"I'm coming too."
His hand reached out to mine. The freckles from the summer sun
crept onto his hands, giving them an almost boyish look. Then
again he was more a boy than a man.
The light color of my skin clashed with his as I took it, so he
could help me off the bench. I stared at the colors. Would the
color have only reached a light tan like mine? Or a dark freckled
look of Aric's?
"You sure," I said. There was no emotion in my voice. Ever since
I had made the decision, everything went blank.
Aric nodded slowly, his mouth turned down on the corners. I
followed him into his small car, a gift on his seventeenth
birthday. I could barely drive, I had just turned sixteen two
The street was quiet, nobody was doing anything on a Sunday. They
either were lounging around or in church. I gently laughed at
that. On Sunday, this was so wrong.
I looked down at my attire. The yellow sundress was probably too
short and a bit too low for church, but I knew it wouldn't have
been a problem. They would have been glad to see me for once. I
hadn't been to the church since I was a little girl.
Religion didn't play a big part in my life anymore, but I still
believed in God. The only opening was on a Sunday though. I had
to take it before it was too late.
Grabbing my hand, Aric tried to give me a comforting squeeze and
whispered my name, "Cassandra." The most I could do was
let him hold it. He didn't let go. He knew I didn't blame him.
Would it have inherited his father's deep green eyes, or my light
blue ones? I would never know.
I forced myself not to grab at my belly. It was flat, but I knew
if I waited, it would expand with life. Something growing and
finding ways to open its eyes. Truly it was a miracle.
A miracle I was going to kill.
I winced. Kill was the word my counselor, for those few
weeks, told me not to use. A better decision was the
healthy way to look at it. I wasn't only saving myself, I was
also saving it, he had said. I didn't admit I started referring
to "it" as my baby.
"You know I love you, no matter what, right?" Aric asked. He
looked at me with worry in his face. Whenever he got worried his
jaw would tense and the skin would flex over it. Before I would
rub it away, now I wasn't sure what to do.
I squeezed his hand. My stomach was rolling, I couldn't speak.
His eyes were sad. I pretended not to notice.
Aric and I were the only ones who agreed with each other, nobody
else understood. It's better for you Cassandra. Don't be
selfish, you have to think of Aric. That line was repeated as
much as the It's better for it. You couldn't take care of it
anyway. I hated those words.
The parking lot was mostly empty with only a few cars parked in
the employers' spots. It was Sunday; nobody came to this clinic
Daisies were open in clusters, dotting a field to the right
behind a tree. I thought of a seed burrowed in the dirt, only
getting moisture when it rained. It was amazing that it somehow
was able to bloom without nurture. A miracle.
Aric cut off the engine and slowly got out to walk to my side and
open the door for me. He was always a gentleman. Still to this
day he didn't let it slide.
I fell in love with Aric when I turned fourteen. My eyes were
already set on him to be my first serious boyfriend. I had dated
before, but they were all small flings with a few kisses. Aric
was going to be different.
He was clumsy, but somehow managed to still look like everything
was intentional. Aric seemed to be good at everything. Our
getting together was quick and we stayed like that. I still loved
him, nothing had changed my feelings. Besides maybe feel like he
was the only one there, who knew me.
I climbed out of the door and Aric hesitated. I saw his arms
twitch like he wanted to pull me into a hug. I knew it would make
things worse. He obviously did too. Instead he grabbed my hand
and walked into the clinic.
The weekend had been wet; an early summer rain was just
passing through. I stayed over at Aric's for the time. His
parents were constantly leaving us alone.
Aric had climbed on top of me and wrapped me in his arms as
always. This wasn't the first time we had sex and that somehow
made it worse.
"I love you Cassandra," he said, a grin across his face.
I giggled at him. We went through this every time. "As I love
Aric held the door open for me. I shook my head and he went in
first, protecting me with his body.
The waiting room didn't smell like the usual disinfectant.
Instead it had a low light and was rather cramped. I went to the
desk to grab the paperwork I needed. Aric stood with me the whole
I was crying against the bed. Not silently, but big heavy sobs
that were threatening to drown me. The door opened. Aric swore
and ran to me.
"What's wrong?" he asked, pulling me into his arms. I was so
much smaller than him; it wasn't that difficult to pull me onto
his lap and wrap me up.
I couldn't speak and instead held out a white stick showing
out future. It was just like the movies, like all the books I had
read, feeling sorry for them. Now it was my turn.
He only held me tighter.
"You have to sign this form, that one, and finally look over this
pamphlet for the after care," the desk attendant said in a cheery
voice. I stared blankly at her. I wanted to scream and yell. I
wanted to just shriek I'm killing my baby today! Don't you
understand? I didn't though. I walked back to my seat holding
it all in.
