Thursday, August 11, 2016

#20 MADISON

“Fuck him,” she said. Her voice was blank and colorless, for the first time. And she spoke in a tone that was not to be misunderstood. Fuck him. I immediately started making excuses—“but he’s in shock,” I said. “He’s always talked about wanting to go away, this was not part of his plan.” “Fuck his plans,” she repeated. "They're irrelevant."

I had called her to request a reading list, something to help me get my mind around the situation. She said, “Don’t do it. Don’t have a baby with a man who doesn’t love you.” It was more than I had anticipated, more than I had requested. It was an order from someone whom I respected, from the first person I had called.

My memory of her, speaking with a mixture of urgency and compassion to a group of strangers
replayed in my mind. I thought she was going to tell me what she told them that day, “I owe my life to the woman on the bus, who stopped my mom on the way to the abortion clinic and told her ‘you have a poet coming.’” Instead, she expressed in the simplest words, a truth that I would continue to deny, but not for long: “He’s not the one.”

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