Dust in an Autumn Breeze
This is a story about a young couple named Ben and Charlotte. They were teenagers from back in the days of Free Love and Flower Children. A time when America was finding itself changing drastically and the younger generation was speaking out against the establishment. A time when protests and marches against the government were common and a lot of the younger generation felt they were doing some good. Ben and Charlotte were no exception during this movement. They started out as friends and eventually fell in love with one another. Little did they realize at the time but the decisions they made would have a drastic impact on the future. Not just their own future, but the future of the entire world.
Ben’s alarm clock rang at 5:13am. He peeked out from under his comforter and stared at the small, analog clock with the glow-in-dark face sitting on his nightstand. The clock seemed to vibrate as the tiny center hammer vibrated back and forth between the two bronze bells which sat atop the clock. Ben simply needed to reach out and push in the button on the back of the clock to stop the alarm but instead; he just lay under his covers and stared, waiting for the ringing to wind itself down to nothing. After nearly an entire minute and a half; the tiny hammer lost its momentum and slowed down to the point where the alarm bells sounded more like the cymbals on his little brother’s crazy-eyed toy monkey. Ben didn’t want to pull the comforter off of him, but he knew he had to get out of bed. He moved his eyes in the direction of his bedroom window and frowned at the sight of the half-moon shining bright in the dark, morning sky. This isn’t right. Ben thought to himself. It was December 26th, 1974; the day after Christmas and Ben had an important appointment to keep. He needed to get over to Charlotte’s place as he knew she would be waiting for him. With much reluctance, Ben sat up and pushed off the warm embrace of his comforter and took on the attack of the frigid December air which seemed to always invade his room. Without turning on his bedroom light, he quickly threw on a pair of jeans and put on a tee shirt before pulling over a large sweater and slipped on a pair of work boots before grabbing his denim jacket which hung on the back of his bedroom door. As he slid into his jacket, he glanced into the mirror and checked his face. He noticed a slight blemish forming on the tip of his nose and he scoffed as he wondered when those things would stop. “C’mon, will ya!” he said aloud. I’m 24-years-old! You’d think I’d be done with zits! Ben took a moment to look at his reflection in the mirror. He studied his face to look for the man he believed himself to be but all he could see was the boy he knew himself to be. He ran his fingers through his long, naturally curly, dark hair and then turned his face to the left and moved his jaw slightly to the side in order to find any new facial hair. But alas, there was nothing but smooth, baby-like skin. He turned his face in the other direction, searching again. But still there was nothing. He stood back and furrowed his brow a bit trying to make a menacing face; however, his silver, circular rimmed glasses did nothing for a menacing look. Ben brushed away his reflection in frustration and walked out of his room and headed for the kitchen.
Ben made a couple slices of toast and coated them with mayonnaise for his breakfast. Charlotte had always warned him that he would clog his arteries eating animal fats, but Ben had enjoyed the odd concoction since he was just a little kid. He didn’t see himself changing his eating habits anytime soon. It was just a five thirty when he pushed the last half of toast into his mouth, and wrote a quick note for his parents explaining that he was borrowing the car and would be back in a few hours. He folded the note and placed it in the center of the kitchen table and then grabbed the car keys from the bowl in the living room as he headed out to the station wagon in the driveway.
As Ben got into the driver’s seat of the car, he quickly blew his warm breath into his hands and rubbed them together as he cursed the cold. He fumbled with the car keys looking for the ignition key. He kept adjusting in his seat as the vinyl was extremely cold and uncomfortable to sit against despite the fact that he was wearing denim jeans. Once he separated the ignition key from the rest of the keys, he pumped the gas pedal a couple of times and then silently whispered, “Please start up” before turning over the ignition. The engine strained and whined under the cold and Ben gave the gas pedal another slight push and finally the engine roared to life. Relieved, Ben sat back and pushed the heat lever all the way over to the red zone and waited for the warmth of the engine to take effect. In the meantime, he sat back and kept his hands tucked into his arm pits and thought how odd it was that he could actually smell the coldness that surrounded him.
