Vivian finally understood her President’s words. She had hated them all the way into the ballot box that November when she fiercely circled in her vote against him. Today, she searched his words for comfort: “If you want to fight abortion, fight poverty.”
Izzy curled up in her dark room for sleep, pulling her favorite blanket toward her face for reassurance. She turned her back to the doorway in order to indulge her oral fixation with her flat thumb. There on her top bunk, with her back turned, and her blanket curled next to her she was finally primed for sleep.
Jason had given up. He’d been out of work for nearly a year and his dedication to doing what he once considered the right things had withered in proportion to his bank account. “It’s your choice, Viv.”
“My choice? I thought we didn’t believe in that?”
Unable to make eye contact, he said, “We believe what we can afford to believe.”
“Jason, I know you think we can’t afford it, but can we afford not to? What will that cost us?”
“I know what it won’t cost us. It won’t cost us so much we risk losing this home and those of us already in this family won’t be on the streets. We’re barely surviving. Those ideals we held so dearly, they may work for people who can afford them, but we can’t afford them any longer. Maybe again someday. I’m trying to get us back there. I’m trying…”
Izzy was restless. Everything was in place, but she couldn’t fall asleep. She tossed and turned, tugging her blanket with each movement. Finally, with the blanket roped around her upper body and face she relaxed, inserted her thumb, and fell asleep to peaceful dreams of floating in air as if she were swimming under water.
Vivian approached her husband at the end of their bed and placed his sunken head against her belly. She recited their President’s words to him.
“It’s your choice, Viv. I’ll do everything I can to support whatever decision you make.”
As Jason lifted his head to look at her, she bent down to kiss him. Through tears she told him, “It’ll be like we lost her.”
“Her?” he asked. No sooner than the words rolled into his own ears, guilt from within flushed outward onto Jason’s face.
“It’ll be like we lost…oh, Jason, I can’t say it. I think she’s a girl. Izzy. Yeah, Izzy. I need to go check on Hannah.”
“Still nervous about the bunk bed?”
“Terribly. My stomach is in knots.”
Holding her stomach in her arms, Vivian walked to her daughter’s bedroom, trying to endure a crippling pain.
Tangled within the umbilical cord, Izzy’s thumb slid from her mouth.
“Jason! Oh, dear God. Jason!”
Footsteps thundered through the upstairs hallway as Jason raced to face the horrors of a God’s right to choose.
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