Fatally deformed they tell me. Unsurvivable they say.
What do you want to do they ask?
I can barely listen, let alone reply. This child that I have wanted and loved, who I have grown inside of me for 7 months is now all of a sudden a fantasy. The life that we would have together has been ripped from me.
They tell me I have choices. But not really.
None of these choices are anything that I want to choose. Bring her to full term, birth her; watch her live a short, painful life or make the decision to stop it now, make it so she never is separated from my body living, never takes a breathe, never feels pain. I would never get to hold my child... I repeat that, let it sink in.
How can I choose?
What kind of choices are these?
Madeleine. That is her name. Will be her name, or was. It depends.
Do I get to grieve for her in the same way if I make the decision to end her life now. Will people allow me. It’ll be different, I will be seen differently. Murderer by some, a woman with questionable moral by others, someone who gives up. Either way, pitied and judged. Or is that my own judgement? Will I be seen for what I am, a grieving mother. Like I would be if Madeleine was born and suffered.
I have no choice.
Fame or Friendship
Emma trembled with anticipation. “Finally,” she thought, “my Managing Editor wants to hear what I have to say. No more writing obituaries, covering garden parties, and dog shows.” All Emma had ever wanted since she was fourteen was to be a serious journalist. She constantly daydreamed about interviewing movie stars, being in the middle of the action of a war torn country, or reporting about a medical breakthrough. In the two years since she graduated from college and took the job with The Gazette, it had been anything but exciting. Her first year, they had her proofreading the work of the more senior reporters and checking their facts. Then this year, when they promoted her to Reporter, her first assignment was to cover the annual dog expo at the community center. Boring. Eagerly, she knocked on the door of her boss’s boss. “Emma? Come in.” She extended her hand to the distinguished older gentleman who was a well-known war correspondent decades earlier, “Mr. Robbins, it is my pleasure to meet with you. I will be happy to help you with this assignment.” She took a deep breath, “Your email didn’t give much detail but I know I’m up to the task, whatever it is.” Mr. Robbins smiled, “Emma, I know that you went to high school with Cassandra Clarke. Quite a talented musician. Too bad her personal life is in such shambles.” Cassie and Emma were inseparable since Kindergarten. Despite her fame and fortune as a pop singer/songwriter, Emma remained Cassie’s closest confidante. Every Monday, no matter how busy her tour schedule was, she always made time for an hour long phone call with Emma and they emailed and texted constantly. Cassie once said that Emma was the one thing that kept her sane in her tumultuous lifestyle. The latest scandal was her recent ex Daniel who was locked up for possession of cocaine. Cassie was at that wild party where the drug bust took place. Mr. Robbins continued, “I want a tell-all report of the good, bad, and ugly on Cassandra. Don’t hold back. I understand her boyfriend before Daniel Descartes was locked up for giving her a black eye and yet she stayed with him for another six months. And her parents? Readers want to know why she hasn’t spoken to them for four years. Are you up for the assignment?” Emma gave the Managing Editor a trembling smile. “That’s a lot to think about can I let you know?” Mr. Robbins shook his head indulgently, “It’s a plum writing assignment. Your career will take off. What’s there to think about?” He paused, “All right, I’ll give you until tomorrow morning.” Emma walked back to her desk in a daze. What to do? Take the story of a lifetime? Yet Cassie is a private person and would inevitably feel hurt and betrayed. Could Emma expose her closest friend like that? But how could she walk away from this career changing assignment that would put her on the map as a reporter? Should she choose her friend or her career?
She Doesn’t Know.
I know a secret she doesn't know. He made me promise not to say what he did, in fear of my best friend's heartache. I know what I saw and I don't know if I should say. Perhaps more than he, I don't want her to fall, to drown in pain and feel misused, betrayed. If he cared about her heart and about her at all he wouldn't make me promise not to say. He wouldn't have to because there would be nothing to say.
Yet, how could I say it and see through her eyes her entire world crumble? How could I be the one to crash the hammer against the beautiful home she built? She shouldn't be with someone who feeds their selfish desires in unspeakable ways while she walks a path of flowers adorned with selflessness and purity. But should I say it? Should I be the one to shatter the glass? It wasn't me who betrayed her, but him.
To keep a secret or to say it. To keep the secret to preserve her heart just a little longer. To say it to pull her away from someone who lies and cheats.