creative non-fiction: my homesick abortion
My abortion, Pippa, and I are really close. Really, we are. She’s not homesick in the slightest. For an ethereal aberration who communicates via text message and telepathy, I must admit, she surprised me with her fast-talking, deadpan, assertive personality and wild history.
Neither of us expected to share my womb for nine months. I was twenty-one and in college; it just wasn’t feasible. Once she arrived, Pippa missed her aborted fetus community, a small Lower East side type village called Pheerknot with an art deco hotel boasting vintage art and etched mirrors. Pippa was vacationing in my womb to detox from a few weeks of hard-partying inside a celebutante.
Being pro-choice, I always felt that if I became pregnant when I wasn’t ready, I’d be decisive about termination. When I was confronted with the reality of pregnancy, it wasn’t as black and white as I thought. I wasn’t indecisive per se; I just needed to catalogue my reasons and questions. I wasn’t emotionally, physically or financially ready and I knew I’d regret carrying a pregnancy to term, much less having a kid. Conversely, if I terminated and stopped the process, would I mourn what could’ve been?
Pippa was very clear; she wanted to be aborted. Her plan was never to be a kid. She loved her freedom and artsy, indie circle of friends. She longed to play canasta with her fetus girlfriends; to compare notes about previous womb hostesses; gossip about the latest in Pheerknot; work on crochet projects and, among other things, wrap up the first draft of her book, “A Tale of Two Ovum.” The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Though Pippa was feeling a bit homesick, she needed to decompress and thought my vegetarian womb would be the perfect destination before heading home.
She had a fabulous time with her previous hostess. They went to Vegas for four days, a couple of openings in Los Angeles, a quick trip to New York for a premiere and then back to Los Angeles, so Pippa could ship out.
Though, breaking up is never easy, this was one of the most pleasant break-ups I ever had. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a decision Pippa and I entered into lightly. Vacuums give off such negative ions and I hate making appointments. Still, we never, not once, looked back with regret or sorrow. In fact, we considered it one of our best decisions and felt proud of the choice we made.
Pippa wanted the street-cred multi-aborted fetuses have in Pheerknot. Apparently, in Pheerknot, miscarriages quickly lost their notoriety and risked banishment, and this was a place where Pippa felt a genuine connection. I had no idea how passionate aborted fetuses felt about miscarriage until Pippa finally cleared up my confusion via a series of text messages, ‘Miscarriage is the poor man’s abortion. An ostensibly courteous way to terminate a pregnancy without acknowledging that abortion is also God’s way. Not to be cunty, but if you so much as think about trying to miscarry me, you’re gonna fuck everything up and rob me of a choice that has both distinction and reverence. I’ll be a fuckin’ fugitive in Pheerknot. You’ll be jeopardising my future.’
Fugitive? That was a little over-dramatic. Coming from my womb, I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything less. I texted her and said, ‘You need to calm your arse down. It’s not like I said I wasn’t going to have an abortion.’ Pippa wrote back immediately, ‘Don’t cross me, child. We’re having this abortion. I don’t want any of that coat-hanger bullshit, either. And I want a new vacuum. I’m just sayin’.’
It was when she quoted self-help authors and religious zealots that I wanted to throw myself down the next flight of stairs I could find. Instead, I decided to hear her out. Her text read, ‘A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided. – Tony Robbins’
Tony Robbins?! Vomitatious. Pippa sensed my angst and sent me another flurry of text messages that read, ‘To quote Jerry Falwell, Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions. Now, make like a fundamentalist and shut the f*ck-up. You got me all twisted up inside. I need a joint to calm my nerves. What the f*ck was I thinking when I chose a drug-free-rarely-drinks-vegetarian?’ My non-response infuriated her. She telepathically screamed, ‘Don’t ignore me. And please stop telling me I need a nap. Gaaaaaaaaahd.’
‘You shouldn’t need convincing. I thought you were ready to spread and join your vacuum-riding-stirrup-sisters-in-arms,’ she said.
‘Duh, Pippa,’ I snapped.
I’m not a dumb arse; I didn’t view abortion as a means of birth control. I was a condoms-foam-diaphragm girl, walking into each f*ck ready to do battle and confront sperm head on. I was the General of my womb. ‘You want in, you’re gonna have to fight with everything you’ve got, Spunk Boy. Cause you ain’t rollin’ outta my c*nt with a pulse.’
Pippa read my thoughts and, telepathically, we went back and forth.