As Ben waited for the engine to warm up, he took notice of the other houses on his block. All were dark and sleeping. Ben looked beyond his neighbors and noticed that besides the streetlights, everything was dark. It was as it the world was asleep and other than Ben no one was awake. He suddenly became very aware of the car’s engine and almost felt as though he should try to silence it so as not to awaken anyone. But Ben knew that was not possible so he slipped the car into drive and slowly rolled out of the driveway and headed to Charlotte’s place. Half way to his destination, Ben noticed Mr. Artesia opening his newspaper stand. Ben pulled over and greeted Mr. Artesia as he helped himself to a cup of coffee and made a second cup for Charlotte. “So how was your Christmas, Ben?” Mr. Artesia asked as he hung his new magazines.
“I’m Jewish, Mr. Artesia.” Ben said with a smile. “We celebrated Hanukkah, but that ended for us last week.”
Mr. Artesia froze with embarrassment. “I’m sorry.” He said as he picked up a stack of newspapers and moved them behind the counter.
Ben smiled. “No need to apologize.” Ben added sugar to Charlotte’s coffee and stirred. “I don’t go to Temple or practice as much as my mother would like.”
“Religion is important.” The old man said. “You should listen to your mother.” Mr. Artesia explained that as a Catholic he and his family made Church the center of their lives. He told Ben how it gave strength to his family and strengthened his marriage and his entire family unit. “A family that prays together stays together!”
Ben handed Mr. Artesia a few nickels and quarters for the coffee and newspaper. “Say Merry Christmas to Mrs. Artesia.” Ben opened the car door and slid into his seat and gave a polite wave as he drove off.
A few moments later, Ben arrived at Charlotte’s apartment and found her balled up on the sofa. Her roommate Anna was in the city visiting family for the holidays. Ben sat down next to her and placed the two paper cups on the coffee table. Smelling the coffee, Charlotte stretched and groaned as she tried to wake herself up from the cat-nap she took on the sofa. “What time is it?” she asked as she reached for one of the cups.
“It’s quarter to six.” Ben replied as he took the cup away from Charlotte. “This one is mine.” He said handing her the coffee with no cream.
“You’re drinking cream again?” She scoffed. “I thought you were going to change over to vegetarian so you could clean your body?” Charlotte was concerned for Ben. Although he was Jewish and ate Kosher at home, he would often indulge in pork or shellfish when he was away from his family. This bothered her because once Ben made the commitment to change his diet to vegetarian she had hoped he wouldn’t do the same thing by indulging in animal products whenever he was away from her.
“Can we not worry about this right now?” Ben walked away from the sofa and over to a side table near the living room wall. He glanced down at the pale green telephone situated next to the large telephone directory. Despite the fact that Charlotte kept talking Ben wasn’t really listening. He could only read the words on the cover of the directory. “MONMOUTH AREA New Jersey Bell 1974” There were scribbles on the cover of the directory; made by Charlotte who had probably been speaking with an operator or a salesman of some sort. Other things written were notes and phone numbers; things to do and things to not forget. Words were written in blue ink and black ink and even a few notes written in red ink. Ben seemed hypnotized by the phone book.
“Are you even listening to me?” Charlotte’s voice snapped Ben out his faux trans.
“Yeah!” He lied. “Sure.” Smiling, he was trying to recall anything he may have heard. “I’ll just wait here for you.” He guessed, hoping she may have said something about getting ready to leave.
Charlotte walked off into her bedroom to get ready and Ben sighed in relief. He hadn’t heard her but he’d known her long enough to guess that she was probably telling him she needed to go to her room to get ready before they could leave.
