A Trap and an Open Door

by R

October 9, 2020

I was 21. It’s been 3 years and I am now married with a beautiful boy. Sometimes, late at night when I can let my mind wander after the stress of working, your average marital spats and an angsty toddler, I’ll be sitting alone writing or drawing and out of nowhere it pops into my head. I’m not very good at confronting my emotions. I’m well versed in the ways of denial and prone to blocking things out. But then it will just pop into my head. Uninvited. It will be mentioned in a movie or casual conversation. One thought leads to another.

I never really processed what happened. For months when I closed my eyes I saw it.

I opted for the ‘at home’ version of the abortion rather than the surgical. I wanted to be as comfortable as one can be in that situation.

I didn’t have a home at the time. Not to say there was nowhere I could go. Had I decided to it would have been on a long, exhausting, painful journey. But I could have. My parents would have helped me.

But I had only just escaped the tempestuous relationship I had with them. Screaming and fighting all the time. Not feeling particularly sound of mind. Just tasting what it was like not to be under someone else’s control.

And of course I met him. He seemed so reserved at first. Well liked. Intellectual.

But there’s always more to it than it seems and I was all too willing to ignore the red flags. Ones that became more and more glaring by the day.

I don’t remember a whole lot about finding out. I don’t think I want to. That wasn’t the significant moment in my mind.

I remember telling a friend first.

They said ‘you don’t have to tell him’. Even offered to raise the baby with me should I choose to go through with it. I didn’t take this offer seriously. And considering this person left town without ever speaking to me again, I am sure that’s for the best.

I remember telling him. He was a musician. I went to his practice space. Some dirty rented garage.

I remember him being so calm.

I don’t remember what he said exactly. Again, I think it’s by choice that the details of this memory are omitted. But I do remember it being glaringly obvious there was one option.

Even if we continued to date for awhile after, I knew bringing an innocent soul into what we had would be too cruel a fate.

And although that sounds dramatic, it is all too true.

He may have thought he was just following his bliss. Doing as he pleased. Boys will be boys and who was he to deny himself any moment of happiness in the name of morality? Far too young and free to consider such an idea. Cheating on me constantly. Always convincing me I was crazy and when I had hard proof – begging. The lowest of the low. Down. Right. Groveling.

He would – in no uncertain terms – get down on his knees – wrap his arms around my waist and beg me not to stop loving him.

He would say he was obsessed with me. That it was all meant to be and he could never have that with any of the other girls.

I was special.

And I fell for it over and over and over again.

He even casually suggested we get married once. And looked confused when I burst out laughing at such a preposterous idea that I knew he would immediately betray and use to control me further. Using documentation to assure he could do as he pleased and I would be trapped. If I had to divorce him to get away I would surely give into his begging before lengthy divorce process could ever be completed.

We went to the nearest planned parenthood that could offer the services we needed. As our small town planned parenthood wasn’t equipped for such things.

I went in.

I do remember the ultrasound. But I can’t envision it in my head.

I remember 5 things about that day:

1. We didn’t fight the whole time. (A rare occasion)

2. We had waffles for breakfast the morning before I took the first pill.

3. He bought me a green dress. That somehow I still love.

4. When we paid the bill: we split it. As if we were casually going Dutch on dinner.

And 5. I bought him a red guitar.

As if it were just a regular weekend away. We ate, we shopped, we went home.

I went to a friends house to take the second pill. As  I didn’t have a place of my own and neither did the boyfriend.

The boyfriend made me Mac and cheese and I took one last moment before taking the second pill to wonder if I would regret it, knowing that the first pill has already eliminated the option to change my mind.

I went through a lot of pain. Even visual distortions. Writhing and watching a wooden door pixelate into colors with scooby doo playing in the background. For some strange reason I thought it would be comforting.

Then I saw it.

And for a long time when I closed my eyes.

I’ve never really decided if I regret it. And I think it’s too complex to put into black and white terms and say it was right or wrong. But I do know that had I had that baby there would always be a way for him to get to me. To have a place in my life. To poison me.

I didn’t fully understand that consciously for a long time. I continued trying to ignore red flags and ‘love’ him. Until one day he left to go on tour and didn’t say goodbye. And I knew I had to take extreme action to ensure it was over. When he heard I was with someone else (briefly) he acted as though I had no right. That I belonged to him. And the confusion and torture came in spurts and finally ended.

Not long after I met the man I later eloped with. 3 short months in I was pregnant again. 9 months later I had a beautiful child.

I felt a lot of guilt at first.

How could I give this child the chance I didn’t give to another possible life? I wrestled with this a lot.

Because this baby wasn’t a tether to a toxin.

Sometimes I still wrestle with ‘what if’s’.

But we have built a modest home. I am more stable and healthy than I have ever been. And I love my son with every fiber of my being. And I know his father does too. Seeing how close and involved he is with our son. It all somehow makes sense. For the most part.

And I don’t think I would do it differently.

You don’t have to know exactly what you want. You don’t have to have it all figured out. My intuition guided me even if I couldn’t see it. And I thank god every day that I didn’t walk into a trap that neither of us wanted but rather walked through a terrifying open door to more than I ever could have imagined.

Remember that our stories are ours to tell. We’d love to hear your story too!