‘I’m as pro-choice as they come, even when I need a minute to figure shit out.’
‘I know. I just really, really want to maintain my street-cred back home. I know I’ll be your first. Having been down this road many, many, many times…’
‘Yeah. Why so surprised? I was born to be aborted; all different women, too, but each unique and special in her own way. I choose carefully. We’ll get through this. And I promise you’ll never regret it.’
Pippa was very clear about what she wanted, a private doctor in a tranquil officey setting, not a nondescript steriley hospital. To tell you the truth, I was surprised. I thought a clinic abortion had way more street cred; maybe just less than a back-alley-number – the butchest abortion possible. Pippa said it didn’t matter, as long as she was aborted. I was only too happy to oblige. By twenty-one, I had an enviable shoe collection. Pippa knew I wasn’t cheap and that I would pay whatever I had to to give her the abortion of her dreams—the better the abortion, the sweeter the karma, she explained.
When I asked my friend, Zola to drive me to the gyno for my procedure, she asked me why I wasn’t going to a clinic. I explained Pippa’s request. ‘Abortions today are so demanding, aren’t they?’ Zola said, winking. She had a point. Then again, Zola had to beg her fetus to go to a clinic because she was pushing for back alley. Zola’s embryo, Hazel was one tough egg, a throwback to the 50s when back alley abortions were all the rage for that season’s fashionable fetus. I kind of admired Hazel’s assertiveness. I think Zola did, too, secretly. Hazel was eager to get home and wanted an impressive abortion story.
Pippa was scheduled for check-out at 10 AM. We got up early for a proper coffee klatch, sipping freshly percolated beans and noshing on raspberry scones, a recipe she swore by. They were delish. We were so alike; swooning for men who made us laugh and had indescribable charisma. Looks were secondary. We dished about the annoying before-the-much-anticipated-date blemish, how such things were just our luck. Pippa and I valued life a lot, our own and others, and our freedom. We realised that we both skewed whoreish. I think— No, I know she was sluttier. I thought the time I got caught by two cops with flashlights on my arse as I rode my joystick du jour was racy, not to Pippa. That girl was hosted by many a porn star; one of her hosts pulled a train back in ’79. As we recounted our best-of-f*ck-yarns, we laughed and felt bonded.
I asked her where she saw herself in ten-years. I was curious. She said, ‘On the A-list abortion list. Hello. Do you know me?!’ Who knew all of that moxie could radiate from such an ethereal bird?
Pippa thought about coming to me sooner. Though, she didn’t want to move me up on the list. There’s a list? Sure. All fetuses have lists, as it turned out. Pippa admitted she wanted to hook up with other chicks and be aborted by them first. I was angry; we got into a huge fight. Epic.
‘I may not be womb Cancun, but I thought I was at least a Lauderdale West womb. You’re the one who came to me as a vacation spot to decompress.’
‘Don’t be so sensitive. I’m not complaining about the womb service. Chill out. Every year I make a Top 20 list of women I want to be aborted by.’
‘What number am I?’
After I tirelessly hocked, she finally confessed, ‘Fifteen’.
I asked Pippa what she based her list on: must always use birth control; feminist; funny; easy to talk to and absolutely, positively had to be pro-choice. I was flattered, really. She asked if I had a list of qualities I wanted my aborted fetus to have – What a good question! I hadn’t given it much thought. Off the top of my head, I said, ‘A girl, to be sure, someone I loved enough to abort, knowing that that bond would forever connect us and keep us in each other’s hearts no matter where life, in spirit or in body carried us.’
It was sweet. We were two peas in a pod.
After our abortion, Pippa and I stayed in touch just the same for a few weeks. She was so happy to be home and started dating. We talked about life, love, sex, china. This and that.
Though, we never did hook up again in my womb, we connected from time to time. Mostly to bust the other’s chops and have a laugh.
Looking back, I would’ve made the same choice. Though it wasn’t easy, I had Pippa. I didn’t have to go it alone – she was with me every step of the way. When last we spoke, she told me that if I ever decided to reproduce, she would consider going to term with me. Hearing that from her seven-years later meant everything to me, especially because I still remained so indecisive about having a child and simultaneously afraid that I would never feel capable of being a parent. Respecting and loving her as much as I did, that confidence bolstered my own. I wanted to say as much. All I could think of was, ‘I bet you say that to all the girls, but what’s my number on the list should such an auspicious occasion occur?’
I’m still waiting for an answer – that’s so Pippa.
By Katie Schwartz