The room is cold, so very cold. Taryn asks the nurse for a blanket. No reply. No blanket. The clock ticking on the wall is the only sound other than muffled voices down the long corridor on the other side of the door. Her body shudders visibly from the increasing coldness of the room and she pulls the indecent, thin gown closer. About an hour later she hears footsteps approaching the door. The nurse enters pushing an IV pole bearing a bag of fluid. Without a word, she takes Taryn’s arm and proceeds to insert the IV. After four failures and excruciating pain for Taryn, the nurse is finally satisfied that the needle is in place. Then, pulling a syringe out of her pocket, the nurse inserts the contents into one of the joints of the IV line and leaves the room. Although slipping into a drug-induced sleep, waves of panic begin crashing in and Taryn cries out, “No! No! Help me, I’ve changed my mind!” No one hears…or listens.
“What muscle is this exercise toning?” Tony asks with a grin. “And when are we going to have time for anything other than your incessant exercise and training!?” Taryn pauses to admire his handsome face that she found ever so much handsomer with that crooked grin.
“This is to keep the hamstring muscles in shape, Mr. Fitness!” She replies with mock exaggeration pointing to the bag of potato chips he was munching on. “This to which you refer to as ‘incessant exercise’ is the key to success for such a rigorous event! When the Triathlon is over, we will have nothing but time…at least until I have to start preparing for the marathon in March.” Now it was her turn to smirk.
The phone rang and Taryn grabbed it with excessive urgency and flipped it open. “Hello…yes, this is Taryn. What? Are you sure? Maybe we should run that through again! But…thank you.” With obvious distress on her face, she flipped the phone shut. Tony was watching her intently. He opened his mouth to ask, but she nodded her head affirmatively.
“Okay, okay…let’s be calm and rational. This is no big deal anymore. I mean, it’s not as if we are living in centuries past. This can be dealt with quickly. I can be up and back to training in no more than two weeks and the triathlon is in six weeks.” Taryn was looking at Tony, but it was really herself she was talking to.
“I don’t know, Taryn. I mean…I know I agreed before, but now it’s real and it just doesn’t seem right to me. It kinda scares me, ya know?” Tony hesitated. “I mean, for you and the baby. It just doesn’t seem right. How do we know what really goes on in those places…I mean, can you really trust people who…kill babies?”
With vehement denial Taryn shouted, “Tissue! Not a baby! You can’t change your mind now! It’s my body and my choice! Women have fought for over a century to have a right to their own body and I won’t let you make the choice for me! What about me? What about the triathlon and marathon that I have been working so hard for? Ever think of that? No! It’s only you that you think about!”
Tony walked toward her. “Taryn, I Love you and I will Love our baby. You can still do the triathlons and marathons.”
“No.” She stated flatly. “You just don’t understand that to have a baby at this time in my life would be like death to me…dying to the drone and drudgery of domesticity. No.” With this, she bolted out the door and up the road.
There was a soft breeze that barely moved the new spring leaves in a tantalizing manner that always thrilled Taryn to the core of her being. Tony sat down next to the fresh mound of dirt and stared at the headstone. Taryn’s parents approached him and he looked up into their grieving faces with his own. “I begged her not to…I would have…I did…I wanted to be a father…”
Taryn’s mother dropped to her knees beside him taking his face in her hands. “We know, Tony. We know.”
He stood on the corner in front of the abortion clinic waiting, as he’d peaceably done every Friday the past three years. Perhaps he could save another one today…for Taryn and his child. There was nothing left to do.
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