The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Warts Week:My Abortion Adventure

“Have you ever hit a woman?”
Even asking me such a question betrayed how little she knew me. But here we were.
Sara (not her real name) was someone that I had a casual friendship with, like I had with a lot of people that made their way through the house where I lived at that point. With a pool table, dart board and foozball table, we were a popular afterhours hang out.

Sara’s and my friendship had gotten more intimate one of these afterhours, which she swore me to secrecy not to talk about afterwards even though we decided to continue, but by this time it was over.

She asked the question at the beginning because she was pregnant, and she didn’t know how I would react, but I was already suspicious when she took me aside at the bar where we hung out and said that we had to talk.

Even though I ultimately left “the choice” up to her, I couldn’t say that I wasn’t relieved when she said that she wanted to end it. I was in no way then -or now, for that matter- ready to become a father. But I thought I was smarter than this.

All through high school, I would give all of my friends shit when they didn’t use SOME form of birth control and gave them tons of shit as they sweated out late periods. I was ten years older now, why wasn’t I smarter?

The oddest part about it was the “relationship” I had with Sara. After the first night we spent together, she didn’t even look me in the eye for a while because her friend told her that I “fell in love too easy”, a common misconception about “nice guys” such as myself, this person didn’t even know any one I had ever been in love with. (I realize that this might not be painting that kind of “nice guy” picture for you, just take mine and everyone I knows word about it). I was comfortable to keep things as casual as she-and seemingly everyone else I knew then-seemed to be.

As we went on, she confessed to me that the mutual casualness had turned to unrequited feelings, with me in the odd role as the recipient. I let her know that I didn’t share them, but she still wanted to continue our physical relationship. I stupidly and insensitively agreed at first, until my conscious got the better of me and I broke it off for good.

Which brings us to the beginning of the post, we were able to schedule a “procedure” quickly, so that it would only happen about 6 weeks in, which made it about 3 weeks of waiting. In the meantime, I went through quite a range of emotions: shame for being so careless; regret for the necessity of what we were going to do; and quite a bit of misplaced anger.

In my darkest place, I thought that she might have done it on purpose to “trap” me. This wasn’t fair, she had given me no real reason to believe that.I wouldn’t allow my self to think it for to long, but it was never far away in my mind. She had actually been married before after her boyfriend had gotten her pregnant before she miscarried their baby and got divorced.

We got up really early one December morning and I drove her to the clinic 2 hours away. We made small talk among the way. She had had quite a shitty fall, just a little while before there was a small fire at her house that happened in her room after a cushion got wedged up against a heating vent. She said that there was a part of her that thought that her roommate did it in retaliation for the disagreement that they were having about the roommate sleeping with her friend’s boyfriend.

I told her that I didn’t think that it was on purpose, and that sometimes in situations like this your mind goes off in scary directions in search of blame. I never told her that I came to that conclusion thinking about our situation.

Just before we pulled into the clinic, Sara chose that time to tell me that the ultrasound that she had gotten showed that they might have been twins, which nearly caused me to drive off the road that I was already driving off of.

We entered the nondescript facility and waited in the waiting room with 2 other sets of people: the patent and the support person. I noticed immediately that I was the only other male in the support role and it made me a little sad to be one. I thought that going with Sara and paying for half of it was the absolute least thing I could do. Years later, a female friend told me that the male end of the genomic equation may have never even known that they got someone pregnant.

For as long as we waited, the actual procedure took next to no time at all and we were headed to lunch. Sara told me about it, ”He said he had no problem finding the tissue.”

I waited at Sara’s house until her roommate got home, then I was gone, to marinate in my drowsy shame alone. Sara and I still saw each other in our social circles but we never really talked like we once did. One drunken night she told me, “I want you to know that I appreciate what you did, you were a good guy.”
“Thank you,” I said, ”I was really worried that I wasn’t.”

It lifted a psychic weight for her to say that, I hope she didn’t just say it to make me feel good.

It didn’t lift all of it, though. I have and will support a woman’s right to choose; in fact, like evolution, it’s something that we shouldn’t even be discussing in the 21st century . I also recognize the fact that as a man, my perspective has limited value.

But that doesn’t mean I think abortion is the most moral of choices. Writing these post has had a cathartic value, but it’s almost mike puking bad karma; it makes you remember what it tasted like. Even writing words like “procedure” and “tissue” brings back all the echoes of that shame that is really good at hiding most of the time.

Also while writing, I realized that the twins would probably have turned 10 about now. There is not a day that I regret the choice, but doesn’t mean it was easy.

Stay tuned for the extra special Warts Week finale tomorrow.

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