As Charlotte’s bedroom door closed, Ben wandered over to a small writing table in the corner of the living room where he noticed a photo album. Sticking out of album was the corner of an old photo that seemed familiar to him. He grabbed at the corner of the picture and tugged at the monochrome image until he could see more of it. Suddenly, Ben smiled as he recognized the image. It was from more than fifteen years earlier when he and Charlotte first met at a day camp with their friends Leo, Ian and Bree. It was the summer of 1957 and Ben’s mother forced him to go away to a Day-Camp program where he would learn arts and crafts during the day but be able to come home in the evening and be close to her. Ben smiled as he looked at the image. Ben sat in the middle of Leo and Ian with his Jew-Fro looking larger than life and his two front teeth looked like he had couple of chicklets stuck in his mouth. Leo was wearing that red, orange and yellow stripped shirt that all the boys seemed to be wearing back then and his brush cut style hair made him look like a U.S. Marine youth. Ian seemed to book-end the boys with the same look only his shirt was a darker color and he was a bit thinner than Leo. Charlotte and Bree were peering over the boys as if trying to squeeze into the picture frame. Charlotte’s hair was curly and had ribbons holding her hair back from her face. She not only had a smile on her face, but she also had a smile in her eyes. Ben smiled at the image and with his finger, he gently traced over Charlotte’s face. Even though it was a black and white picture, he could still see her golden hair and sun kissed face which made her blue eyes sparkle. It was that first moment at Day Camp that Ben fell in love with Charlotte. As he looked closer at Bree’s image, he recalled the tragedy that befell her. He put the photo down and sadly recalled hearing about Leo and Ian being drafted and sent off to Vietnam. Ben became curious and opened the photo album and found more photos of the “wonder-five” and he grabbed at a random pile and picked them up and began flipping through the photos, retracing memories with each image. He was smiling with each one until he came across one particular image that caused his smile to subside. He stared intently at that image as if it had come to life in his hands.
The picture was an image of Charlotte with Leo, Ian and Ben at Coney Island at the start of summer in 1966. They had just received the sad news that Bree had passed away due to an illness and the four friends were meeting to remember her. Charlotte was taking the news especially bad and Ben wanted do whatever he could to help take her mind off of it. They were sitting on the pier and had asked a passer-by to take their picture. They weren’t little kids with pig tails or brush cuts any longer; they were teenagers who thought they knew the world and were talking about how they were going to change things. They were kids who wanted to be adults and they found they were walking on opposites sides of the aisle. It’s sad when kids grow up and no longer see the world through the eyes of innocence. Santa Clause morphs into “that fat guy” and the Easter Bunny becomes “Imaginary”. The Tooth Fairy is Mom who forgot to leave the quarter under my pillow. It’s also realizing that there are people who work in a small area of our country that are in control of our lives and if we speak loud enough we can have impact on how they do their job. On the flip side of that, there are friends and family who may or may not agree with the beliefs of those people who are speaking out to have an impact….
“What do you mean you agree with Johnson?” Charlotte was incensed by Leo’s comment.
“It’s our duty to put an end to communism” Leo said. “Those little brown folks need our help.”
“NO!” Charlotte exclaimed. “Our duty as Americans is to concern ourselves with what our country is doing. Not what is happening in someone else’s jungles?”
“So you think it’s okay to let those Northern Vietnamese people kill those Southern Vietnamese people?” Ian asked as he crossed his arms over his chest.
“I think if we don’t get involved with that country’s problem to begin with then there wouldn’t be a problem. It’s that simple.” Charlotte said adamantly. “We have a government that is putting money in the pockets of Vietnamese fat-cats who are living in mansions; sending their kids to schools in France and running heroine rings. That’s what this war is all about and I don’t think the lives of American boys are worth losing just so those people can sell drugs and get rich.”
“I think it’s an honor if my country calls on me to go out and defend our liberties and freedom against the communist enemy.” Leo said as he stood tall and proud. “I’d be the first to go, no questions asked.”
“Me too!” Ian said as he reached out and patted Leo on the shoulder.
