that I never had to face the world you wrote about. That world is Orwellian on a startling level, and sadly I think America at least is headed that way. Desperation leads to some really awful outcomes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadje says:

    A truly nightmare scenario that you have inked. And nobody is willing to change the playing field in favor of the women.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Textricator says:

    Nightmare Carol.
    My state bans morning after pills. It’s just as bad as the situation you described.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The truth hurts, especially when it is being lived in real life.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. lakeafton says:

    The men voting never take responsibility for the fact that only MEN make babies, but they love to punish the women. Come on!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. leendadll says:

    At least the women in Handmaid’s Tale got access to healthcare. We aren’t even providing that. I hope women unite and rise up but it was a woman who signed the law in Alabama and I fear there are many more like her… too comfy in their privileged, never been raped, lives to comprehend that not everyone is so lucky

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well told and sadly too true. It’s hard to believe this is the 21st century sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh…so powerful and well told, Carol.
    Greetings from the beautiful Rhine-Highlands / Germany…
    Rosie

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lisa says:

    This is really a no-win issue. States have descended into abortion bill wars based on who can create the most radical position…both ways. Abortion options up until the moment of delivery? Really? Your scenario above is probably all too common. Part of the problem lies in the way adoption agencies are operated. After hearing what a couple has to go through (financially as well as mountains of endless paperwork) to adopt a child, it’s no wonder there are so many children waiting to be adopted. Our culture screams it cares about life….but it only cares about life when it advances a political agenda. And I’m talking about both sides of this issue. It’s awful how abortion has been weaponized as an issue.

    Liked by 1 person

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