1.) Out of the following scenarios, which is your preferred way to figure out that I’ve had an abortion?
A. We decide to stay in and have a movie night, so we go to the grocery store to pick up snacks. At the entrance, there is a Mother’s Day display — pink roses, red wine, cutesy little cards. On second thought, I say, turning on my heel. I’m not very hungry. You reach for my elbow, but I’m already through the door. You glance around, to see if anyone is staring, and decide to follow me out to the car. What the hell was that? You ask, What came over you? I stare at my feet and hug my body during and endure my interrogation (Why’d you leave? What’s going on? Talk to me, why can’t you talk to me?). When the truth comes out, the reason why Mother’s Day stirs up dread in the pit of my belly, you will be at a loss for words. I’m as liberal as they come but this is a lot, you confess. The car ride home is silent. We never get around to watching a movie.
B. There is a box underneath my bed with snapshots of my life: movie tickets, postcards from various travels, polaroids of friends at parties. You know it’s there — maybe I’ve mentioned it once or twice, but you’ve never had the chance to look through it. While I’m gone, your curiosity gets the better of you, and you decide to snoop through it. There, you find the ultrasound of my ghost baby. In tiny, gray print, you read: Planned Parenthood, 02/09/16, 2:12:17. My name is there, too: Shaw, Kasey. No doubt it’s mine. You hand me the picture when I walk through the door and wait for me to explain myself. How come you never told me? Your face contorts in its hurt. You have no idea how painful it is to learn this about you.
C. At our favorite Italian place, it begins like this: Did you hear so-and-so is pregnant? I have no idea what I would do if that were, y’know, us. At our age. Can you imagine? I twirl spaghetti noodles on my fork and shrug. Oh, I was pregnant once. In college. With my boyfriend at the time. You’re hanging onto my every word, leaning forward, eyes bugged-out: What? You had a miscarriage? I laugh like you said something funny, shaking my head. No, honey bunny, I got an abortion. I make it sound so monotonous — like the time you bought me the wrong brand of tampons or when I forgot to bring the right pair of shoes to the gym. You’re left wondering how I can be so cold.
2.) During a fight, you will inevitably throw my abortion in my face.
3.) Finish this sentence: “I identify as pro-choice, but….” (Check all that apply):
☐ I am concerned that you had an abortion with another man.
☐ I can’t stop thinking about the fact that you were carrying someone else’s baby.
☐ I wonder how your ex was fine with you terminating his child.
☐ If we have children, I’m worried that I will feel emotional torment of the decision you made all those years ago.
☐ It scares me to consider that you might get pregnant again and put me in that uncomfortable situation.
4.) How do you prefer me to feel about my abortion?
A. You notice my elongated gaze at passing strollers, that I hold onto friend’s children a bit too long. Some nights, my body will fold in on itself and I will cry for ghosts of baby’s past, and you will have to hold me to control the sobs. If only you could’ve been there to stop me, I cry. If only, if only, if only.
B. We will only talk about it when our mouths are stained with wine, just us together in my apartment. I’ve accepted it, I will say in a fragile voice, a voice that is trying to convince the both of us, pulling at a loose string on my cardigan. I did what was necessary; I did what needed to be done.
C. When it comes up, it will almost always be in passing — the time I got an abortion. You know, I say one day, in the passenger seat of your car. I only really regret having to eat ramen for two weeks. Abortions are expensive. Shocker.
5.) Finish this sentence: “As a man, your abortion makes me…”
A. Question your morals.
B. Question my morals.
E. All of the above.
6.) When we fuck, you will swear you can feel the scars that decorate the walls of my uterus.
7.) You will remind yourself that you are a Good Man, and Good Men love their branded women, their women with their sins stuffed tightly in neat little suitcases that Good Men can easily sort through. You will take my head in your hands, kiss my forehead, and smile. I forgive you, you will tell me, because there is no doubt in your mind that I need just that from you— to be forgiveness.
8.) After our unavoidable breakup, you are with your new girl. Exes come up. I come up. You tell her of how broken you knew I was. You tell her of my mistake. You tell her you tried to save me— you tried so hard, didn’t you? — but I, in my bullheadedness, didn’t see it. You even say that: she never saw me. She never asked me how I felt about it. I had to just tell her. She never cared.
In short essay responses, answer the following, keeping in mind the prompt above:
1. Describe the way your new girl’s forehead creases in anger, how her voice raises a few octaves, how it shakes.
a. Address her question: how could you?
2. Illustrate the exact moment that you are aware that her opinion of you has changed.
a. Address your confusion: what is the big deal?
3. Detail how you will tell her that she is just like me.
a. Address your horror: why is her face morphing into mine?
** Extra credit opportunity: Write down anything I’ve told you of my feelings and my thoughts. Skip if not possible.
1. Get in a neat, single line with all the others.
2. Turn in your quiz, face-up (No one will cheat, I promise).
3. Don’t be surprised if your answers are all the same. They almost always are.