Just then, Ben became very uncomfortable. He wanted to seem brave to his best friends; however, he didn’t want to be cast out by the woman he was in love with. All of them were staring at him and waiting to hear his opinion as he stood there with his mouth open, but nothing coming out. He knew he had to say something but he couldn’t make any type of noise what-so-ever. It wasn’t until Charlotte made what Ben calls the “Bitch-Move” when Ben finally spoke up. The “Bitch-Move is when Charlotte crosses her arms over her chest; and she lets her head fall to the right and she steps her left foot out with attitude and it all happens in one swift motion – Bam! That’s when Ben finally spoke. “I have to agree with Charlotte.” Ben said with a touch of a nervous tone in his voice. “The United States Government uses it power and money to influence other countries and Vietnam is no different.” Ben had heard the talking points over the past few months. Charlotte and her new friends were irate over what President Johnson had created in Vietnam and if what they said was true, it was about to turn into an ugly war. “The same thing happened not too long ago in Korea and we should have stayed out of that conflict.”
“But we won that war!” Leo said proudly.
“Nobody won anything in that conflict.” Charlotte snapped back. “If anything – China came out stronger than ever!”
“Girl, you need to stick to baking cookies and playing with dolls!” Ian said as he laughed. “China didn’t fight in Korea! It was North and South Korea and the United States was fighting to help South Korea!”
Charlotte drew back a fist ready to pummel Ian but Ben stepped in and stopped her. He knew she could do it too. “I’ll KICK YOUR ASS!” She screamed out as Ben kept her from charging at Ian.
Ian reached out and tapped Leo on the chest, “C’mon man.” He said casually. “Let’s get out of here.” And that was the last time Ben had seen or spoken to Leo and Ian. After that incident, Charlotte and Ben walked around Coney Island to calm down. Charlotte talked about what was really bothering her. She confessed to Ben that Bree had become pregnant and tried to get an abortion. Charlotte was upset that abortions were illegal in New Jersey and the Med Student who performed Bree’s abortion had caused her a horrible infection which eventually killed her. Charlotte went on and on about the direction of the country and how terrible things were getting since President Kennedy had been shot and killed. She expressed how Lyndon Johnson was going to take the country in the wrong direction and how getting involved in Vietnam was not what our country needed. She spoke about her fears for the future and wondered if America would ever get any better. “Imagine what this country will be like in fifty years!” She said with a tear drop on her cheek.
“Fifty years?” Ben found it nearly impossible to imagine any such thing. “That’s so far away.”
“Not really.” Charlotte said. “We’ll be in our early sixties. That’s really not that old.”
Ben though about his uncles and grandfather and wondered how old they were. He then thought about his own father and tried to recall his dad’s age. There was also that guy on the corner who sold newspapers who was in his sixties. “I guess it is still kinda young.” Ben thought to himself out loud.
“This country is falling apart.” Charlotte warned. “Ever since the First World War, we’ve been in conflicts every generation or so and it looks like we’re going to keep fighting in wars.”
“It’s our nature to destroy ourselves.” Ben said without thinking. When he was younger, he had heard his Rabbi in temple talk about Man being “of the flesh” and man of flesh has only one desire and that desire is to please his self. In order to accomplish this feat, man would destroy man if need be. Ben had found this to be most disturbing and it has stuck with him all these years.
“Wow.” Charlotte put her arms around Ben’s neck. “You are so insightful.” She was completely taken by his observation and suddenly noticed him in a new light.
“I am?” Ben had been craving Charlotte’s attention and suddenly he had it. “er… Yeah! I am!” He went on to explain to her what his Rabbi had explained about man being flesh and his desire to please his self. Charlotte clung to his every word. From that point forward, Charlotte had made Ben her fellow hippie. Her fellow Child of the Flower. Follower of the Sun and Ben was happy to be what Charlotte wanted him to be. For the next few years, she was no longer his friend, but she was his girlfriend. She encouraged him to wear certain clothes and grow his hair longer. They started hanging out with and older crowd, who talked about political issues and raged against the government. Ben would rage right along with them in order to keep Charlotte seeing him as she did. However, the physical intimacy as at a standstill with Charlotte. She insisted there be no sex until she said she was ready. After one year, then two years Ben felt he needed to turn things up and perhaps he could turn her on, so he would start talking about how messed up the country was and talk about how he was going to change things. Ben was going to be a lawyer and get in to Politics so he could change the system and make the country better for humanity. Ben loved pacing back and forth and pounding his fist against the palm of his hand as he spoke. Charlotte and their new friends would sit cross legged and listen intently to his words and they would nod their heads and smile while chanting, “Right on, man!” Ben felt proud. Ben felt big. Ben felt important. But most of all Ben felt loved. It’s what he always wanted from Charlotte.
