This story is by Renette Steele and was part of our 2018 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
What am I going to do? When did it come down to this choice?
Lord help me. How did this happen?
I jumped up from the waiting room chair and ran out the front door, looking for a place to hide. I needed to think.
Lord don’t let Dwayne come back before he said.
Seeing a lilac Bush at the corner of the clinic’s house, I slide behind it, sit down on the ground, and tuck up my knees.
I don’t know what to do. How can I go through with something like this?
Lord, Help me.
Dwayne, a new boy this year at school, seemed so kind, polite, different than the other boys. He sat close to me in every class, at lunch he held my chair grinning from ear to ear. His green eyes are begging to be friends. The first day I saw him, the liking came easy. Dating natural. Dwayne often walked with a protective hand on the small of my back.
Man, telling my parents their perfect baby girl got pregnant isn’t going to be pleasant. Wiping my face on the sleeve of my sweater I put my forehead to my knees.
Lord, they taught me to respect myself to save my body for marriage.
Dwayne talked of marriage. Promised one day. Now that I think about it, the closer Dwayne and I got the more demanding he became. If I ran late, he’d give me a tongue-lashing. Dwayne wanted to know where I went and with whom. I thought he loves me. He’s protecting me. I respected and loved him for it.
Lord, he cared. I never thought he was wrong because of the way he helped me see how I’d messed up. Dwayne got upset sometimes, but he always apologized and gave me flowers or some other gift.
I guess the first time I saw Dwayne’s temper off the court, I stopped by basketball practice to let Dwayne know I needed to wash my dad’s truck. Dwayne reached for the keys, “I’ll drive.”
I tried to explain I’d get in trouble. Dad didn’t let many people drive his vehicle. He grabbed my arm snatching the keys away. I could feel the bruises forming on my arm under his fingers as he pushed me towards the door.“Get in.”
Two weeks after the truck ordeal, Dwayne sent roses. Promising a nice dinner, he’d take me to look at the stars. He knew my parents wouldn’t let me stay out late after I got off work. Dwayne came up with a plan. I’d tell them a friend asked me to spend the night. We could have as long as we wanted.
Lord, after only five months, I thought I loved him. He loved me, Dwayne talked a good talk. Lord, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to happen. I didn’t intend to sin.
Dwayne made everything sound sweet. The star watching turned to kissing, which led to increasingly more. Soon Dwayne was forcing himself on me. All the while telling me I needed to prove my love to him.
Oh, Lord, the pressure from Dwayne became unbearable.
The symbol had to be wrong, it just had to be, I grabbed the instructions, reading them. It can’t be true. It mustn’t be true. I’ll wait two days and try again. These things can be wrong, right? I sit staring at the stick in my hand.
Two days later I sit on the floor. Knees pulled up to my chin. My dark hair is spilling over my face and legs hiding the tears freely flowing. How can it be true? Only one mistake, a horrible mistake. Good girls don’t sin, not like this.
Man, if I tell my parents and they don’t kill Dwayne or me, I know they will kick me out of the house because of my sin. It’d be so hard to have this baby alone. If I go back in there could I ever forgive myself? If I don’t where could I go? Would Dwayne come to care for us or would he really do something?
I looked up, seeing no place to run I hugged my knees tighter.
I can’t believe the way Dwayne overreacted when I told him.
Lord, he scared me. I still feel frightened.
Dwayne came by the mall to walk me to my car like he often does when I’m done working at Clarice Fashion. We stood talking in the courtyard while my partner locked up.
Twisting a long strand of my hair, “Dwayne, I took a test. I’m pregnant.”
He shifted from foot to foot, “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I took the test twice to make sure.”
Lord,I’ve never seen a look change so suddenly. Dwayne went from caring to a raging tornado in an instant.
He pushed me away. Stepped close, grabbed my shoulders, and threw me into the tables. My back hit a table, my foot tangled in the chair. I fell to the floor. Dwayne started towards me, “why didn’t you take something?”
“Why didn’t you use something?” I yelled back with tears of pain.
Did I hear him right? Is it true? I still can’t believe what he said.
“Not my job. Besides you are nothing more than a bet. The first day I showed up at school, all the fellas said, Marcy’s hands off. You can’t date her. The parents are super strict. She’s told every one of us no. I let them know right then I could have you. And I did. This weekend you’ll do something about it or I will. You haven’t seen anything yet.” Dwayne glared, fire burning in his eyes. He pushed me back into the tables and stormed off.
I tried to convince myself, Dwayne reacted from shock about the news. He’d be calmer tomorrow. I’d talked to my parents. I never got the chance.
Lord, the whole thing is a big mess.
Dwayne came to the house early today. He told my folks we were going to watch our biggest rival, the Bulldogs play. Scout out the competition so he could be ready for the big game on Thursday.
Dwayne seemed polite and sweet, protectively keeping his arms wrapped around me. He held the door for me, helping me into the car. I thought things were going to be okay. Must’ve been all show for my parents because the minute we pulled away from the house things changed.
“Think about what I said? I heard about a clinic that takes walk-ins. I will drop you off.” Dwayne didn’t even look at me, and his face seems set in stone. I knew he was serious.
Lord, it shocked me, made me scared of the way Dwayne was acting, of what it meant.
I couldn’t allow myself to cry in front of him. I needed him to tell me he loved me, and everything would be okay. He’d be right there with me. But he wouldn’t even look at me. I clenched my hands in my lap and stared out the window. I wanted to pray. I did, but I think the shock was too much for words.
Dwayne pulled up in front of an old house. He came around opened the door and pulled me out. “Go.”
That was it. Go. No, I love you. No, it will be okay.
“Go inside the clinic. They’ll take care of everything.” Dwayne got back in his car.
Can I go through with an abortion for him?
I tried Lord, I did.
It’s going to be impossible to raise a child alone. Children are a gift, not a mistake. I can’t go through with murdering my child. Maybe in a month or so I’ll tell him. He’ll calm down and see the beauty in taking care of us.
Lord, I couldn’t do it. What am I going to do?
I stayed tucked away until right before time for Dwayne to return. When he came, he didn’t get out of the car and open the door for me. I took my time walking towards him, sliding in, and turning away. We drove three blocks, Dwayne pulled into an ally. He came around and pulled me by the arms out of the car swinging me around as he slammed the door. The confusion showing in my eyes.
“Did you take care of it?” He squeezed my arms a little tighter.
Using my hair as a vail to hide my face, “No,” there seemed to be no place but my feet to look.
Dwayne shoved me into a pile of trash and my back hit an old bike as boxes, and other junk fell on my head. I started to get up when I felt a kick to my ribs, another to my belly. He hit me over the head with something.
Lord, Dwayne drove away leaving me here to die. Maybe if I had come to you and my parents first things would be different.