Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Exhale (08/15/13)
- TITLE: Tara's Choice
By Francy Judge
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She opened her eyes slowly, squinting out the bright daylight. Her thoughts raced faster than her body could move or her mouth speak: “Did even five minutes pass? What happened? I’ve changed my mind.”
“Don’t try to speak.” The nurse checked her vitals. She smelled of antibacterial soap and cheap perfume. “You need to rest; you’re not thinking clearly.”
Tara’s head pounded. She had to go home and think without call bells clanging.
The nurse straightened her blanket. “Would you like your TV on?”
“No, I don’t…I want to get out of here! Why the IV? What are you pumping into me?”
“Just liquids and pain medicine.”
“I don’t need pain medicine. Take this off, p-please,” Tara pleaded. Her throat tightened as she held back tears. “My appointment was for a consultation.” Tara’s voice escalated. “I don’t need to be hooked up. I want to leave now.”
“I’m sorry, dear, but Planned Parenthood doesn’t make consultations; you scheduled an abortion.”
“What?! But I wasn’t sure…I wanted to see the sonogram first.”
The nurse pressed the intercom. “Iris, come to room nine,” she whispered.
Tara ripped out her IV and tried to reach the door, but pain wrenched her lower abdomen. She dropped to the floor, gasping as if she was drowning in air.
“Stat to room nine!” Tara heard the nurse shout from the black hole that suddenly swallowed her.
Five months ago…
Tara tossed her graduation cap in the air, forgetting to keep her gold honors tassel. She hunted the ground for it after the ceremony until Jason scooped her up in a big hug and kissed her.
“We’re done!” Four years at Julliard, and they were still a couple, sometimes. “Let’s celebrate tonight after your family party, okay?” He twirled her around and dipped her in the midst of the crowd.
She kissed him again, her skin tingling. “This is one of the happiest days of my life so far.”
Tara mapped out her future and wasn’t sure if Jason fit in her plan, but for now he’d stay. She always wanted to be a dancer…to feel the energy on stage as she performed. She felt closer to God when she danced and let praise pour out of her body. Every graceful pirouette demonstrated His beautiful gift. Tara also planned to teach dance and open her own studio someday. She was blessed with a talent, and that was her life.
Three months ago…
She didn’t tell anyone her secret. Who would sympathize with her at church? She grew up in youth groups, wore her purity ring, and would become the latest gossip. No one. Not even Jason. He might want her to keep the baby and ruin her life. Never. She’d have to resort to online support in the privacy of her room.
Tara scrolled for stories of other girls her age, what they did, where they received help. She found a nice looking site, welcoming and non-judgmental. Exhaleprovoice addressed the emotional well-being after a woman’s abortion. “Exhale believes abortion can become a normal part of the reproductive lives of women and girls.”
That didn’t sound so bad. “Maybe my life doesn’t have to be ruined by one mistake,” she said out loud to the computer. “I’ll just make an appointment for a consultation and a sonogram before I make a decision.” Her heart stopped racing for the first time since she saw the pink positive circle.
When her eyes opened, she thought an angel hovered over her to escort her to heaven…until Jason smiled. He squeezed her hand and rubbed the sweaty bangs off her forehead. “You should’ve told me. We could’ve dealt with this together.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t think I wanted a baby right now…my life would change.”
“Our lives would’ve changed, but not necessarily for the worse. You can’t control everything. We made a mistake, but God forgives and can use even this for good.”
She turned away and let her tears soak the pillow.
Tara finished typing her testimony. Her heart still ached for their unborn child, but she’d share her story; even one woman might change her mind. This could never be a normal way. How could ending a life be as easy as exhaling?
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