Ben walked away from the small writing table and moved back to the sofa where he picked up his coffee and took a sip as he sat down. He looked over at the clock on the wall and noticed it was just a few minutes past 6 o’clock. He let his head fall back and let his mind wander back to the last carefree moment of his life.
It was back in October when Ben and Charlotte had just left a rally where a bunch of Christians were protesting the new roe v. wade law that made abortion legal. The Christians were on side of the entrance with ugly, bloody baby signs and Charlotte and Ben were on the other side of the building entrance with their signs protesting the Christian protesters. It wasn’t violent, but there was a lot of shouting and arguing back and forth. If a woman showed up to enter the building, the Christians would scream at her and yell to make her feel shameful. Charlotte and her group would escort the woman to make her feel safe. The felt good about what they did. Afterwards they were walking the trail of Ocean front and Charlotte was still carrying the sign she had made. It was cardboard and with a bright green background and in black she painted an image of an anti-coat hanger image. It was her way of being against back room abortion procedures. It was Charlotte’s belief that if Abortion wasn’t legal, it would go back to being done by med students in the back rooms of butcher shops or seedy hotel rooms with coat hangers and vacuum cleaners. Losing her best friend to such an ordeal was personal to Charlotte. She carried the sign over her shoulder like a parasol as the two strolled along the trail just off of Ocean Blvd. The weather was beautiful for late October and they were in no hurry to get anywhere. The two were holding hands and talking about the impact their efforts where having. They talked about going to Washington D.C. to raise awareness and meeting up with others who shared in their beliefs. Eventually they sat down on a bench with the traffic of Ocean Avenue behind them and the calm blue waters of the New York / New Jersey Bight out on the horizon. It made Ben feel nostalgic as he remembered the days when his parents would bring him to the beach as a child. At the same time, being at the beach in the autumn was like being at the cemetery. Everything seemed dead.
“I loved coming here as a kid.” He said as he gazed out at the wide blue horizon.
“We could bring our child here.” Charlotte said as she cuddled up to Ben. “Would you like that?”
Ben was taken aback by her statement; particularly after coming back from protesting a pro-life rally. He loved her more than she could ever know and the idea of being married to her and raising a family was something he had only dreamed. To know that she imagined such a thing filled his heart to the point that he thought it would explode. “Are you serious?” He said gleefully.
“What?” Charlotte misunderstood. “You don’t want to have kids one day?”
“Absolutely!” Ben said without hesitation. He wanted to let her know there was no misunderstanding. “I just didn’t know you felt that way.” Neither of them could see the irony as she was still holding the anti-coat hanger sign.
Charlotte smiled. “I’ll be honest; the idea of bringing a child into this world as it is right now is concerning but with you as the father I believe our child could really make a difference to this world.”
Ben smiled bashfully, “Wow.” He looked down at his fingers intertwined with Charlotte’s fingers. “Do you really think we could have a child that could change the world?”
“Think about it.” Charlotte said as she turned in her seat and looked Ben in the eyes. “With the love we have for this country, we could pass that love to our child and teach him or her on what is right and what is wrong.” Charlotte explained how they would guide their child to understand the true meaning of being a citizen of America. Raise them to understand Humanity and Love of Country without the bias of religion and minus the greed for wealth. “With your intelligence and our combined passion we could raise the next president of the United States.”
Ben smiled as he thought about Charlottes words. In his mind, he could see the things she was saying and his heart was overflowing with emotions. Before he knew what was happening, he realized his eyes were blurred with tears and his throat tightened with emotion. Charlotte’s face became serious as tears started streaming down Ben’s cheeks.