Aric put his arm around me and kissed my temple. I thought of
that seed again. Seeds just suddenly opened and roots came out to
hold them and give them nutrients. The earth was its mother. It
wasn't until they started to sprout that they became something,
somebody. My baby wouldn't be able to do that. My baby would
never be more than a seed.
I let Aric hold on tighter to me, glad that he understood my
feelings and my incapability of holding him. He always
My parents and Aric's sat at the dining room table all looking
dumbstruck. I had finally blurted it out and Aric nodded.
Confirming what they didn't believe.
It seemed the head of the house had changed. My mother was the
first to speak up. "You can't keep it."
Aric held my hand tighter. We had talked about this already
and decided that we were going to keep it.
"I-" I had started. It didn't get anywhere.
Aric's mom stood up. "Morgan," she said addressing my dad. "I
don't want to offend you, but I completely agree with Lisa. She
cannot have this baby!"
The men never talked. They just nodded and agreed with the
Aric cleared his throat. He had a commanding tone and could
always make a room listen. I depended on him. "Actually,
Cassandra and I were thinking of keeping it," he confirmed.
Unfortunately it hadn't worked.
The same lines were repeated. Too young, too
irresponsible, and two good children not ready to have a baby.
I wanted to lie and say we did it on purpose, but I didn't
think it would help.
The decision was made.
We were here. Finally in this room and I was going to do what I
had been talking about for weeks now. I was getting an abortion.
There was no way out of it.
I looked at Aric, his eyes shining, but doing his best to cover
his emotions. He had accepted my decision to come here without an
argument. He didn't want to hurt me.
My dress brightened up the room. It seemed I was the sun.
Pregnant women always glowed with happiness, but what happens if
they were getting rid of their baby?
I bit my cheek and the blood flowed into my mouth. I had begun
the bad habit as soon as I told my parents that I was going to
have a baby. I was now keeping all emotions at bay, releasing one
would just start a tidal wave and push everybody else over with
"Cassandra Phillips?" I looked up quickly. A smiling woman stood
there. "You're appointment is ready, please come in," she said.
I stood up numbly. Aric gave me a reassuring squeeze. I followed
We walked into a room that looked like any other doctor's room
except it was more of a bed instead of a table. I stood there
feeling childish, unsure of what to do.
She gave me the information of what was going to happen and then
instructed me to get into a gown. "The doctor will be in soon,"
she said smiling, and then closed the door.
Pulling off the yellow dress, I looked around. There were no
mirrors. I decided this was good; I didn't want to face myself
before or afterwards. Maybe when this was all over I'd disappear
with Aric and not have to worry about anybody, maybe lay in a
field filled with life to bring ours back.
My fingers drummed on the side of my leg and I slowly let my hand
reach my stomach, right where, in a couple of months, I'd feel my
The seed invaded my mind again. The before picture. Those bright
daisies. The after.
I noticed the room was missing baby pictured. I conjured one up
myself. A pale skinned child cooing and giggling came to mind.
Aric holding our baby, smiling. All of those thoughts that I
banished came through to finally land on me. Me with my stomach
large with life. A little baby I was responsible for; growing and
understanding. I was only sixteen and had my life ahead of me.
It's what I wanted.
I threw the dress back on me and ran out of the door, nearly
nailing the doctor in the face. It didn't matter. I ran through
the clinic as fast as I could not bothering to reply, not
bothering to listen. I ran out of the doors and into the field.
The gravel tried to trip me up, but still I made it to the green
grass where daisies popped up, life filling them. I fell to my
knees, crying, and plunged my fingers into the earth. A mother
for those seeds.
I cried for myself, my family, my Aric, and our baby. I cried for
what they would say when I told them I wasn't going to listen. I
cried out about what I was going to do and then what I didn't do.
Nothing was going to stop me from giving this baby a chance to
I heard somebody walk softly through the grass and land in the
soft soil next to me. Both of our knees would be muddy. I didn't
care, and I didn't think Aric would care either.
He leaned against me muttering soft words in my ear. Maybe our
future, maybe how worried he was, or maybe just how he loved me.
It didn't matter; I was only listening to the sound of his voice.
Aric pulled his arm around me, resting it on my stomach where my
own hand fell too. I smiled through the tears.
"I'm keeping him Aric," I said, no doubt in my voice.
I felt his tears on my shoulder. "I know," he said, "and I
wouldn't want it any other way."
We stayed like that far longer than we should have. His hand on
my stomach, my eyes on those growing daisies, and our future in
our hands for once.
It might be hell when we get back home, but I didn't believe
either of us cared.