He used me for sex for 2 years, and I let him. He’d kicked me to the curb again in March for talking to another guy, which seemed silly to me since he was very emphatic about not dating me. Two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. It was another two weeks before I got up the nerve to tell him at the urging of his best friend (who was swiftly becoming my best friend too).
He cried and apologized and offered to help me out in any way he could. Obviously, we both agreed, I couldn’t keep it and he promised to pay for the abortion. After that, not much was said and no money was offered. I saved my minimum wage salary until I finally had to ask him for the last $50. He promised to give me the rest once he “got caught up”. He promised to go with me, but one Wednesday morning in April, I made the drive alone to a clinic 200 miles away. I was given a pill and two days later aborted in my bathroom, again alone.
He called me that evening and asked if it was done. I told him yes and over the next few days, he smoothly wormed his way back into my bed. A junkie from way back, he also wormed his way into the bottle of painkillers the doctor had given me and went through them in a matter of days. And of course, when we split a year later, he flat-out refused to give me the money he still owed me because I had put a tiny scratch in his truck while moving from my apartment to a house (a move he refused to help me with).
I am now happily living with the one man who stuck by me through all of this: his best friend. It was, of course, a difficult situation at first (he decided he loved me the day I told him we were through), but we’ve come to peace (strained peace, but peace nonetheless) with each other. After 3 years, the bitterness has lifted and I’ve forgiven him. But I cannot forgive myself.
I still have the empty bottle of pain killers. It is, in a way, a reminder of the baby I gave up… a decision I do not regret, but mourn just the same. I regret that I allowed myself to be put in that position and think about my child every Christmas, when I would’ve been due. Call me callous, but at the same time I feel relief that I terminated what would have been a very permanent tie to the father.
Mainly, I keep it to remind myself of what I was: a pathetic creature with string for a backbone. Yes, he treated me horribly, BUT I ALLOWED IT. I can almost forgive myself for the abortion, but I cannot forgive myself for spending another year (even another minute) with him. In fact, I should have left him long before I ever got pregnant. That I didn’t is a testiment to my stupidity and my lack of self-worth.
I wish I could go back in time and slap the young, foolish girl I was across the face…and then take her in my arms and tell her she’s worth so much more than she gives herself credit for.
Tags: abortion, friend, junkie, painkillers, promised, worth
The Saddest Thing I Own is a 2005 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., (aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site. It is supported by the Jerome Foundation in celebration of the Jerome Hill Centennial and in recognition of the valuable contributions of artists to society.