“Hey, man.” She said with concern. “Are you alright?”
“I can’t believe how happy you’ve just made me.” Ben said through gasping sobs.
Charlotte smiled just before grabbing Ben and pulling him in for a passionate kiss. Their lips locked and her tongue met his tongue, sending shock waves through Ben causing his body to respond appropriately. Charlotte could tell Ben was aroused as she felt him pressing his solid crotch against her thigh as they kissed passionately on the park bench. Ben placed his hand on Charlotte’s breast and just as he squeezed her nipple, she pulled away to catch her breath. Ben was confused and thought he had crossed some type of boundary. He was just about apologize when Charlotte suddenly stood up and pulled him by his hand and led him towards an abandoned life guard tower. Once inside she pushed him against the wall. “Make love to me!” Charlotte demanded. “Make love to me right here!”
Ben became a man in that abandoned life guard tower. Up until that point, he and Charlotte would never do more than kiss or engage in heavy petting. She had stated that intercourse was a step she didn’t want to take until she knew the time was exactly right. In that abandoned life guard tower, Charlotte and Ben were sure the time was exactly right. He and Charlotte consummated their love in bliss. The two spent the rest of the evening sitting on the beach and talking about the future until the October evening grew chill and stars lit up the night. That was the last carefree moment for Ben and Charlotte. It would be just a few months later that Charlotte would inform Ben that she was pregnant.
Ben arrived at Charlotte’s apartment to spend the evening watching television and “hanging out”. Ever since that afternoon in the lifeguard shack, they had been pretty rambunctious. Kind of like a couple of jackrabbits on steroids! Ben looked forward to the days when Charlotte’s roommate was out for the evening. On that evening, He sat on the sofa and got the news of a lifetime! A smile crept across Bens face as he peered down towards Charlotte’s stomach. He reached for her hands, which were crossed over her belly. Ben, although nervous about the prospect of being a father was very excited. A million thoughts suddenly raced through his mind regarding what he needed to do. He was going to ask his father if he could have his Grandmother’s ring in order to propose to Charlotte. He would promise to finish law school just as he promised his mother, but he loved Charlotte and the idea of having a baby with her and raising the child they had just discussed that one blissful afternoon – it was as though it was meant to be. Ben looked up into Charlotte’s eyes and suddenly he realized she didn’t share the same excitement that he felt. He looked deeper and squeezed at her hands but there was nothing there. Charlotte’s head slowly tilted to the side and her eyes became sad as they told him everything without even saying a word. She was not happy to be pregnant. She did not want to have his baby. All the images of babies and cribs and engagement rings swirled away like dust in an autumn breeze. Ben was crushed.
“You don’t want to have a baby?” Ben asked cautiously. But Charlotte said nothing. Instead she just slowly shook her head and looked at Ben with sad eyes. “But what about all that talk of raising the next President?” Ben was confused and he didn’t know whether to sit or stand and walk away.
“I don’t know.” Charlotte finally said. “Once I finally realized I was pregnant, I got scared and then reality took hold. I can’t do this.” Ben started to get furious. As far as he was concerned, Charlotte was being selfish. Up until that point, all that hippie stuff was just nonsense and rhetoric. It was an act; stuff that kids say and do. But now they were adults and they needed to grow up and act as such.
Ben felt like he had no control over the situation. Charlotte was making a decision that not only affected him but it affected his child, which was living and growing within Charlotte. “What do you plan to do?” He asked, nervous about the answer he was sure she would give.
Charlotte looked at him and said nothing. Her eyes indicated that he should already know the answer. She turned away and buried her face in her hands and started to cry. Ben didn’t move. He knew she needed comfort; however, he needed a moment of comfort for himself.
Over the next week, Charlotte and Ben discussed the issue and Ben finally relented. He knew there was no winning the argument. Charlotte told him it was her body and if the United States Government couldn’t tell her what to do with her body then he sure as hell wasn’t going to be able to tell her what to do.
Charlotte made all of the arrangements to have the procedure the day after Christmas. She had to make sure to have someone drive her and she told Ben to be sure to get his parents’ car for that day. She would also need money and asked Ben if he could help and pay for half of the procedure. Ben reluctantly agreed. Once Charlotte and Ben finalized everything, they agreed their relationship was over. Ben told Charlotte after he brought her home from the procedure; he wouldn’t see her any longer. Over those next seven days leading up to the 26th of December Ben spent the Christmas Break from College in his old bedroom. Other than using the bathroom, he rarely came out at all. Until 5:15 that morning.
Charlotte came out of her bedroom and walked behind the sofa where she bent down and placed her arms around Ben from behind. Ben sat still, looking forward at the television, which sat on a small wooden table. He could see his warped reflection in the 19” television screen as he sat on the sofa with Charlotte kneeling behind him and her chin resting on his shoulder. He wanted to reach up and run his hand through her hair. He was restraining himself from telling her how much he loved her. He wanted so badly to beg her to forget about their appointment and to marry him so they could have their family. Instead, he simply asked her, “Are you ready?”
Charlotte paused for a moment and with a sad sigh she stood up and nodded that she was ready. In the brief moment, Ben felt more vulnerable than he ever had in his entire life. From the first instant she started her sigh until the moment she nodded her head, Ben’s life felt more lonely and vulnerable to the point where he thought that he would just die. It took all Ben had to not breakdown and beg Charlotte to change her mind. He suddenly realized this was the end of not just his relationship with Charlotte but the end of his future as he believed it. And what about Charlotte? What was happening in her mind? What emotions were running through her at that very moment? What emotions would any woman have who is about to rid her body of an embryo? Or is it a baby? Or is it just a tumor? Charlotte wasn’t sure. The woman at the clinic didn’t refer to it as anything other than a condition that they would assist her with. Charlotte was trying to make sense of her actions. All those rallies she had attended and all those megaphones she had heard blasting back and forth about babies in the womb were echoing in her head. Those Right-Wing Christians with their ugly pictures of babies torn into pieces… what is wrong with those people? Charlotte was cringing as Ben drove towards the clinic. Oh my God, the clinic! Charlotte thought to herself. Those crazy bastards will be outside that clinic. Charlotte was getting scared and found herself rubbing the palms of hands against her thighs.
Ben noticed Charlotte getting anxious. “Are you okay?” He asked concerned.
Charlotte smiled nervously and tried to shake it off. “Yeah.” She lied. “I’m fine.”
Ben turned his attention back to the road. “We’ll be there in just a couple minutes.” Ben said as he activated the turn signal. “Hopefully there won’t be any activists when we get there.”
“Hopefully.” Charlotte echoed.
I’d like to tell you that the procedure went well for Charlotte. I’d like to tell you that she had the abortion and then went home and all was forgiven between her and Ben. I’d like for the story to end where she and Ben got married and eventually had a couple of kids who went on to be lawyers and got into politics and did go on to change the world just as they had hoped. But I can’t tell you that because that’s not how this story ends.
It just so happens that Charlotte – My mother – developed a serious staph infection from the abortion procedure. She hemorrhaged during the treatment of her infection and died just four days after the abortion. Just one day shy of the New Year. My father, Ben felt so devastated by what happened that just a month after Charlotte’s death; he took his parents’ car and drove it into oncoming traffic on interstate 195 and killed himself in a horrible car wreck.
So you’re probably scratching your head and asking yourself, “Why are you telling me such a sad, sad story?”
My mother fought hard for her beliefs.
She fought against the Vietnam War even though that war took her friends away from her. She fought for a woman’s right to choose and that right to choose took my life and ultimately took her own life.
Had I been given the chance to be born, I would have gone to college and I would have been raised with her liberal values and I would have been quite the Liberal Democrat Politician. I could probably have been an amazing Presidential candidate in those 2016 elections had I not been stopped by the Liberal process. That’s the irony.
Isn’t it amazing how life works out? Or should I say – Isn’t it amazing how life doesn’t work out.
“I have no name, but I could have had a name if only I was given the chance.